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Stress and resilience

Tips for feeling better when times get tough

by Shannon Hyland-Tassava  |  5612 views  |  1 comment  |       Rate this now! 

Do you ever wonder why some women experience significant stress and adversity in their lives but always seem able to bounce back, whereas others become emotionally overwhelmed? The key difference is resiliency. The skills of resilience can help anyone -- even the most harried working mom -- handle the daily stresses of life more effectively, and resilience skills can be learned. Here are some ways you can improve your stress management and resilience skills.

1.) Consider ways to help others. Your scheudule is jam-packed, I know, but volunteering is a great way to refocus one’s mental energy on something other than one’s own difficulties, and it doesn't have to involve a huge chunk of time. Even an hour stocking a food shelf or walking an elderly neighbor's dog can be a great way to gain perspective -- and to feel empowered.

2.) Try distraction. Most people think that if they have a problem, they should think about it a lot to find a solution. However, endless rumination is unproductive and typically leads to worse mood. Practice distracting yourself in times of stress -- through exercise, a movie or good book, or a hobby.

3.) Practice good self-care. We’re not born knowing good stress management. Try to regularly remind yourself of behavioral strategies for coping with stress, such as maintaining good nutrition, getting enough sleep, engaging in regular exercise, talking to others when distressed, scheduling “down-time” to relax, breathing deeply when anxious or worried, avoiding substance use, and trying yoga or other stress-reducing activities.

4.) Keep a sense of perspective. It can be hard to imagine feeling hopeful and healthy when times are tough. Remind yourself that there is a lot of life beyond your current stressors. Practice asking yourself the question, “Will this matter a year from now? Five years from now?”

Don’t forget that if you feel unable to overcome your feelings of stress, a psychologist or other mental health professional may be able to help. Getting the appropriate professional help when necessary is part of resilience, too


About the Author

Shannon Hyland-Tassava is a psychologist, consultant, writer, and at-home mom to two small girls. She writes at

Read more by Shannon Hyland-Tassava

1 comment so far...

  • Yes, interesting connection between stress and personality. Good tips for handling stress!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jerilyn on 24th January 2010