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So how do we cope with stress?

So how do we cope with stress?

We all cope, it is the nature of life lets look at the coping process, which can be applied to any situation in life, not just atwork. There are 3 stages to this:
• Primary appraisal
• Secondary appraisal
• Coping

Primary Appraisal.
This is when you are initially confronted by a stressor, or a stressful situation. At this stage you need to decide how you will deal with this from past experiences that you may have had, or asyou feel it should be dealt with. If the situation is not seen as threatening then the coping process ceases, the body starts to return to normal. This is a process by where the brain deciphers information and decides in a matter of milliseconds whether or not it is a threat. Unfortunately sometimes there is a quicker route whereby the brain creates the physical response before it actually realizes that it is a threat. A good example is a horror film, you jump because the brain has reacted to quickly, but soon tells you that it is a film and therefore does not need to continue on its path toward fight or flight. If however the brain perceives the threat a real, the next stage of the process begins.

Secondary appraisal
This assesses your resources for coping with your situation. Again using past experiences. Belief about self, environment, circumstances and personal resources are considered. For
example: have you coped in the past with similar, do you have the confidence and problem solving skills to cope. Is physical strength needed and is it available. You need to know how much control you have over the stressor, if you have none, the situation will be threatening for you; this is where the psychological/physical stresses arise. For example, if you are driving along and you hit ice, the initial reaction is fear, but soon the brain reacts, if you have experienced it before, and tells you to steer into it.

This is where you put into action the primary and secondary appraisals; whether it is an outward action or internalization which brings about prolonged stress if not reassessed. Sometimes the fight or flight reaction is kicked into action here if it is needed. However in some situations then that is not an option, because the primary and secondary appraisals tell you to. If at work you are told by a supervisor something that you disagree with, you sometimes have to internalize the reaction, which if not released at a later stage can result in burnout. So in effect you need to look at the event and how it affected you, you need to ask yourself if what you did was right for you, nobody else. It can be applied to all walks of life

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