Resilience and Coping with Stress

Resilience and Coping with Stress

“Dear Stress,
Let’s Break up!”

Stress is a part of our everyday lives, and it is common and accompanies major life events, changes, and tasks. In my previous post, I wrote about stressors and the effects of stress on well-being. In this post, I will talk about coping with stress, which is an important life skill to deal with the demands and challenges of life. Resilience is the ability to tolerate stressful situations and recover quickly from difficulties. Various factors determine responses to stressful events. Some factors make us more resilient and reduce stress.

Social Support 

Being part of a group gives us a sense of identity and meaning. Our friends and family prevent us from using unhealthy ways to cope with stress. They encourage us to do better and believe in us. Research shows that support enhances the functioning of the immune system (Baron et al., 1990). Writing or talking about stressful events has positive outcomes. Meaningful relationships with other people allow us to express our feelings and share problems. It helps in reducing stress.

Self-Efficacy

The belief that we can perform the behavioural control necessary to cope with stressful situations enables us to handle them. We assess resources according to circumstances and ask ourselves- “Can I handle these demands? Do I have the resources to cope with them?”. We gain more confidence in our abilities if we have succeeded in similar situations. Seeing others cope with stressors also improves our confidence, and motivation from other people provides a lot of support. Thus, various factors affect our assessment of resources.

Reactions to Stress

Reactions to stress also influence our perception of events. Increased pulse rate, sweating, and other reactions that we associate with stress can set us on edge. We can incorporate various techniques into our lives to reduce these physiological reactions. I practice mindfulness and meditation, which help me remain calm and focus on the positive aspects of life.

Positive Attitudes

Beliefs and attitudes about the likely outcomes affect how we perceive a situation and its levels of stress. Attitudes affect our view of life and positivity helps us stay focused on the present instead of dwelling on problems. It lets us view situations as opportunities to learn. Gratefulness for the things we have in life makes us focus on the positive side of things. Maintaining a log or listing things we are grateful for can help us sum up the good parts of each day.

Meaning

We take comfort in finding meaning in life and having a purpose or goal. Having a personal belief may help us in times of stress, and such situations may also add meaning to our lives. Some things of great personal significance to me are nature, travel, and art.

Coping Strategies

Various strategies can help us cope with stress. Problem-focused approaches emphasize dealing with stressful demands directly or changing the situation to make it less stressful when stressors are controllable. Making a timetable to study for an upcoming exam or being proactive are examples of this approach. 

Techniques that focus on emotions seek to manage emotional responses to stressful situations. It includes perceiving situations in a manner that their emotional impact is reduced. Self-awareness becomes essential when using the emotion-focused strategy. Changing appraisals and practising relaxation techniques help reduce stress.

People also seek support and assistance in times of stress. It is useful when we can rely on people to provide support.

The power of a strategy depends on the characteristics of the situation. Learning to apply these coping strategies helps us adapt to stressful situations and makes us more resilient. 

Ways to Manage Stress 

There are various ways to remain calm and tolerate situations that cause stress. Relaxation, controlled breathing, and meditation help us release tension and gain a sense of control. Regular exercise and a healthy diet also increase our capacity to cope with stress.

Some actions enable us to feel a sense of control over our circumstances. Managing our time lets us allot time to different tasks at hand. I use a journal to organize thoughts and maintain timetables. I also use logs to track activities. To reduce undue stress, say “No” to tasks that are not important. Set realistic goals. Prioritize. Avoid procrastination. 

Maintain a balance between work and recreation. We often forget to focus on things that make us happy. Art, gardening, and listening to music allow me to rejuvenate. These activities make me feel prepared for the next task. Recognizing things that make you feel relaxed can help you feel ready to handle stress.

Accurate assessment of our resources is essential. Negative perceptions can be replaced with positive ones to change our outlook. Adaptive thoughts help us have a realistic point of view. Empowering self-talk helps us motivate ourselves. Other people can also encourage us. Making gratitude logs focuses the mind on the positive aspects of life. It is a technique I often use myself, and it has added more meaning to my life.

Thus, resilience and learning to cope with stress can improve our lives in a lot of ways. A small change and effort can go a long way. Often, remembering the positives in life can help us overcome great difficulties and thrive in the face of stress. 

“Resilience is knowing that you are the only one who has the power and the responsibility to pick yourself up.”

                           -Mary Holloway

Please share with us the ways that help you cope with stress.

References

Baron, R. A., & Misra, G. (2016). PSYCHOLOGY Indian Subcontinent Edition, 5th edition. India: Pearson India Education Services Pvt. Ltd.

Jennings, K.-A. (2018, August 28). 16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety. Retrieved from Healthline

Passer, M. W., & Smith, R. E. (2013). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior, 5th edition. Greater Noida: McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Limited.

*Image source – Canva

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Anita Negi
Anita Negi
10 months ago

Very good👌

Jigyasa
Jigyasa
10 months ago

Beautifully written Ma’am…I specially love the salutation
Dear stress
let’s break up👏👏

Rima Gupta
Rima Gupta
10 months ago

A lot of times we start understanding stress but we seldom know simple ways to address it.
Doc Alka in this article has shared some very practical steps which if we adopt, we will definitely be able to reduce stress. I am definitely going to start using them from today.

Anjali
Anjali
10 months ago

Highly informative. Thanks for sharing ma’am

Sonia Mehndiratta
Sonia Mehndiratta
10 months ago

Ma’am , a very well written and informative write up on Stress. Ma’am, still guide us, that even after practicing the techniques when we still feel undue stress at times , what to do.
Eagerly waiting for your next article.

SHASHI KUMAR DHINGRA
SHASHI KUMAR DHINGRA
10 months ago

An important factor in everyone’s life these days… Stress
Let’s break up
Commendable write up

Sunita Arora
Sunita Arora
9 months ago

Very true…..great work👍

Nisha Gulati Very well presented.
Nisha Gulati Very well presented.
9 months ago

A very practical approach suggested.

Mona Rai
Mona Rai
9 months ago

Very informative feature!
For me writing about my personal situation and a gratitude log at the end of a day really helps me find an internal balance. Prioritisation of things also sometimes helps me in getting out of stressful situations – it suddenly makes me realise that I am stressing over something which doesn’t really matter in the larger scheme of things. Sharing this article with others to help them find their own coping techniques.

Kavita
Kavita
9 months ago

‘Dear Stress, Let’s break up’! Love it! Another great and very relevant article Alka.

Narender Bhatti
Narender Bhatti
9 months ago

Truely said u r the one who can pick yourself up. 100% agree. well done. Very valuable post.

Swati
Swati
9 months ago

Love the fact that you have included references as well!

Khushi Tayal
Khushi Tayal
9 months ago

The beginning phrase explains it all. Very beautifully written and explained. Thank you so much for sharing.

Meenakshi Malhotra
Meenakshi Malhotra
9 months ago

Very informative and relevant article by Dr Alka Saxena.
Well said…Dear Stress Let’s break up.

Sapna Sinha
Sapna Sinha
9 months ago

So well said ma’am. I too try to be as positive I can and replace my negative perceptions because for me this is the only way to pick my self up.

Priyanka Chaturvedi
Priyanka Chaturvedi
9 months ago

Thanks for all the useful information. Well written. Educative.
Will surely incorporate these options in life to make it more beautiful!

Shreya Kumar
Shreya Kumar
9 months ago

Very stimulating read!

I found the coping strategies and the ways to manage stress extremely helpful. Especially, maintaining a balance between work and recreation. Often I get so involved with work and other commitments that I end up prioritizing it over my self-time and at times my health. But having a work-life balance is an ongoing need. This pandemic has converted our homes into our offices and hence I see the line between work and family life fading away.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to balance my time between my family, myself, and my work. This is going to help me in doing things that I used to love and enjoy, like writing, water colouring, and so much more.

Thank you for motivating us always and helping us see beyond.

Premlata Yadav
Premlata Yadav
9 months ago

Very informative write up. Its very important for us to break up with our stress.

Renu
Renu
9 months ago

Thank you for sharing, very helpful ways to deal stress. Worth reading

Manisha
Manisha
9 months ago

Truly said ma’am……’remembering the positives in life can help us overcome great difficulties’ ……helps coping with stress.

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