Difficult life situation - what is it in psychology. Support and assistance provided in difficult situations

Life is life. Sometimes you fall into a deep hole and are stuck at the bottom with a broken heart, an empty wallet, or a serious illness. No matter how much you try to climb back, it seems that there is no way out.

In fact, the exit is much closer than it seems. To cope with a difficult life situation, we need only one thing - specifically targeted actions . After all, they are the most effective tool for achieving results.

And if so, we will look at 2 ways to solve any problem using a 4-step action plan, two useful exercises and one tip that helps when everything falls out of hand. We will start with 5 ideas that you need to understand so as not to kill yourself again and not make the porridge thicker than before.

What is a difficult life situation?

Modern Russian legislation defines the term “difficult life situation” as “a situation that objectively disrupts the life of a citizen (disability, inability to self-care due to old age, illness, orphanhood, neglect, poverty, unemployment, lack of a specific place of residence, conflicts and abuse in family, loneliness and the like), which he cannot overcome on his own.”

The term “life situation” began to be used in psychology from the beginning of the 20th century. A life situation is the conditions, circumstances, needs, values ​​and ideas defined in relation to a particular person, which together influence the behavior and worldview of a person at this particular stage of his life.

A difficult life situation is defined as the following conditions:

  • not satisfying the needs of the individual;
  • contrary to his beliefs;
  • creating negative experiences.

A difficult situation can be the death of a significant person, dismissal, loss of financial or social status, illness, poverty, violence and abuse, unplanned pregnancy, divorce and other personally significant events.

Difficult conditions can arise under the influence of both external and internal factors. The point is that a person cannot solve a problem in the usual ways. A difficult life situation is characterized by:

  • tension;
  • a requirement for a person to solve some problem;
  • the need to change habitual behavior and life activities.

Subjectively, this is realized through a state of stress, the inability to meet new requirements, and uncertainty of prospects. A difficult life situation is different from a crisis or extreme situation, which are more traumatic for the psyche.

As a rule, a difficult life situation causes a conflict between the interests of the individual or the interests of him and society. A person has to choose new ways to achieve a goal. This is a critical and, to a certain extent, turning point situation, which is characterized by human social instability.

Attempts to survive - do they always lead to success?

A similar principle is embedded in one of the special army exercises. It is performed by recruits of the elite American Navy SEAL unit. Beginners' limbs are tied and thrown into a pool or pond, which is 3 meters deep. The goal of a soldier is to survive.

More often than not, the poor souls fail. They panic and scream, making the situation even worse. Others try to swim, but by doing so they sink themselves to the bottom. Throughout the existence of this unit, there have been deaths.

But there were also employees who successfully completed the task. In this they were helped by the knowledge of two simple, but at the same time contradictory principles.

The first one is this. The more a tied person tries to stay on the surface of the water, the higher the risk of drowning. After all, it is impossible to be on the surface, much less swim, with your hands and ankles tied. And erratic movements only drag you to the bottom faster. The point of the task is to relax and sink to the bottom of the reservoir. Then you need to push off from the bottom with all your strength. Once on the surface, you need to quickly inhale. Then the process is repeated until the soldier ends up on the shore.

Surprisingly, performing this exercise does not require any supernatural strength or special endurance from the employee. Moreover, he does not need to be able to swim to complete the task.

The second rule is a little more obvious: the more a person twitches and panics, the more his activity requires oxygen. And, therefore, the greater his risk of losing consciousness and drowning.

This is not a test of physical fitness or willpower. Its goal is to develop self-control in a difficult situation. Will a person succumb to the instincts inherent in him, which in this case will play a cruel joke on him? Will he be able to remain truly calm in the face of mortal danger? Mastering your instincts is a good skill. It is useful not only in the navy, but also in any difficult situation.

Help in difficult life situations

The goal of working in a difficult life situation is to adapt to new conditions and stabilize the situation. As a result, a person either takes an active life position (favorable adaptation) or becomes an opportunist (maladaptation).

There are possible useful (constructive) and unhelpful (destructive) ways of adapting to the situation. Structural ones include:

  • maximum use of your potential and resources, the help of a personally significant circle of friends;
  • targeted use of these resources and accumulation of social experience;
  • re-evaluating the situation, searching for alternatives and viewing it as a set of possibilities rather than limitations.

The following strategies are destructive:

  • avoidance, that is, ignoring the situation, trying not to notice the discomfort;
  • choosing a strategy without understanding its consequences;
  • searching for a solution without sufficient understanding of the situation (there is little information or it is from low-quality sources);
  • using other people's resources without searching for your own, and especially without using them.

Overcoming a difficult situation

These are the active actions of a person to change the situation. For example, if a person is left without a job, then he uses his communication skills, connections, takes courses, changes the situation in any way, trying to get rid of unemployment. A person seeks information, thinks, involves other people, controls his emotional and mental reactions. But such a strategy is not possible in the event of the loss of a loved one. Then all that remains is to cope with the situation.

Coping with a difficult situation

It is used if it is obvious to the individual that not all problems can be solved. Activities in this case are aimed at:

  • to maintain self-control, mental health, stability;
  • minimizing harm and stress.

This strategy is relevant in cases where it is impossible to change the situation and you have to change your attitude towards it.

Coping is a person's conscious actions to achieve a goal. In no case should it be confused with a passive attitude and subconscious psychological defense mechanisms.

Passive adaptation

This is a variant of coping, but it is aimed at changing not the situation, but the person’s personality. This style of behavior can be either primary or auxiliary.

  • You can adapt to a situation by taking on someone else's role and conforming to it. This is relevant when the causes of a difficult situation are one’s own undesirable character traits, for example, uncertainty. Yes, this is imitation, but it allows you not to underestimate your own self-esteem and gradually gain confidence.
  • Determining the limits of your capabilities is another adaptation option. This is especially true in situations of illness or disability. It is important to analyze what the body is ready for, what it is capable of doing, what it can compensate for, and what it has irretrievably lost.
  • Anticipating a situation (playing out a frightening outcome) is another way of adaptation. It helps you play out a difficult situation in advance and choose ways to cope with it.


We cannot cope with some situations even if we want to, for example, in the case of illness, old age, or being bullied by a group of people. Then you just have to go through difficult moments, changing yourself and your vision of the world.

These are always situations that break a person, which in no way can satisfy the needs of the individual or correspond to his values. As a rule, these are irreversible conditions that violate the harmony of the individual. Situations in which a person cannot change circumstances are the most difficult. After overcoming them, it will definitely not be possible to live as before.

They are overcome not through actions and practices, but through the internal emotional restoration of the functional balance of life.

  • These are changes in a person’s inner world.
  • This is sewing up the “holes” of the soul, searching for ways of personal development in the current conditions, creating new semantic connections between consciousness and life, creating a new image of oneself and the world.
  • You can see it as a test, a test of endurance. A person agrees with himself that after going through all this, he will be able to achieve the most unrealistic peaks.

The process of experiencing begins with the inclusion of defense mechanisms (repression, avoidance). Then the denial of what happened begins. Afterwards, a person goes through the remaining stages and reaches the final stage - acceptance (recognition and understanding of the situation).

Positive attitude

Whatever the strategy, it doesn’t hurt to develop a positive attitude towards the situation. How is this possible, and what does this mean? There are two methods:

  • compare your situation with other people (“I’m not as bad as…”);
  • remember your previous successes (“yes, now I am, but then...”).

This will not solve the situation, it is partly a passive method, but it will give you confidence and free up your thoughts to find new solutions or allow you to accept a situation that cannot be changed.

It is important to teach a person to cope with difficult life situations, and not to provide a way out of specific conditions. No person is immune from repeated problem situations, therefore you need to have a developed adaptation system (adaptive competence).

Is it worth putting all your efforts into solving the problem?

Desperate attempts to resolve the situation, and to do it as quickly as possible, are usually the first reaction to serious difficulties. In reality, this approach is not always productive.

Probably, the reader can remember a moment from the past when he had to defend his honor near the blackboard, frantically solving a mathematical problem or telling a rule. The life difficulties of adults sometimes require even greater ingenuity. In particular, intelligence is needed by those who regard their situation as a dead end. Like a difficult school task, these circumstances cause anger, a feeling of powerlessness, and irritation. Meanwhile, without a creative approach it is very, very difficult to get out of a dead end.

Phases of living through a difficult situation

Adaptive competence develops through several phases:

  1. Unconscious competence. This is an image of the world and the personality itself as it is represented in normal, familiar conditions of life. This is a self-evident adaptation. This is the experience that a person has gained and uses in ordinary, non-problematic situations.
  2. Unconscious incompetence. These are a person’s attempts to apply habitual behavioral patterns in already changing conditions that become problematic. Of course, successful application of previously learned strategies is no longer possible. The person himself does not yet realize the seriousness and reality of the changes, which is why he uses old techniques. There may be unusual, inadequate reactions from the environment to what the person is doing. Due to the fact that the individual does not yet define the situation as new, he persistently uses old techniques. As information is analyzed and accumulated, and the behavior of other people is assessed, a person begins to recognize the situation as difficult for himself. The first reaction is most often an attempt to adapt.
  3. Conscious incompetence. This is the stage of active internal changes, restructuring the inner world, collecting information, studying one’s resources and searching for alternatives.
  4. Conscious competence. A person has chosen a tactic, but cannot yet use it automatically. The more he practices applying techniques in practice (with mandatory reflection and evaluation of results), the closer the phase of unconscious competence becomes, but for broader conditions. Those conditions that until recently were difficult for humans.

As practice shows, it is impossible to overcome a difficult situation without the help of specialists and the support of loved ones. Don’t hush up the problem and be afraid to ask for help.

"Super tip"

[adsense1] Practice shows that many tips from the Internet simply do not work. Sometimes forcing yourself to read moral lectures, do some exercises, and overpower your character becomes sickening.

In this state, nothing works anymore. What kind of exercises are there, I would like to gather myself together. In a word – stress.

The only way out of this situation is to disconnect from business as much as possible. Send, score, rest – call it what you want.

Why is this advice “super”? Because it reflects the real state of affairs. If you have completely lost motivation and are discouraged, it is dangerous to finish yourself off! And you can achieve yourself through various practices, motivational speeches, constant reproaches, etc. If you are completely unable to work, these things will not help you and will only frustrate you. “I’m no good”, “Everything is lost”, “Nothing helps me anymore” - that’s all you think about after trying to overcome yourself.

So don’t be afraid to let things go for a while! Yes, this condition can last for several days or even weeks. But the more time passes, the more the spring of motivation contracts. At one point, you will get so tired of idleness that the spring will unclench and with great force will carry you back to the top.

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