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Dealing constructively with a crisis

02. February 2021 / general

An acute crisis presents us with great challenges. We feel helpless and see no way out. Our mental and sometimes physical balance is lost. Good to know: most crises have an almost identical sequence: shock, reaction, processing and reorientation. So it takes the valley of tears before things start to look up again. We can often influence the speed of this process ourselves.

The word “crisis” comes from the Greek. Originally, it meant “judgement” or “decision” – in other words, it was neutral. Only later did it acquire the additional meaning of “intensification”. A crisis is therefore the culmination of a negative development We are therefore in an extreme situation that we cannot deal with at that moment.

Crises can have many external triggers: Illnesses, deaths, separations, dismissals or other strong professional changes. But they can also be crises of meaning and life that make us despair. What happens when we experience an acute crisis:



So we don’t function in a crisis as we did before. We feel that the coping strategies we had worked out before are useless.


The four phases of a crisis

It is important to know: all crises pass, even if you may not believe it in the acute stage. No two crises are alike, but almost all follow the same pattern:



Danger and opportunity

The written Chinese word for crisis consists of two characters: Danger and Opportunity. At the beginning, you only see the danger, the negative. But over time, ideally, you can also recognise that what has happened can trigger a positive development in you – unfortunately, you usually only realise this after you have dealt with it.

I once had a coaching client who had lost her job because of mobbying. She was very angry with her ex-boss, but over time she had to realise that her anger did her no good – she couldn’t undo her dismissal. Her anger only drained her of energy that she could better use for her reorientation.

When she was able to accept the fact of her dismissal and also realised that there was something positive about the situation (she no longer had to see her boss, with whom she did not get along at all…), she was able to look forward again, became active and after a short time found a great job that was even better than the one she had before.


Our thoughts have an influence

This true story shows that while we cannot change the fact that triggered our crisis with our thoughts, we can change the way we manage it (intensity, duration, outcome). Our thoughts create our reality. This is important for the tips I would like to give you:



So you have very different levels on which you can start in order to be able to cope with your crisis. The crucial thing is: be aware that you have a concrete influence on how quickly and how well you can overcome your crisis. Take action!


© Claudia Kraaz


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