Cope With Life Crises

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Cope With Life Crises
Cope With Life Crises

Video: Cope With Life Crises

Отличия серверных жестких дисков от десктопных
Video: How To Deal With Midlife Crisis 2023, February

Cope with life crises

Life crises (eg after losing a job or a loved one) often represent a special challenge for the psyche. You have to learn to deal with these changes and in this process you experience a new side.

Certain coping strategies can help to master these critical phases of life or events.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • What is a crisis?
  • What types of psychosocial crises are there?
  • Phases of a crisis using the example of a loss
  • What helps in overcoming a crisis?
  • "Train" mental resilience
  • Coping with grief
  • Overcome unemployment
  • Adjustment Disorder & Trauma

What is a crisis?

In a crisis, a person is confronted with events and life circumstances that are so drastic in terms of extent, type, scope and duration that they can exceed the ability to cope with stress and the available coping strategies. Radical experiences or events or life transitions can cause personal crises. But far-reaching general crises (such as the corona crisis, natural disasters or war) also have a massive impact on personal life. Not having something under control generally causes massive stress. However: crises are manageable and do not last forever. They can also be an opportunity - even if they usually mean some form of danger. There are several scientific concepts on the subject of crises. These are still the subject of research.

Some events in life leave such deep marks that dealing with them is very difficult. Sometimes a life crisis or a traumatic event can develop into a mental illness. The boundaries for this are sometimes fluid.

What types of psychosocial crises are there?

Crises can be differentiated on the basis of their course (e.g. onset quickly or slowly), their extent (e.g. severe grief, psychological shock) or on the basis of their cause. Crises are often a form of loss (e.g. after the loss of a loved one, the job, after a separation or even loss of health or integrity). You can roughly distinguish between psychosocial crises:

  • Life change crises
  • Loss crises
  • Trauma

This must be distinguished from psychiatric crises that require immediate medical help.

Phases of a crisis using the example of a loss

It is important to know that no two crises are completely alike. Everyone also processes crises differently. It is therefore not possible to predict in general how the coping can take place. There are models (for example by the psychologist Verena Kast or the psychiatrist Johann Cullberg) that outline how crises (e.g. grief or loss) can be overcome.

These models help to better understand phases of internal crisis processing. These exemplary crises are illustrated using an example of a grief crisis:

  • Phase 1 - Shock: At the beginning of a grief process or a crisis there is usually the “not wanting to accept” the situation. In addition, there is “inner chaos” up to the feeling of feeling paralyzed inside.
  • Phase 2 - Reaction: Reality slowly emerges. Since this is often difficult to grasp and very stressful, intense, chaotic feelings such as great fear, loss of control or helplessness arise.
  • Phase 3 - Processing / Acceptance: The situation is accepted. At the same time, the way out of the crisis begins. Solutions are being sought. In the best case, it is possible to leave the past behind.
  • Phase 4 - Reorientation: In this last phase of crisis management, a reorientation - towards a more positive future - is possible. Sometimes a point can also be seen in the crisis.

The beginning of a crisis is also about regaining control as best you can and understanding what is going on. However, these phases rarely follow one another. Rather, they overlap, are sometimes indistinguishable from one another and can be repeated. The demands of everyday life - including oneself - are often high despite the crisis. However, crisis management takes time. Therefore, you should also treat yourself with understanding - and with others. If it is a collective crisis (e.g. after a disaster), people can also be in different phases. Knowing this also creates an understanding for others.

Note A distinction must be made between life crises and psychiatric crises that require immediate medical assistance. For more information, see Emergency: Psychiatric Crisis.

What helps in overcoming a crisis?

No crisis lasts forever. The course of a crisis, whether it is perceived as particularly stressful or whether it leads to psychological consequences or symptoms, depends on many factors. In the best case scenario, a crisis will be overcome well, solutions will be found - a reorientation will arise. Crises also offer the opportunity - as bitter as they are - to adopt different perspectives, to be grateful for what is supposedly self-evident or for further development and maturation of the personality.

Phases of crisis management

According to the psychologist Verena Kast, the following phases can be distinguished in crisis management:

  • Preparatory phase: Various information and also opinions on coping are collected.
  • Incubation phase : In this phase, the information gathered is psychologically “digested”.
  • Insight phase: The previous development is now understood.
  • Verification phase : the insights gained are checked and further developed.

This model is only to be understood as a scheme. Personal developments may differ from this.

Support in difficult times

The important thing is: You don't have to go through crises alone. The sooner you look for support, the better. This can be a conversation with someone close to you who is good for you. Or a telephone call to a hotline for the psyche such as the telephone counseling on number 142. Sometimes, however, further professional help is required (e.g. from a psychotherapist or a clinical psychologist), which also supports an objective one "Outside view" and technically sound support guaranteed.

It can also be helpful to ask yourself what you have already done so far. That's usually a lot! And to think about or talk to others about what has helped you to overcome a crisis so far. It can also help to write down what helps you. So that you can remember it better. It can also be that you experience desperate moments. The same applies here - help is possible and important. For example, when there is great hopelessness. For more information, see Crisis Intervention and Thoughts of Suicide? Get help. They exist.

"Train" mental resilience

Emotional resistance (resilience), for example, makes it easier to withstand negative influences. Everyone has resilient parts in them. It is also possible to improve these or to learn skills in order to be able to deal more easily with difficult life situations. But nobody has leased resilience for life. Sometimes it has to be “worked out” anew, for example after severe crises or emotional trauma. Mental health is like physical health: it needs to be constantly looked after and maintained. For more information, see Crisis Competence with Resilience and Tips for Mental Balance.

Coping with grief

The loss of a loved one usually represents a significant turning point in life. Although life and death are inextricably linked, the topics of dying and mourning are subject to many taboos. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone grieves differently. However, grief processes often run in phases. Most of the time, the grief subsides on its own. If the grief doesn't seem to stop or turns into depression, professional help may be necessary. For more information, see Coping with Grief.

Overcome unemployment

Unemployment can affect anyone. The unexpected not only confronts those affected and their surroundings with material hurdles - their health is also affected. Unemployment is a very personal turning point in life. Getting informed and staying on the ball helps. You can find more information under unemployment.

Adjustment Disorder & Trauma

Radical changes or events in life can also leave lasting traces. If people react to stressful, but not traumatic events temporarily with symptoms (e.g. depressive or anxiety symptoms), one speaks of an adjustment disorder.

The acute stress reaction (popularly known as a nervous breakdown) is also a reaction that lasts for hours to days to extraordinary physical and / or emotional stress in otherwise mentally healthy people. This can happen, for example, after a disaster (such as an earthquake, flood) or unexpected threatening changes in social relationships (e.g. death of a loved one). The acute stress reaction usually begins immediately within minutes of a stressful event.

Traumatic stress can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - also known as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These represent a delayed or prolonged reaction to a severe stress or threat. You can find more information - including options for help - under Overcoming mental trauma.

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