Tackling a problem productively can be difficult, but it gets results! This module will help you figure out how to best approach challenging situations.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” -- Jimmy Dean
Things you can’t control:
Things you can control:
Your response to all of the above.
While it’s perfectly normal to experience frustration, anger, and sadness, part of resilience is the ability to deal with problems productively.
You’re on a road trip with your best friend when you hit an unexpected roadblock. Do you…
Chances are, you picked option 4; it’s the only useful solution. But not every situation in life is this obvious, so this module will help you with tackling problems directly.
There are two main ways of dealing with a problem:
At the end of class, Maria is handed back her midterm exam and sees a big, red 47% at the top of the page. She studied hard, so she’s surprised and disappointed she did so poorly.
Blinking back tears, Maria walks straight out of the classroom. She spends the entire evening calling her professor names, eating cookie dough and watching Netflix.
In the above scenario, Maria uses passive coping strategies, reacting to her disappointment by taking actions unlikely to result in any positive change.
Blinking back tears, Maria takes a few deep breaths. After class, she’s still feeling pretty upset, so she goes for a run -- she knows that always makes her feel better. When Maria gets home, she emails her professor, asking him for a meeting to get more feedback on her midterm. This way, she can figure out what specific content she is misunderstanding, and how she can improve.
Here, Maria uses active coping strategies, taking actions to improve her situation.
One important note: not all problems are fixable -- for example, grieving the death of a family member. However, such problems can be managed so that their effects are less devastating. In these cases, part of active coping may involve seeing a counsellor to talk about the situation.
Watch this video to learn about how to deal with a problem using the ADAPT Model of Active Coping. Click here for a transcript for the Tackling Problems video.
If you don’t know how to deal with a problem, try the ADAPT Model of Active Coping. This model provides a helpful guide to think about how to best deal with a situation.
For help using the ADAPT Model to cope with a stressful situation, check out the activity below or complete the My Action Plan Fillable PDF - opens in a new window.