Coping with Stress: Effective People and Processes

Coping with Stress: Effective People and Processes

Coping with Stress: Effective People and Processes

Coping with Stress: Effective People and Processes

Synopsis

This is a companion volume to Coping: The Psychology of What Works, which is also edited by Snyder. This second book includes chapters by some of the most well known clinical and health psychologists and covers some of the newest and most provocative topics currently under study in the area of coping. The contributors address the key questions in this literature: Why do some of us learn from hardship and life's stressors? And why do others fail and succumb to depression, anxiety, and even suicide? What are the adaptive patterns and behaviors of those who do well in spite of the obstacles that are thrown their way? The chapters will look at exercise as a way of coping with stress, body imaging, the use of humor, forgiveness, control of hostile thoughts, ethnicity and coping, sexism and coping aging and relationships, constructing a coherent life story, personal spirituality, and personal growth.

Excerpt

As we are about to begin the twenty-first century, understanding the processes of coping with stress, as well as the people who are facile at such coping, seems rather daunting. When Alvin Toffler published Future Shock in 1971, he argued persuasively, at least to me, that change was occurring at an ever-accelerating pace. Furthermore, despite the already enormous impacts of the personal computer and internet in the year 2000, I believe that we have seen only a small sample of their ultimate influences on our culture in general, and science in particular (see Toffler, 1981). As baseball catcher turned philosopher Yogi Berra has told us, “The future ain't what it used to be.” There is much wisdom in Yogi's words. We will be facing new and ever-changing stressors in our attempts to cope in the fast-paced society of the coming decades. If we do not cope, we will be unable to find our place and get somewhere in that future, much like the car driver poised on the entry ramp of a super highway trying to find an opening in the flow of traffic where there is none. I say these things not to alarm, nor, of course, am I the first to talk this way—for centuries writers have warily described the wonders lurking “out there” in the future.

As I cast my thoughts toward those tomorrows, I am drawn back to what my Grandpa Gus used to tell me about the “old days.” Everyone probably has an elder who has recounted similar tales of yesteryear. Without going into details, those “good old days” don't seem so good to me. They were very difficult for the majority, and horrific for a sizable minority of our ancestors. And the stressors they faced stagger the imagination—lacking food and shelter, fighting world wars, and being open to the ravages of contagious diseases. Looking back, the stressors may seem more barbaric than the ones we face today. We owe this in large part to the continual advances in science, technology, medicine, food production, governance . . .

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