Modern day life and lifestyles both at work and in our personal lives expose us to more and more stressors all the time. So much to do, so much to fit in but only limited time. How do we deal with all the competing demands? Do we adapt – build up a tolerance over time? Or do we gradually get worn down by constant exposure to stressors? This is a challenge that as Manager of EAP Services at The ORS Group I see more and more clients who are attending EAP counseling struggling with.
Have you ever wondered why it is that some people can tolerate highly stressful situations or prolonged stress and still perform at a high or adequate level (e.g. sporting athletes, successful executives and other high achievers) and yet others in the face of multiple stressors crumble?
Factors that contribute to coping with stress
There are many factors that contribute to coping with stress.
- Coping styles and strategies
- Support networks
- Adequate rest
- Participation in restorative activities
Stress and coping – we need all of these things and more but most of all it is a matter of having a (positive) attitude, the willingness to push through, persist and be resilient despite the situation.
A positive attitude is essential
There is no use in having coping strategies if you don’t have a positive attitude – chances are you won’t be using your coping skills!
If you have a positive attitude, if you are self-aware and practice good self-care you have a much better chance to be resilient enough to cope with most stress that comes your way.
Having a positive attitude is often influenced by a person’s locus of control. If you feel like you’re just being pushed around by external forces with no capacity to influence outcomes then you are more likely to experience stress and have your capacity to perform diminish. But what if you can challenge the external forces and find a way around what is presumably being imposed on you. If you have a positive attitude and a belief that you can influence outcomes, it might not totally extinguish the stress, but it might be able to limit the impact and help you strive and cope despite adversity.