Coping – the sixth pillar of Positive Resilience
BUILD YOUR ABILITY TO COPE: PEOPLE WHO EFFECTIVELY HARNESS STRESS HAVE MORE MEANINGFUL LIVES, HIGHER PERFORMANCE AND PROTECTION AGAINST DISEASE
Coping is the sixth Pillar of Positive Resilience, the science and practice of developing mastery over our ability to not just cope with disruption and challenges but thrive and reach our full potential for happiness and success. This factor is all about building our sense of coping so that we are engaged and positively challenged but not overwhelmed by our work, push ourselves out of our comfort zone to increase our performance while being confident in our ability to cope, and perform at our best most of the time.
Being busy implies a certain degree of stress, challenge and pressure, and people who are busy are happier and have more meaningful lives than those who aren’t. Research also shows that experiencing a degree of stress can have powerful benefits1,2,3, such as improving alertness and performance, boosting memory, improving relationships3 and even providing protection against disease? Of course, it also is well-known that extreme or chronic stress can be detrimental to your health and performance1,2. So to live life fully and perform at your best you need to develop your confidence in your ability to cope, finding the sweet spot between pressure and performance that improves your life without overwhelming you.
People with a strong sense of Coping have developed the ability to harness pressure to gain a number of benefits: energy to rise to a challenge or deliver sustained performance in flow, motivation to connect with others, and help to learn and grow. So long as we are not overwhelmed by our ‘fight or flight’ instincts, we can choose to see the stress we’re experiencing as a challenge, rather than a threat.
Our environment can change quickly, so we need to pay continuous attention to ensure that we’re under enough pressure to stimulate us to learn and develop, but not too much to cause overload.
While some aspects of your environment will be outside your control, there will be some areas where you can take action to improve your coping.
A good first step is to make sure you’re supporting your wellbeing with healthy habits of diet, exercise and sleep.4 See our article on Wellbeing for more ideas.
Recognise that as we’ve said above, stress can actually be helpful, and look for the upside of the pressure you’re feeling. Then review any areas of your life that are overloaded, and also those where you’re not feeling sufficiently stretched. Try coping strategies that have worked successfully for you before, or that others recommend. Focus on what’s most important to you and prioritise your daily tasks accordingly. Ask for support or training and delegate more. Discuss unreasonable deadlines with your manager, if possible. Take relaxation, mindfulness or stress management courses and develop ways to manage stress that work for you.
The 7 Pillars of Positive Resilience are helping people thrive, not just survive, and fulfil their potential for happiness and success. To find out more and how we can help you improve well-being in your organisation contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a call.
References and further reading
- The Surprising Benefits of Stress, The Greater Good Magazine, Berkley, October 2015