The Happiness Lab Delegate's Guide Chapter 6 — Coping Strategies - Page 5

L ike every good movie there are four possible outcomes when life casts you in a difficult place. You can be crushed by it, survive it, recover from it, or thrive in it (though note we should not equate thriving with being hilariously happy). Writing the final scene is determined by how you deal with the situation you find yourself in. There are fundamentally two possible responses when you are struck by a personal crisis. Some people attempt to deal with their upsetting scenario by engaging in a problem-solving approach, while others attempt to adopt a more accepting response. The problem-solving approach For those who believe it is a matter of problem- solving, their approach is to obtain as much information as possible about the issues and then form a plan of action to deal with them. Often the biggest weakness of this route is that it deals with the effects and not the cause of what is going on. Ingredients in this process include: call the problem by its name clarify what would take the problem away consider all options for dealing with this issue choose a particular route for solving your issues calculate what could happen 06 A choice of two paths carry out your plan contemplate what happened. The emotion-focussed approach When it comes to approaching the difficult issues in a more accepting way, then we are thinking in terms of how to reduce the symptoms of stress of the particular context we are in. Not every situation we find ourselves in can be solved. When we are in that place we need to think in terms of how best to manage ourselves through the rollercoaster that we are about to get on. There are many emotion- focussed approaches that people use. These include behavioural strategies (different ways of acting while you are in this tough scenario) and cognitive strategies (thinking differently about your context). As far as possible, practical things that you could do to engage in either of these responses would include going on holiday, engaging in a local project that helps others, or talking with friends. 67