What is resilience?
Psychological resilience is characterized by your ability to bounce back from negative emotional experiences, as well as your ability to adapt to stressful situations.
Coping is defined as the thoughts and behaviors that we use to manage the internal and external demands of stressful situations. Coping styles develop from a mix of our biological makeup (genetics) and personal experience.
- Coping is a dynamic process – not a one time event – comprised of a series of responses over time, and which is influenced by our environment.
- Coping encompasses a wide variety of actions and reactions, like anger and depression.
Things that promote effective coping include:
- Sense of coherence about your life
- Sense of purpose or meaning
- Sense of humor
- Trust in others
- Sense that life is worth living
- Religious beliefs
Most people use a combination of coping styles, but it depends on the person… and the problem. Coping is process, not a one-time event. The vast majority of things that stress us out are chronic.
- Problem Focused Coping – Doing something constructive about the situation; usually developed in childhood. We often see this style of coping in work environments. When there is a solution, problem focused coping is the best option.
- Emotional Focused Coping– Regulating the emotional experiences associated with a stressful situation; tend to develop in early adolescence. We typically see this style of coping when someone is not yet ready to solve the problem, and needs to deal with their emotions first. Or, when there is no solution to the problem. For example, people with a chronic or terminal illness often use an emotional focused copying style. There are 2 styles of emotional focused coping:
- Rumination – Negative recurrent thoughts which can be detrimental to your health
- Emotional approach coping – Clarifying, focusing on and working through emotional experiences; this has beneficial health affects for people experience chronic pain, or medical conditions like pregnancy and breast cancer.
Other coping styles:
- Approach – Uses problem-focused strategies to confront the issues.
- Avoidance – Ignoring or burying stress; There is a difference between avoidance and minimizing.
Whether you use avoidance or approach focuse mode makes a difference to your long-term health.
Things to consider when it comes to coping with stress
- Are there coping styles or personality traits that make you better at coping with stress than someone else?
- Are there strategies that are useful in different situations?