So how do we cope with stress?
We all cope, it is the nature of life lets look at the copingÂ process, which can be applied to any situation in life, not just atwork. There are 3 stages to this:
â¢ Primary appraisal
â¢ Secondary appraisal
This is when you are initially confronted by a stressor, or aÂ stressful situation. At this stage you need to decide how you willÂ 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 asÂ threatening then the coping process ceases, the body starts toÂ return to normal. This is a process by where the brain deciphersÂ information and decides in a matter of milliseconds whether or notÂ it is a threat. Unfortunately sometimes there is a quicker routeÂ whereby the brain creates the physical response before it actuallyÂ realizes that it is a threat. A good example is a horror film, youÂ jump because the brain has reacted to quickly, but soon tells youÂ that it is a film and therefore does not need to continue on its pathÂ toward fight or flight. If however the brain perceives the threat aÂ real, the next stage of the process begins.
This assesses your resources for coping with your situation.Â Again using past experiences. Belief about self, environment,Â circumstances and personal resources are considered. For
example: have you coped in the past with similar, do you haveÂ the confidence and problem solving skills to cope. Is physicalÂ strength needed and is it available. You need to know how muchÂ control you have over the stressor, if you have none, the situationÂ will be threatening for you; this is where the psychological/physical stresses arise. For example, if you are driving along andÂ you hit ice, the initial reaction is fear, but soon the brain reacts, ifÂ you have experienced it before, and tells you to steer into it.
This is where you put into action the primary and secondaryÂ appraisals; whether it is an outward action or internalization whichÂ brings about prolonged stress if not reassessed. Sometimes theÂ fight or flight reaction is kicked into action here if it is needed.Â However in some situations then that is not an option, because theÂ primary and secondary appraisals tell you to. If at work you areÂ told by a supervisor something that you disagree with, youÂ sometimes have to internalize the reaction, which if not releasedÂ at a later stage can result in burnout.Â So in effect you need to look at the event and how itÂ affected you, you need to ask yourself if what you did was right forÂ you, nobody else. It can be applied to all walks of life