STRESS Tips and Tricks

When Resilience is Down, Stress Will Stick Around


Stress is an inevitable part of our lives. We all experience stress from time to time, whether it be from work, relationships, or health issues. While some stress can be beneficial, chronic stress can have detrimental effects on our physical and mental health. Resilience, our ability to adapt and cope with stress, plays a crucial role in managing stress. However, what happens when our resilience is down? Can we still stop stress? In this blog post, we will explore the relationship between resilience and stress, and discuss ways to manage stress when resilience is low.

First, let’s define resilience. Resilience is the ability to adapt and cope with stress, adversity, and change. It is a dynamic process that involves a combination of individual traits, behaviours, and social support systems. Some of the key components of resilience include optimism, self-efficacy, social support, and problem-solving skills.

Now, let’s look at the relationship between resilience and stress. Research has shown that individuals with higher levels of resilience are better able to cope with stressors and experience fewer negative health outcomes than those with lower levels of resilience (Connor & Davidson, 2003; Bonanno, 2004). However, resilience is not a fixed trait and can fluctuate depending on various factors such as life events, chronic illness, and aging (Fletcher & Sarkar, 2013).

So, what happens when our resilience is down, and we are struggling to cope with stress? The good news is that there are still ways to manage stress, even when resilience is low. Here are some evidence-based strategies:

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) — MBSR is a program that teaches individuals to focus on the present moment and accept their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Research has shown that MBSR can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, even in individuals with chronic illness (Khoury et al., 2015).

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) — CBT is a form of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours. Research has shown that CBT can be effective in reducing stress and improving resilience, even in individuals with chronic illness (Moss-Morris et al., 2013).

Physical Activity — Exercise has been shown to have numerous physical and mental health benefits, including reducing stress and improving resilience (Salmon, 2001). Even a small amount of physical activity can have positive effects on stress levels.

Social Support — Social support from friends, family, and colleagues can help individuals cope with stress and improve resilience (Uchino, 2009). Even if you are feeling down and struggling to reach out, it’s important to remember that social support is available and can be beneficial.

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, there are several other ways to manage stress when resilience is low. One approach is to incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery. These techniques have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and can be particularly helpful when used regularly over time (Cramer et al., 2015).

Another approach is to prioritize self-care activities, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in hobbies or activities that bring you joy. These activities can help to replenish your energy levels and improve your overall sense of well-being, which can in turn improve your ability to cope with stress.

It’s also important to be mindful of your own self-talk when experiencing stress. Negative self-talk, such as “I can’t handle this,” or “I’m not good enough,” can make it more difficult to cope with stress and can contribute to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Instead, try to reframe your self-talk in a more positive and realistic way, such as “I am capable of handling this situation, and I will do the best I can.”

Finally, it’s important to seek professional help if you are experiencing chronic stress or are struggling to manage your stress on your own. A mental health professional can provide additional strategies and support to help you improve your resilience and manage your stress.

In a nut shell, while resilience is an important factor in managing stress, it’s not the only factor. Even when resilience is low, there are evidence-based strategies that can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine and seeking professional help when needed, you can learn to cope with stress in a healthy and effective way.

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