Stress Management and How to develop Resilience
Stress is something that can affect us all. Stress operates at various inter-related levels for example: physiological, psychological and social levels. In today's busy world considering how you react to stress is important? and how you can manage your stress is also important. And also considering where your stress comes from eg. our environment, social stressors (demands for our time and attention), physiological (lack of exercise) and our thoughts so assessing our present and future experience can aid stress or relaxation. Stress is neither good nor bad, it is our way of relating to stress that potentially causes us harm.
With stress I work with my clients to look at what are the stressors in their life and then develop stress management techniques that they can use currently and moving forward to enable them to stay calm and relaxed in potentially stress inducing situations. Sometimes it is not obvious what causes us to feel stress but by using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques we are able to obtain greater clarity and also provide solutions.
It can also be helpful to consider resilience which can be defined as ‘Positive adaptation in the context of significant challenges, variously referring to the capacity for, processes of, or outcomes of successful life-course development during or following exposure to potentially life-altering experiences.’ (Masten, Cutuli, herbers & Reed, 2009, p.119). I can use a Mental Toughness psychometric test (MTQ48) with my clients, which is a psychometric tool to enable clients to identify and better manage stress and improve confidence in their abilities to manage stress moving forward.
The tool uses the four components of mental toughness:
- control (life control/emotional control),
- commitment (goal setting, achieving),
- challenge (risk taking/learning form experience) and
- confidence (abilities/interpersonal confidence).
In summary, I use a variety of stress management techniques to work with my clients which can include: body awareness, progressive relaxation, visualisation, mindfulness and coping skills training. Clients can also choose to do the resilience test and then as a result we will devise a plan in terms of next steps utilizing various tools depending on the individual profile. Or maybe a client just wants to learn some stress management techniques to become more resilient and develop greater confidence. This could include the ability to problem solve and interact better with other people to name but a few. Also mentally rehearsing how they will make positive changes in their life and manage their stress differently.
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
― Nelson Mandela