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Resilient Turtle

Road to Resiliency

Stress Management, a priority training topic back in the eighties and nineties, is making a big comeback. Today’s work climate is plagued with budget cuts, heavy workloads, and fewer employees being expected to do the work previously intended for numbers greater than their own. The current stress-related statistics reveal:


  • Job burnout experienced by 25% to 40% of U.S. workers is stress related
  • Depression is the leading occupational disease of the 21st Century
  • $300 billion, $7,500 per employee, is spent annually in the U.S. on stress related compensation claims
  • Employee stress levels are positively correlated to on-the-job accidents, work days missed due to illness, and team and individual effectiveness

In response to a client request, I recently developed a stress management workshop that I called, “Got Resiliency?” My workshop identifies and explores three steps to increasing one’s resiliency and capacity for healthily coping with life’s stressors. Over the course of my next few blog entries, I will share the three steps along with practical application ideas for you to use to increase your own resiliency and health. (Contact me for your personalized “Coping and Stress Management” assessment).

Three Steps to Greater Resiliency:

  • Awareness of Stressors
  • Self Support (emotional, mental, spiritual)
  • Wellness Support (physical)


Step 1: Awareness of Stressors

This involves increasing your awareness to your own unique stressors, how you respond to these stressors, and what symptoms you experience as a result of your response.

Stressors fall into two general categories: External stressors and Internal stressors. External stressors are those coming from our environment, our work, our family, etc. Some examples are: work demands, relationships with boss or co-workers, family concerns, moving, death of spouse or loved one, finances, illness, etc. External stressors may be things outside of our control (traffic jam, death of a relative, car or major appliance breaking down), or they may be things that we have some ability to influence such as our relationships with others and our health.

Internal stressors are those that come from within and include one’s:

  • Expectations of self and others
  • Self Image
  • Perspectives or perceptions
  • Beliefs or Assumptions
  • Fear and Anxiety

External stressors are relatively easy to identify. Our internal stressors, the ways in which we cause ourselves stress, unintentionally, and perhaps unconsciously, are somewhat more evasive at first. Use the checklist below to identify your top few stressors in each category.


_____Too many responsibilities

_____Demanding or Unreasonable Deadlines

_____Conflicts with management or co-workers

_____Demanding or difficult customers

_____Conflicting demands / unclear expectations

_____Lack of control over my workload and/or decisions affecting my job

_____Job insecurity due to cutbacks, layoffs, downsizing, reorganization

_____Limited opportunity for advancement and/or inadequate pay

_____Other ________________________________________________


_____Death of significant person i.e., a spouse, friend, relative, or family member:

_____Separation or divorce

_____Health problems or injury

_____Finances (not enough money and/or heavy debt:

_____Conflicts with mate, inlaws, family or friend(s):

_____Challenges with children

_____Other ________________________________________________


_____Expectations of self & others (should’s, have to’s)

_____Poor self-image; lack of belief or confidence in self

_____Perspective on situations that leave me feeling “stuck,” hopeless, or resigned

_____Worry, anxiety, fear over future / future events

_____Regret, resentment, guilt over past / past events

_____Lack of asserting or clearly stating my needs and wants in a situation

_____Lack of control or power over my circumstances

_____Other ________________________________________________


Most of our stress comes from within, not from without. Even in the face of the most challenging external circumstances, we GET TO CHOOSE our response, our perspective, our approach. Our response, perspective, approach, in turn, either increases our resilience, our calm, our groundedness, OR leads us to experience more stress.

Below is an introduction to several strategies for increasing our capacity to choose the resilient, empowered approach to our stressors. Stay with me over my next several blog entries as I’ll share specific ideas, information, and techniques in each area below.

Step 2, Self Support, looks at how we support ourselves towards greater resiliency in an emotional, mental, and spiritual sense. Specifically important are:

  • Inner dialogue: the conversation you carry on with yourself all throughout the day. Is it positive, negative, affirming, demeaning, full of unmet expectations (i.e.: should have done this; shouldn’t have done that)?
  • Presence and Appreciating What is: the art of living in the here and now
  • Perspective: the way you view or perceive a certain situation, your work, a relationship, etc.
  • Beliefs: The underlying “truths” we hold about ourselves, others, organizations, relationships, etc. For example: “I have to be in control of this or…” “This ______ is going to be difficult.”  “I’m not good enough, smart enough, experienced enough, ______enough to do this well.”

Self support is an interesting area to explore. Often, our currently method of “supporting” ourselves in this area is unconscious, habitual, and not so, well, supportive.  I’ll share techniques and ideas for developing a practice of conscious self support in Part 2 of this blog series.

Step 3, Wellness Support, looks at how we support our bodies towards greater resiliency in a physical sense. Specifically important are:

  • A good, clean diet, filled with whole food nutrition
  • Amount of exercise or movement we provide for ourselves
  • Amount of clean water we drink each day
  • Amount of sleep we allow for ourselves each night

Wellness support is a big topic, and will be the focus of Part 3 of this blog series.
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De Yarrison

De is a certified professional Coach, Teambuilder and Facilitator of positive change. She is an adventurer in the world of relationships, blazing new trails of positive expression, resulting in happier leaders, employees, workplaces (and families).
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