Mental Health: Resilience During Times of Stress

Resilience refers to one’s ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, stress and/or significant problems, and “bounce back” from them. Resiliency is so important right now as we face a global pandemic, confront systematic racism and oppression, and still must deal with all the stresses that come with being a person. How we cope with these difficulties and stressors can have a profound effect on our long- and short-term physiological outcomes.

Characteristics of Resilience

There are two important things to remember as we talk about resilience: 1) Being resilient does not mean you will experience less stress or fewer difficulties, but that you have the capability to control how you react to them. 2) Resilience is not fixed; it is fluid, changing with time and the situation at hand and needs to be supported and built up – but it is entirely possible to do so. Here are some characteristics associated with resilience:

  • Managing emotions
  • Having a positive attitude and optimism
  • Having healthy relationships and a reliable support network
  • Maintaining personal wellness
  • Keeping goals and aspirations in mind

Cultivating Resilience

As resilience is something that is not fixed, it needs to be supported and maintained. So, here are some ways to build or support your resilience:

  • Manage your emotions – Identify situations that are stressful or difficult for you to handle and how you are affected by those situations. Pay attention to your reactions and make an effort to modify them if they are unhealthy/unproductive.
  • Practice constructive coping – This can include sticking with a schedule, limiting social media use, getting enough sleep, and/or talking through your feelings with a counselor.
  • Examine your thought patterns – Pay attention to the thoughts that automatically come up, as they can influence your emotions. If some thoughts are counterproductive, challenge them in order to develop a more adaptive thought pattern.
  • Build a support network – Strengthen the quality of existing relationships and/or form new ones. Reach out when you need help or emotional support.
  • Take care of yourself – In times of stress, it can be easy to neglect our bodies. Taking time to eat nutritious foods, get active and give your body rest can help lower stress levels.

Supporting mental health is an important part of staying healthy and strong during COVID-19. For more information on resilience and Student Counseling Services, click here. There is also a variety of articles on resilience and healthy coping methods to help with the novel stress of the global pandemic.

What to do if you or someone else is sick or fears exposure:

Any member of the Stetson community who has been to campus in the last 14 days and feels they may have come into direct contact with the virus causing COVID-19 or is experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever over 100.3, cough, shortness of breath, possible nausea/diarrhea, possible loss of taste/smell) should alert Stetson immediately. Fill out this online form: Stetson University: COVID-19 Report a Concern Form. During business hours, call Health Service (386-822-8150). After business hours, call Public Safety (386-822-7300). If you are concerned about someone else’s exposure, also let us know — don’t just tell them to do so. This applies to our College of Law students, faculty and staff.