10 Tips to Build Resilience


Stress occurs all year round, but can be especially strong over the holidays. That’s why we dug into the archives and pulled out this treasure for Throwback Thursday. Read on to build up your resilience and relieve that holiday stress!

The majority of us live with moderate to high levels of stress, so it’s important to understand the difference between obtaining relief from stress and building resilience to stress. Read more to understand relief vs. resilience and get 10 tips to build resilience!

We all experience stress in different ways. You may have a hard time concentrating or making decisions, feel angry, irritable or out of control, or experience headaches, muscle tension or a lack of energy. Some people use Short Term Energy Relieving Behaviors (STERBs) to relieve stress, including drinking, sleeping, smoking, eating, shopping, etc.

STERBs distract attention from the negative effects of stress by providing a short-term relief. Not all STERBs are inherently unhealthy, but relying on STERBs to manage stress can create additional problems.

Those who identify themselves as “stress eaters” fall into the pattern of using food to obtain relief from stress: Eat to relieve stress, stress about gaining weight, eat to relieve stress …

The more effective way to manage stress is to build resilience to more easily “bounce back” from problems and continue to work towards a healthy lifestyle. The American Psychological Association* suggests 10 ways to build resilience:

  1. Maintaining good relationships with close family members, friends and others.
  2. Avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems.
  3. Accept circumstances that cannot be changed.
  4. Develop realistic goals and move towards them.
  5. Take decisive actions in adverse situations.
  6. Look for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss.
  7. Develop self-confidence.
  8. Keep a long-term perspective and consider the stressful event in a broader context.
  9. Maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualizing what is wished.
  10. Take care of one’s mind and body, exercising regularly, paying attention to one’s own needs and feelings.

Which of these 10 resilience builders sounds good to you? How can you focus on building your resilience to stress instead of seeking short-term relief? I would love to hear your thoughts and plans in the comments section below!

*American Psychological Association, “The Road to Resilience”

This article was originally published on this blog on April 17, 2013.

Author: Nick Frye, LCPC, NCC, DCC

Medifast’s resident Behavioral Specialist, Nick, is a licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor and Distance Credentialed Counselor specializing in addictions, disordered eating, motivation, and health behavior change. He develops behavior modification content for training programs, educational materials and support tools for all divisions of Medifast. Nick is a comic book and fantasy geek through-and-through, boasting that he has a far greater knowledge of the fictional Marvel Comics Universe than of his own family’s genealogy.

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