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Individual coping mechanisms

In many cases, crises cannot be attributed to a single cause. Which situations are perceived as critical varies from person to person. There are no hard-and-fast criteria to determine whether a situation is critical or not. Coping strategies are also highly personal. Based on their individual biography, different people will resort to different coping mechanisms.

In general, you can count on your personal skills and strengths when it comes to coping with a crisis. But if you reach a point where your own resources are no longer enough to deal with a situation, you should seek professional support. This will allow you to discuss unsettling or worrisome experiences with a professional and find constructive ways of dealing with them.

In the best case, you’ll emerge from a crisis stronger than before, equipped with a range of new strategies, perspectives, and attitudes for the future. In many cases, crises are key junctures in our lives that give us new tools to cope with things that would otherwise be overwhelming.

In times of uncertainty, it’s therefore a good idea to have a close look at your own personal resources and potential. In practical terms, this means:

  • Take stock of valuable past experiences: What helped me in the past? Which strategies do I already have at my disposal that could help me now?

  • Talk to other people to discuss your experiences and to learn more about how others cope with the situation.

  • Be mindful of your own needs and emotions: What do I feel now? What do I need now?

  • Seek professional help, in the form of counselling or therapy. 


Hermann, Christiane: Lebensereignisse, kritische. In: Dorsch. Lexikon der Psychologie. URL: (18.03.2020)

Margraf, Jürgen; Pschyrembel Redaktion: Kritisches Lebensereignis. In: Pschyermbel online. URL: (18.03.2020)

Wikipedia. Die freie Enzyklopädie: Kritisches Lebensereignis. URL: (18.03.2020)

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Crisis vs. critical life event