Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it’s a real or an imagined one – the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or a stress response. The stress response is your body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused and alert. In emergency situations, stress response can save your life, giving you the extra strength to defend yourself.

In general, stress is related to both external and internal factors.

External factors include your physical environment such as your job, your relationships with others, your home, and all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations you’re confronted with on a daily basis.

Internal factors include your nutritional status, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, and the amount of sleep and rest you get. Stress may cause many health-related problems including heart disease, obesity, depression, and type-two diabetes. There are two ways of dealing with stress: Stress Tolerance and Resiliency.

Stress Tolerance is all about maintaining effective performance under pressure or adversity. Resiliency is one’s capacity to mobilize personal resources to tolerate and overcome adverse events without experiencing stress, and to grow and develop as a consequence of such events. In other words, Stress Tolerance indicates how much stress you can take on until you explode. Personal Emotional Resiliency, on the other hand, indicates how much adversity you can handle without experiencing stress. We need to focus on building and enhancing resiliency as it is most beneficial for our health, wellness, and productivity in life overall and at a workplace in particular.

Here are seven strategies to build and enhance Personal Emotional Resiliency:

1. Spend quality time with your loved ones

Building stronger family boundaries will help decrease your level of stress and increase the level of empathy, love and support around you. Establish “Family Dinner Fridays” when everyone will prepare and eat a healthy meal. Sit at a table and share a meaningful conversation with your loved ones. No TV or cell phones allowed!

2. Exercise

Exercise can decrease stress, increase flexibility and balance, improve blood sugar and blood pressure control, strengthen your body overall, and increase your level of optimism toward life. A good exercise program consists of cardio, stretch, and weight training. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (brisk walking or cycling) weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.

Make sure to eat right when you include working out in your routine. Keep a food journal to avoid poor eating. If you don’t feel motivated enough, find an accountability partner. A reliable accountability partner can provide foundation that will support you along your journey to creating permanent positive lifestyle change for wellness and success.

3. Find a good chiropractor

How can you be relaxed, optimistic and collaborative if you experience severe neck-pain or aches in your back on a daily basis? There’s no way. Chiropractors can help. They identify and correct misalignments of the vertebrae that can cause you a great deal of pain which will increase your stress-level. Make a chiropractic adjustment a part of your routine to feel more harmony in your body and mind and stay resilient to stress.

4. Practice relaxation techniques

Some people claim they don’t have time to practice relaxation techniques. Well, your car won’t drive without gas and regular oil change. Similarly, your body won’t function at its best without being recharged through deep breathing and other techniques.

5. Eat healthy

Everyday stress can cause metabolic changes that, in the long run, contribute to obesity. At the same time, healthy eating habits can prevent you from experiencing stress. Research indicates that 41 per cent of obese people cite “not enough time” as the reason they eat poorly.

A survey by CDC found that almost 40 per cent of people who lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off successfully planned their weekly meals in advance. Also remember: don’t underestimate the importance of breakfast. Skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity. You need to consume antioxidants every day. They are nature’s way of fighting off potentially dangerous molecules in the body. Be sure to eat spinach and other greens as they can help you prevent cancer, heart-disease, stroke, and obesity.

6. Allow yourself eight hours of uninterrupted sleep

If you can’t find time to sleep for eight hours, take a power-nap during a day. This strategy is vital for reducing stress. When you go to bed, leave your cell phone outside of the bedroom or at least turn it off. Listen to some relaxing music. Light some candles. Think about something pleasant. If you live in a city, use earplugs to avoid being disturbed by loud noise. If you don’t have the ability to sleep for 8 hours a night, take 1-2 power-naps throughout the day. It will help you recharge your batteries and allow for new, fresh energy, creativity and positive mood.

7. Be grateful

Start a thanksgiving journal to improve your level of gratitude. I have one, so every day, before going to bed, I write five thanks to people for their acts of kindness or nice words of support. I don’t take those positive moments for granted and, in return, my thanksgiving journal provides a strong evidence that life is good, which fills me up with optimism, hope, and enthusiasm.

Practicing these strategies will help you become stronger physically and emotionally, stay hopeful even during challenging times, build meaningful relationships with your family, friends and colleagues, increase the quality of your life, and decrease the level of stress.

This article was written by: Anna Stevens

Photo Credit: Quentin Keller