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Task-Oriented Coping to Avoid Emotional Spending.

Modifying how you cope with stress could improve your finances!

I am reading a book by Josie Spinardi entitled How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too . The book advises to eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are satisfied.  Pretty simple huh?  However the book explains how restrictive diets can trigger binge eating, and also how some people use food to cope with stress.

I am most intrigued by the stress-induced emotional eating, because many people also often emotionally spend. They don't call it "Retail Therapy" for nothing. After a hard day or week, we may reward ourselves with a shopping trip to help us forget our troubles. She describes this as "Emotion-Oriented Avoidant Coping Behavior" (we avoid the problem causing the stress and focus on a distraction like shopping or eating to feel better).

However, she writes that studies show people who use a Task-Oriented Coping Strategy (focusing on the problem and how to solve it) "enjoyed higher life satisfaction, attained more personal success, had more satisfying relationships and suffered from far fewer mental and physical illnesses."

Many of us, myself included, often try to counteract the feelings caused by stressful situations, rather than try to correct the actual problem or situation causing the stress. We may do this because we believe we have no power to improve the situation causing the stress, but is that true? And of course, after the thrill of shopping or eating has worn off, the stressful situation is still there, and possibly even worse.

Next time I am stressed, before I punch Macy's into my GPS, I will do a "Root Cause Analysis" (another term used in the book) to determine if there might be a "Task Oriented" way to cope directly and proactively with the issue causing me stress.