Stress and Resiliency

Lt. Col. Laura K. Jones, 9th Medical Operations Squadron commander.

Lt. Col. Laura K. Jones, 9th Medical Operations Squadron commander.

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California -- Do you know anyone who isn't at times feeling stressed these days? It's not uncommon to juggle multiple responsibilities, work, home life, deployments, but stress is not always a bad thing. Stress is simply the body's response to changes that create challenging demands. The pace of our everyday lives makes stress management an essential life skill. The key to building resiliency and reducing stress is learning to identify problems and implement solutions.

The first step towards effective stress relief is to make stress management an ongoing goal and then identify your stress triggers. When or under what situations do you experience the most stress? Some causes of stress are easy to recognize, such as job pressures, relationship problems or financial difficulties. But the daily grind of commuting, arranging child care or being overcommitted at work, can also contribute to your stress level.

Keep in mind, positive events also can be stressful. If you got married, PCS'd and bought a new house all in the same year, you could have a high stress level!  Once your stress triggers have been identified, the next step is to develop strategies to manage them effectively.  Identifying what aspect of the situation you can control is a good starting point.

It's important to remember that you don't have to figure it all out on your own. Reach out for support from family and friends; ask them what stress-relief techniques have worked well for them. Seek out resources in the local community and on base, such as the AFRC or discuss your concerns with your PCM or contact Mental Health.

Research has shown benefits from daily practice of stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing or yoga.  Additionally, try to maintain a healthy lifestyle to manage stress, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  A healthy lifestyle can help you better handle periods of high stress.

Stress won't disappear from your life and stress management isn't an overnight cure. But by adding some stress-reduction techniques you can incorporate resiliency into your lifestyle and can boost your capacity to cope with life's challenges.