Create your own post in which you describe your experience (Goal, Strategy, Reflection). Remember to label each part of the submission.
Chapter 14 only
Goal: Start by stating your goal. Pick any goal you wish involving an emotion. Many students pick “stress” as the emotion they want to reduce this week, but you are free to pick any emotion you wish that you want to increase or decrease this week. This part is just a single sentence describing your goal.
Strategy: First explain one strategy for each of the five steps. Second, explain which one you tried during the week and provide details about it (FYI – the “outcome” of the experience is explained in the NEXT section).
Reflection: Explain the outcome of your experience. Did the strategy help you achieve your goal, or not? And then most importantly, reflect upon the experience. The reflection is the most important part of this formal process because it provides awareness, and thus growth and improvement. As part of the reflection, you MUST explain how you could do the experience again in a way that would improve the experience for yourself.
(FYI – It is important to point out that during this semester the Strategy does not need to be successful in achieving your goals. You are not being graded on successfully changing your emotions. You are being graded on articulating the process in the written assignment.)
As a quick summary, the first part is just a single sentence of your goal, the second part is a concise explanation of your actions, and the third part is a critical analysis of the outcome and reflection on how to do it again in the future.
Practicing the Assignment This Week
How can you use this info on the Process Model of Emotion Regulation (PMER) to your advantage?
Since it explains the process of our emotions, we are going to use it this week to take control of your emotions.
Thus, for the assignment this week, we are going to use the steps to change your emotions during the week.
Pick any emotion you wish that you want to change, such as removing a negative emotion, or reaching a positive emotion. For example, perhaps you want to be less stressed about an upcoming quiz, or you want to be more grateful this week, or you want to stop being angry at your friend or family member, or you want try to stop feeling sad or guilty about something, or anything else you wish. Since the PMER is a powerful tool, and thus extremely helpful, why not pick a goal this week that is meaningful and important to you, such as a deep and personal emotion you are trying to change.
First, we are going to call the model: The Process Model of Emotion Regulation (PMER)
Second, the best way to understand it is that (1) the first two steps are Problem-focused, and concern fixing your SITUATION, (2) the next two steps are Appraisal-focused, and involve changing how you THINK, (3) the last step is Emotion-focused, and involves dealing with the STRESS itself, such as trying to suppress the emotion, vent the emotion, and so forth.
Third, here is a detailed explanation and examples for each step:
1. Situation Selection – The first step is asking yourself: can you leave or avoid the situation?
For example, if you have a phobia, can you avoid what is causing it? Or, if you are stressed you can go on a vacation and remove yourself from the stressor. If you hate your job, you can try to get a new one. If your relationship is causing you stress, you can try to get a new one. And so forth.
2. Situation Modification – If you can’t do Step 1, can you modify your situation?
There are times in which you can’t do Step 1 and avoid the situation. For example, you have an upcoming quiz or paper in your classes that you can’t avoid. Thus, you move to Step 2 and try to problem-solve the situation. If you have to take the quiz or exam, what can you do to change the SITUATION, such as study more, or set aside more time for studying, and etc. If you don’t like your job, but you can’t leave just yet, can you somehow change the workplace to modify the stressor, and so forth.
3. Attention Deployment – If Step 1 & 2 don’t work, then you could try distracting yourself.
If you can’t resolve the situation (remove or modify it in Steps 1 & 2), then what is left is resolving how you think about that situation. The first strategy here is to either distract yourself from the negative, or focus on the positive. For example, you could try not to think about the upcoming exam (but still study for it!), or focus on the positive aspects of the job you happen to dislike, and so forth. Step 3 is not a bad strategy, but it’s also not the best strategy because the distraction can sometimes prevent you from engaging with the stressor directly and solving the problem. Thus, Step 4 is better….
4. Cognitive Change – This is Re-appraisal!
The most powerful weapon at your disposal for removing stress is appraisal. As we learned with the Evolutionary Theory of Emotion and Contemporary Model of Emotion earlier in the course, the critical aspect that causes emotion is APPRAISAL. Thus, re-appraisal is changing how you think about the stimulus, and thus change your emotions, including stress. For example, instead of seeing the quiz as a threat (and thus stress), see it as a challenge, or realize that one quiz is not going to make-or-break your grade, or realize all the quizzes you have taken in the past successfully, or even go into the quiz with an approach mindset (fight) rather than avoidance mindset (flight), and so forth. The same process works for re-appraising how you feel about your job (if you happen to not like it), or relationship troubles, and so forth. The reason I focused so heavily on “Appraisal” in past knowledge structures was so that you could have that knowledge now for this PMER.
5. Response Modulation – If none of the steps have worked so far, then you can try Step 5 as a last resort, to try to diminish the emotion you are feeling.
At the end of this PMER model is Step 5, in which all the strategies to remove the stress have not worked (Steps 1 – 4), so now you are going to try to lower the stress in some way (Step 5), such as trying to suppress the stress, or venting, or inhibit yourself from crying, or substance abuse, and so forth. Some people at this stage also try exercising, because it can sometimes diminish the stress response. Some people also engage in destructive strategies at this stage such as drugs and alcohol to reduce the physiological symptoms of stress. Realize that if you are at Step 5, that means the Reaction has already occurred (within our model of Situation — Appraisal — Reaction). Thus, rather than trying to deal with the Situation (steps 1 & 2), or Appraisal (steps 4 & 5), you are now experiencing all the reactions such as physiological symptoms, behaviors, and emotions. Thus, the strategy for Step 5 is to try to deal with the physiological symptoms DIRECTLY, such as trying to remove the physiological symptoms. Notice, that is not as helpful as removing the actual thing that is stressing you (situation) or how you approach the stress (appraisal).