Excellence University Blog

Self-Mastery Tip: Coping Effectively with Stress and Conflict

by Dr. Brian Higley

January 9th, 2010

In today’s fast-paced, complicated world, even the most disciplined lives are often filled with challenges and disagreements.  Structuring our minds and our environments to minimize these complications and to effectively cope with the stress and conflict that cannot be minimized is a critical piece of the Self-Mastery puzzle.

Effective coping can be facilitated by a clear understanding of how to increase our ability to handle challenging times will also decreasing the amount of unnecessary difficulties that we experience.  Here are some ways people have been able to cope effectively with the stress and conflict in their lives:

  • Increase your self-awareness in relation to coping challenges. One key to coping more effectively is an understanding of what challenges our coping abilities.  For some of us, it can be difficult to cope with criticism.  For others, coping with feelings of being ignored or unimportant can be more difficult.  Understanding what challenges our coping abilities most intensely can give us a clear vision of how to strengthen them.  It can often be helpful to create a list of 5-10 experiences that are particularly challenging in order to increase awareness of what tests our limits.
  • Become an effective self-soother. Coping challenges can be overcome more easily when we find ways to soothe ourselves in tough times.  There are 3 major sources of soothing: (1) ourselves (2) soothing others and (3) soothing places.  When times are tough, it can be helpful to talk to ourselves in soothing ways (for example, “this is a tough time, but I’m a good person who is doing my best to learn from this and get through it”).  It can also be helpful to seek out others who will understand and listen (rather than judge or give unsolicited “advice”).  Going to places that we enjoy or that relax us can also be helpful when times are tough.  It can be very helpful to create a list of 5-10 soothing experiences and goal-set to engage in at least 1-2 of these experiences every day (even if for only a few minutes a few times a day).
  • Pursue meaningful goals and experiences in life (or seek to attach meaning to challenging experiences). It is well known that people who can see the meaning in challenging times tend to cope more effectively with them.  If we are pursuing meaningful goals and experiences in life, we are more likely to be able to handle barriers to our success and satisfaction.  If we can attach meaning to barriers, they are less likely to be perceived as overwhelming and more likely to be seen as valuable experiences.  For example, sometimes tough times can create the opportunity for meaningful connections with others who can relate to our experiences or to share a laugh with someone who knows how we feel.  Asking ourselves “what meaning can I attach to this experience?” before, after or even during challenging times can help us cope more effectively with a variety of stressful experiences.

NOTE TO THOSE USING THE MISSION FULFILLMENT SYSTEM: You can work toward strengthening coping skills by adding a new Objective to your system by using the “Add New Item” link (for example, “Strengthen my coping skills”).  You can then develop a SMART Goal related to that new Objective by using the “Add Subitem” link to the far right of the new Objective (for example, “When I feel overwhelmed, talk to myself in soothing ways, see if Jane is available for a talk and/or take a walk in the park for 15-30 minutes.”).

FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT ON THE MISSION FULFILLMENT SYSTEM: Click here to for more information and click here to sign up.

FINAL NOTE: If you were linked to this article by a video or email, please return to that link and proceed with any other instructions that you deem helpful.  For more Execution Excellence tips and tools visit our site at: www.excellenceuniversity.net

Article Filed under: 1. Self-Mastery Tips

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Excellence Tree Journal &&hellip  |  September 27th, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    […] Phase III: Deepen focus abilities. Mission Connection takes regular focus.  Many believe that we are not well-trained to stay focused for long periods of time.  The ability to stay focused on one’s mission can be cultivated by a deeper self-awareness, more peace of mind and the ability to cope with stressful situations. […]

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