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Building Resilience to Stress

The Key to Building Resilience

The key is to not try to avoid stress altogether, but to manage the stress in our lives in such a way that we avoid the negative consequences of stress!

One thing is for sure, you will not be able to eliminate all of the stress in your life, at least not while you are still alive. Accept the fact that there will be a certain level of stress in your life and work to manage it in a way that you avoid or minimize the negative consequences of the stress.

Strategies for Building Resilience to Stress

Resilience involves maintaining flexibility and balance in your life as you deal with stressful circumstances and traumatic events. 

  • Letting yourself experience strong emotions, and also realizing when you may need to avoid experiencing them at times in order to continue functioning
  • Stepping forward to take action, and also stepping back to rest
  • Spending time with others to gain support and encouragement, and also nurturing yourself
  • Relying on others, and also relying on yourself

Ten Strategies for Building Resilience

  • Make connections.
    -    family, friends, civic groups, faith-based organizations, other local groups
  • Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems.
    -    you can change how you interpret and respond to stressful events
  • Accept that change is a part of living.
    -    the only thing that is constant in life is change
  • Move toward your goals.
    -    do something regularly, even if it seems small, that enables you to move toward your goals.
  • Take decisive actions.
    -    rather than detaching completely and wishing problems and stresses would go away
  • Look for opportunities for self-discovery.
    -    people often grow in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss
  • Nurture a positive view of yourself.
    -    develop confidence in your ability to solve problems; trust your instincts
  • Keep things in perspective.
    -    keep a long-term perspective; avoid blowing things out of proportion
  • Maintain a hopeful outlook.
    -    expect that good things will happen in your life; visualize what you want rather than worry about what you fear
  • Take care of yourself.
    -    pay attention to your own needs and feelings.  Engage in activities you enjoy and find relaxing

Other Ways to Build Resilience

  • Writing about thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events. 
  • Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope. 

The key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal strategy for fostering resilience.


Originally published by the Texas Medical Association in 1999 and reprinted with permission.

For more information or to discuss stress and resilience concerns please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP.

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.


This content was last modified on: 06/02/2017

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In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.

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