We all want the resilience to bounce back quickly from difficult times. Even more than that, we’d like to do well while they’re happening. Resilience is our ability to recover emotionally and psychologically from challenges, like experiencing a loss or sickness. It’s our capacity to adapt and move on.

Why do some people become overwhelmed in stressful times, while others feel more at ease in them and even find fresh enthusiasm? How can we not just survive the stress, but thrive in it?

Engage the change

Here are three beliefs that can help you find and keep your health and happiness during life’s hassles:

Commitment. You can think of this as your connection. When a crisis comes, you might feel an urge to avoid it. You might want to distract yourself with something else — anything to run from the feeling of stress. Instead, lean into the feeling. How can you become more involved in challenging events? Look for ways to be included, rather than becoming isolated.

Control. What can you do to help change events for the better? Focus on how you can be a force of good for yourself and others, even in little ways. These little efforts to improve things can be enough to keep you from feeling powerless. And where you can’t change events, you might be able to change how you see them.

Challenge. Within a crisis hides an opportunity. This belief allows you to see change as a way to learn something new. Thinking back, you can probably remember a time when something that seemed bad at the time led to something good. If you can, simply accept that something good is possible from the current stress. The challenge of today can lead to something better later on.

These beliefs can help you when you feel strained. They can reduce your sense of being overwhelmed. They can help you get a handle on any anxiety or depression you might feel. At the same time, they can boost your life satisfaction.

Back to basics

There’s no right or wrong way to feel about stress. Emotions can be hard to predict during these times, so, if you can, wait to make major life choices when you are feeling less stressed.

You can also:

– Limit the amount of stressful news you watch or listen to

– Create and keep to a routine

– Eat nutritious foods that will give you energy

– Avoid drugs and alcohol

– Exercise most days, even if just taking a walk

– Get enough sleep

Above all, when you’re feeling the heat, be kind to yourself. When you can be a good friend to yourself, you know that you’re on your side.

#BestMe Corner

How to get things done on time

Have you ever heard someone say they put off doing things because they “work better under pressure”? Or are they a little harder on themselves, and say it’s because they are “lazy”?

It turns out that when we avoid doing things we don’t want to do, it’s not usually for either of these reasons. Putting things off is actually a way we try to protect ourselves from fear. We might fear not doing the job well, fear doing it so well that we are given too much work, fear losing control, or have some other fear. This emotional weight can keep us feeling bogged down. It also doesn’t leave us much wiggle room if something happens that we don’t expect.

How to overcome a dread of doing? Try these tips to be your #BestMe:

– Identify your own reasons for putting things off. You might have different reasons than someone else does. Finding your reasons may take some thought, but knowing why we really put things off is key to managing our time better.

– Find your motivation. What can you learn or accomplish in a task that feels good to you?

– Reduce the stress of how you manage your time. Try to avoid making huge lists of things to do and keeping strict schedules. These can overwhelm you. Instead, set reasonable goals. Break down big tasks into smaller ones. Pace yourself. Be gentle with yourself.

– Use surroundings that help you. Try to find an area with few distractions. Set aside blocks of time for the job.

– Reward yourself for finishing. Give yourself time for something you enjoy after you complete a job.


1. “Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Hardiness Helps People Turn Stressful Circumstances into Opportunities,” American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/research/action/lemon.

2. “Coping Tips for Traumatic Events and Disasters,” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline/coping-tips.

3. “Understanding and Overcoming Procrastination,” McGraw Center for Learning and Teaching, Princeton University, https://mcgraw.princeton.edu/understanding-and-overcoming-procrastination.

All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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