Guest Contribution by Dr. Joti Samra
Stress is an inevitable part of our day-to-day life. Many of us pay a lot of attention to the types of stressors we are dealing with at any given time. What can be more important than the particular stressors is the manner in which we cope with those stressors. We all engage in a range of short- and long-term coping strategies, many of which we may not even be aware. Sometimes, these coping strategies can be helpful (e.g., giving yourself permission to not have your home immaculately clean; calling a friend to vent after a stressful day at work).
Other times, our coping strategies can be unhelpful (e.g., ingesting alcohol or drugs to help yourself sleep; procrastinating on a difficult assignment). Sometimes, we can only determine in hindsight which strategies work best for us. They may seem to make sense at the time, but eventually it becomes clear that they can lead to unsatisfactory results. It can be helpful to increase your awareness of your various coping strategies, and then actively work to implement the most effective strategies during particularly stressful times.
My MOST EFFECTIVE Coping Strategies Include…
My LEAST EFFECTIVE Coping Strategies Include…
Make a plan for knowing when you are engaging in ineffective coping strategies, and find a way to remind yourself to increase the use of effective coping strategies, especially during times of increased stress.
Reminder: UBC staff and faculty who are enrolled in UBC’s extended benefits plan have $1,200 coverage per year to see a Registered Psychologist. Click here for further information.
This article is adapted in part from resources Dr. Samra has created for the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace (http://www.gwlcentreformentalhealth.com/mmhm/emotion.html).
Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych., is a clinical psychologist and organizational and media consultant. She is the host of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Million Dollar Neighbourhood” and was the psychological consultant to CITY-TV’s “The Bachelor Canada”. She has also served as a psychological consultant and expert to a number of other TV shows and news outlets. Dr. Samra maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver. Her website is www.drjotisamra.com and she can be followed @drjotisamra