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Coping mechanisms in difficult times

Ulrich Seega, Managing Director, SANDPartners

IRM expert and author of our recent How to Hire to Great Chief Risk Officer report shares some of his experiences in how to help cope in times of a crisis.

Here's what he said:

•Humans under stress either fight, flee or freeze. Raising self-awareness when someone is stuck in one of these helps to re-focus and re-distribute the pressure and to calm down.

•Change that is inflicted upon us usually diverts our focus more towards the unpleasant side of things.

•If the situation changes (unwillingly) then every disadvantage becomes more prominent in a person's mind. To leave that vicious circle one has to focus on the things that do not change. Yes, the thoughts will be (temporarily) gone, but the family, friends, health, hobby, cat/dog, house etc are still there. Live in the present,

•Imagination: research shows that a vivid imagination is not on our side when times get tough: People who actually experienced bad times found them not as bad as those people who just imagined bad times. A pragmatic analysis of reality is key if you are not to fall into the same trap.

•Time is our friend. Nothing will change overnight. Raising awareness and understanding that it takes a large number of small steps to change helps to overcome change anxiety.

•Allow emotions. It is not nice to feel unhappy. Acknowledging emotions can be more powerful and emotionally sustainable than ignoring it and pushing it away.

•A healthy mind in a healthy body: two minutes of exercise per day as a start are worth more than 15 minutes once a week. It is all about getting started, building a routine, and turning two daily minutes into fifteen daily minutes over time.


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