Updated: Jun 4
Simply put ‘coping’ includes a range of actions and adaptations individuals use ‘to deal with’ and ‘attempt’ to overcome problems and difficulties.
That Life Changes bring an array of problems, and difficulties that's for sure. Especially, because stress gets in the way. But it is also true that Life Changes bring opportunities. So let us focus on problem-solving to create opportunities. In this article, we describe eight definitive coping strategies you can (or should not) use to manage Life Changes with success.
In the workplace, coping strategies were well-researched in relation to job loss, new jobs and adjustment to work, business disasters, and role demands such as burnout.
Let’s dig a little further. Why are coping skills important? Coping by the individual is an adaptational process for:
1) maintaining interpersonal relationships
2) solving task-related problems, and
3) enhancing the emotional consequences of stressful situations.
Understanding what coping skills you use (or don't), is critical since it leads to pathways of resilience or vulnerability. For example, some strategies, like Escape-Avoidance, are maladaptive since they don't help to deal with the stress long term. Others, like Planful Problem Solving, are useful for heading off future stressors and thus are proactive coping styles.
Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman identified eight classes of thoughts and actions people used to cope with stressful situations.
8 COPING STRATEGIES TO MANAGE LIFE CHANGES WITH SUCCESS:
Planful problem-solving: “deliberate problem-focused efforts to alter the situation”
Escape–avoidance: “wishful thinking and behavioural efforts to escape or avoid”
Accepting responsibility: “acknowledges one’s own role in the problem with a concomitant theme of trying to put things right”
Positive reappraisal: “create positive meaning by focusing on personal growth”
Confrontive coping: “aggressive efforts to alter the situation”
Distancing: “efforts to detach oneself” and “creating a positive outlook”
Self-controlling: “regulate one’s own feelings and actions”
Seeking social support: “seek informational support and emotional support”
All definitions are derived from Folkman et al. (1986a, p. 995).
Problem-focused coping is directed at problem-solving or taking action to change the source of the stress. What coping strategies do you use when dealing with changes in your personal life and work?
ONE LAST THING TO MANAGE LIFE CHANGES WITH SUCCESS
Action. Problem-focused coping is action-oriented and encompasses behaviours and cognitions aimed at solving the problem, such as seeking information, taking direct action, or breaking the problem down into more manageable pieces, a strategy called “chunking.”. Still, sometimes, delaying or suppressing action can be a useful problem-focused strategy. For example, delaying a direct confrontation with a colleague or a manager may lead to a more rapid solution to a problem than acting in anger.
How to choose the best strategy? We help our customers decide on the best coping strategy to manage problems and difficulties aroused by Life Changes.
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