Coping With Stress: Build Emotional Resiliency

Written by Anna Stevens, JD, BBA

decisiondudeStress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened, or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it’s a real or an imagined one – the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or a stress response.

The stress response is your body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused and alert. In emergency situations, stress response can save your life, giving you the extra strength to defend yourself.

In general, stress is related to both external and internal factors.

External factors include your physical environment such as your job, your relationships with others, your home, and all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations you’re confronted with on a daily basis.

Internal factors include your nutritional status, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, and the amount of sleep and rest you get.

Stress may cause many health-related problems including heart disease, obesity, depression, and type-two diabetes. There are two ways of dealing with stress: Stress Tolerance and Resiliency.

Stress Tolerance is all about maintaining effective performance under pressure or adversity. Resiliency is one’s capacity to mobilize personal resources to tolerate and overcome adverse events without experiencing stress, and to grow and develop as a consequence of such events.

In other words, Stress Tolerance indicates how much stress you can take on until you explode. Personal Emotional Resiliency, on the other hand, indicates how much adversity you can handle without experiencing stress. We need to focus on building and enhancing resiliency as it is most beneficial for our health, wellness and productivity in life overall and at a workplace in particular.

Here are seven strategies to build and enhance Personal Emotional Resiliency:

1. Find a good chiropractor. How can you be relaxed, optimistic and collaborative if you experience severe neck-pain or aches in your back on a daily basis? There’s no way. Chiropractors can help. They identify and correct misalignments of the vertebrae that can cause you a great deal of pain which will increase your stress-level. Make a chiropractic adjustment a part of your routine to feel more harmony in your body and mind and stay resilient to stress.

2. Spend quality time with your loved ones. Building stronger family boundaries will help decrease your level of stress and increase the level of empathy, love and support around you. Establish “Family Dinner Fridays” when everyone will prepare and eat a healthy meal. Sit at a table and share a meaningful conversation with your loved ones. No TV or cell phones allowed!

3. Exercise. Exercise can decrease stress, increase flexibility and balance, improve blood sugar and blood pressure control, strengthen your body overall and increase your level of optimism toward life. A good exercise program consists of cardio, stretch, and weight training. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (brisk walking or cycling) weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.

Make sure to eat right when you include working out in your routine. Keep a food journal to avoid poor eating. If you don’t feel motivated enough, find an accountability partner.  A reliable accountability partner can provide foundation that will support you along your journey to creating permanent positive lifestyle change for wellness and success.

4. Practice relaxation techniques. Some people claim they don’t have time to practice relaxation techniques. Well, your car won’t drive without gas and regular oil change. Similarly, your body won’t function at its best without being recharged through deep breathing and other techniques.

5. Eat healthy. Everyday stress can cause metabolic changes that, in the long run, contribute to obesity. In the same time, healthy eating habits can prevent you from experiencing stress. Research indicates that 41% of obese people cite “not enough time” as the reason they eat poorly.

A survey by CDC found that almost 40% of people who lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off successfully planned their weekly meals in advance. Also remember: don’t underestimate the importance of breakfast. Skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity. You need to consume antioxidants every day. They are nature’s way of fighting off potentially dangerous molecules in the body. Be sure to eat spinach and other greens as they can help you prevent cancer, heart-disease, stroke and obesity.

6. Allow yourself 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If can’t find time sleep for 8 hours, take a power-nap during a day. This strategy is vital for reducing stress. When you go to bed, leave your cell phone outside of the bedroom or at least turn it off. Listen to some relaxing music. Light some candles. Think about something pleasant. If you live in a city, use earplugs to avoid being disturbed by loud noise. If you don’t have the ability to sleep for 8 hours a night, take 1-2 power-naps throughout the day. It will help you recharge your batteries and allow for new, fresh energy, creativity and positive mood.

7. Be grateful. Start a Thanksgiving Journal to exercise and improve your gratitude. I have one, so every day, before going to bed, I write five thanks to people for their acts of kindness or nice words of support. I don’t take those positive moments for granted and, in return, my Thanksgiving Journal provides a strong evidence that life is good, which fills me up with optimism, hope and enthusiasm.

Practicing these strategies will help you become stronger physically and emotionally, stay hopeful even during challenging times, build meaningful relationships with your family, friends and colleagues, increase the quality of your life, and decrease the level of stress.

Overwhelmed? Come talk to a mentor. (What is this?)

Read Debbie’s story of recovery from burnout. 


6 Responses to “Coping With Stress: Build Emotional Resiliency”

  • Elkay says:

    NeilMD, yours is a practice I also employ but I focus on how God appeared in life that day. When stress arrives, I can look back at those events, see His faithfulness and be assured that He is indeed working for good.

    In addition to waiting to the end of the day, another concept that many people use is to begin the day, even before arising, in prayer thanking God for the gift of life, for the gift of faith, for the purpose that He has set apart for them and also asking the Holy Spirit to fill their heart, mind, and soul with the grace needed to live out the purpose appointed to them. If you do begin this practice, please let us know how this affects stress in your life.

    Thank you for your post!

  • Elkay says:

    To ??????:

    I am not sure what your message meant to say but if you do want to post, please give us a little more information. On the other hand, possibly your situation would best be helped by one of our confidential mentors who are freely available. If you would like for someone to come alongside to support you, please hit the “Talk to a Mentor” button at the top of this page and someone will get back to you via email. Meanwhile, may God bless you today with exactly what you need today.

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  • Tater says:

    A full body massage is the way to relieve stress for me. In fact, a full body massage once a month helps. It’s like taking a day or two off from work. Try it..

  • hhhhhh says:

    His serenity will secure your thoughts and hearts and thoughts as you reside in Jesus Christ.

  • Shelley says:

    The way that I take away stress is to take power naps in the day, I work on the computer by playing a game that I love to play and eat smart when I have over indulged, especially at gatherings.

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