Coping Styles (page 2)
Effective coping styles involve several learned responses to stressors, with the following characteristics seen in resilient individuals.
- The ability to recognize learning abilities and set realistic goals and time limits to achieve those goals
- Flexibility, especially open-mindedness toward change situations
- The ability to regroup or reorganize or take a "new look" at a situation
- The desire to contribute positively to "the group" (e.g., peer group, family, a club or sports team, the school environment, a church group, and so on)
- Self-reflective learning style both in and out of the classroom
- The ability to seek academic and social support as needed
- The ability to use a variety of ways to relax or manage stress (e.g., exercise, meditation, hobbies, listening to music, taking a nature walk and so on)
- Knowing when it's OK and appropriate to "slow down" to relax, rest, or recreate
Coping styles (characteristic learned responses to stressors) evidenced by flexibility, tolerance, self-reflection, empathy, or support for others with the desire to contribute to the group are most likely to contribute to resilient personalities. Individuals with dyslexia frequently encounter situations in which academic and social difficulties result in frustration or failure; they need assistance in developing coping strategies that bypass learned helplessness, negativism, less than satisfactory social interactions, and an external locus of control (Grosser & Spafford, 2000; Spafford & Grosser, 1993).
All individuals need to develop various ways to relax to manage anxiety, fear, anger, or frustration in response to stress. The discomfort one feels in reaction to stress naturally is caused by the body's fight-or-flight emotional response. The body prepares to act with tight muscles and a pounding heart. When an action is not appropriate, the individual remains "uptight" (Coon, 1994, p. 442).
Wheeler and Frank (1988) suggest any full body exercise such as swimming, dancing, yoga, most sports, and walking to reduce stress. When exercise is used for stress management, a daily routine is recommended. The effects of stress are diminished because the body has an outlet.
Coon (1994) also recommends meditation to "quiet" the body and "promote relaxation." According to Coon, "listening to or playing music, taking nature walks, enjoying hobbies, and the like can be meditations of sorts" (p. 443).
Dyslexics who persistently assume responsibility for learning/achievement (internal locus of control), seek support systems as needed, and stick to tasks are more apt to have effective coping styles and resilient personalities when stressors (medical, educational, familial, community) present themselves.
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