Coping with Pressure for Positive Resilience

by | 24 Oct 2023 | Mental Health, Positive Resilience, Unleashing You, Wellbeing

When we can cope with something we feel equipped to deal with it.  Coping is a pillar of positive resilience and is important in finding the best balance between pressure and performance so we are engaged and productive.


The importance of coping

Coping refers to the cognitive skills and behaviours we draw upon to manage the demands in life, particularly in relation to the demands that require more resources than we have available. Our coping strategies have two functions, to moderate the stress we are experiencing to reduce its impact, and to manage the situation or problem that caused the stress.

As a pillar of positive resilience coping is when we feel stimulated and challenged by our work, and whilst we may be pushed out of our comfort zone we are confident that we can manage the demands.  We will feel able to use eustress or good stress as a power to drive action and productivity.

If we have not developed effective coping strategies we will feel overwhelmed and struggle to get things done, feel exhausted, negative and disengaged.

 The benefits of coping

 Obviously we want to feel we are coping.  We then feel in greater control of our lives and our overall stress levels are manageable and there is no detrimental impact on our wellbeing.  

However, we need a level of pressure and challenge, generally we enjoy being busy rather than inactive.  Busy people have been found to have more meaningful lives (this links to the importance of purpose, another pillar of positive resilience).  

At work coping well is where we get the best balance between pressure and performance.  The often-quoted pressure-performance curve shows that we perform at our optimal level when this balance is right. The strategies we draw upon to cope are those that help keep us in the zone.

When we feel we are coping well with the demands in our world we are likely to feel more relaxed, happy, and energised.  This also links to our individual perspective of the balance between our work and other areas of our lives – our work-life balance.

Tips for developing coping skills

Coping requires us to have a flexible approach and draw on a range of strategies according to the situation.  They can broadly be divided into problem focused strategies which target the thing causing the stress; emotion focused strategies that focus on our reaction to the stress; and avoidance focused strategies when we dodge the issue. 

  • Remember that stress isn’t negative. Too much of the wrong type of stress has negative consequences but at the right level stress gives us energy and focuses our efforts, as well as growth and resilience.  Identify ways stress is benefiting you and find more ways to access this.
  • Check your inner voice. How we speak to ourself impacts how we cope.  Talk to yourself as you would someone you care about.
  • Catch the good in our world. An effective intervention is the gratitude diary, at the end of each day recall three things you are grateful for during the day.  They don’t have to be big things but by noticing the good it helps us overcome the natural negativity bias.
  • Do the tasks you avoid and don’t want to do first. Get them off the list so they don’t create a shadow over the day.
  • Proactively create a list of different coping strategies that you can draw upon in different situations, so they are more accessible when our resources are stretched.

This is the one of a series of blog about the seven pillars of positive resilience.  Each includes tips on developing the resource.  You will notice overlaps and focusing on one can benefit other pillars with a cumulative outcome of greater positive resilience.  If you would like your personal Positive Resilience Profile to identify your current level in each of the areas get in touch.

The Positive Resilience Profile is a psychometric test developed by Peoplewise which we are accredited to provide.  It enables you to understand your current level in each pillar and get tailored guidance on developing each to enhance your positive resilience.  Contact us now to learn how to get your profile.

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To learn more please contact us on 01202 612 326 or through the options below. We’ll discuss details and how we can help you or your organisation.


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