LIFELINE is a voluntary, confidential, FREE, service that provides benefits eligible employees and their dependents with counseling and referral services. It is an employee benefit sponsored by HealthQuest, the State of Kansas employee health promotion program.
Creating Stress Resilience
We need a little stress to get our engines running and to keep life from being boring, yet too much of it takes a toll on our emotions and our bodies. But sometimes it may be the way we handle stress that counts and not the amount of stress we encounter.
Consider this - studies have found that while many kids who grow up under great adversity, such as poverty and violence, continue the same pattern as adults. But many also are able to rise above their conditions and actually thrive as adults. The same is true of people who experience serious natural disasters or other kinds of trauma. Some succumb to these horribly stressful situations and others seem to bounce back quicker, avoiding the emotional and physical effects of stress.
Where does this stress resilience come from? Researchers suggest that some of us may be more vulnerable to stress in the first place - we simply are more susceptible to being overwhelmed by stress. When exposed, especially to repeated stress, we crumble. It has also been proven that we can cultivate resilience, or the ability to rebound quicker, by developing some buffers against the negative impact of stress. These include internal strengths and external supports.
To Develop Your Internal Strengths
- Challenge yourself when you detect negative or "assuming-the-worst" types of thinking. This way of thinking begins early and becomes habitual. Begin to recognize how often your automatic negative thinking really doesn't come true. Use self-coaching to see the glass half full instead of half empty. Writing your thoughts down in a notebook or journal and reflecting back on them over time can be very helpful.
- Develop coping skills, such as problem solving and time management. The ability to break a problem down into smaller units makes it less overwhelming and helps you think more rationally about it. These coping skills can give you a greater sense of control in your life, a sense of hope that you can handle what comes your way.
- Let go of resentment or the feeling that you have been wronged. Life often seems cruel, yet those who let go of anger and move on, even under the most extreme challenges, tend to fare better emotionally and physically.
- Be sure you have outlets for a physical release from stress - learn relaxation or imagery techniques. Try yoga or walking to de-stress.
To Enhance External Supports
- Have someone you can trust and share concerns with. It may be in the form of a mentor at work, a family member or friend, or perhaps a counselor who can be a sounding board to your thoughts.
- If you have particular skills someone else could learn from, become a mentor yourself. Giving of your time and talents to others has a therapeutic effect. A sense of purpose and meaning, either through your work or in activities outside of employment, seems to be important for developing resiliency.
- Renew or create bonds with others in your life. Spending lots of time alone may encourage too much self-reflection and inner focus. Getting outside of yourself by being around other people gives you a sense of connectedness.
- Associate as much as possible with people who exhibit a positive attitude and who respond affirmatively rather than negatively to people and life events.
Stress reactions that never seem to let up can contribute to deeper emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, as well as physical ailments, such as digestive problems, back and joint pain, or headaches. Counseling and stress management programs can be effective supports for learning ways of thinking and reacting when under stress. If you are more vulnerable to stress reactions, developing these inner strengths and external supports may mean the difference between health and illness for you.
If you sense yourself becoming more bothered by stress, consider a call to the LIFELINE Program or enrolling in a LIFELINE Stress Management Coaching program. Visit www.LifelineEAP.com to sign up.
Summary of CORE LIFELINE Employee Assistance Services
Call LIFELINE 1-800-284-7575 at any time, day or night 7 days a week for help handling life's stresses. State of Kansas benefits eligible employees and their dependent children can receive the following benefits:
1-4 face-to-face sessions (per issue) with an EAP counseling service for a wide variety of problems:
- Day-to-day stresses
- Depression and anxiety
- Major life traumas
- Problems with co-workers or supervisor
- Stress due to layoffs or furloughs
- Marital and family issues
- Drug and alcohol issues
The following services are also available:
- Elder care consultations with an elder care specialist
- Legal consultation with an attorney - one per year
- Financial consultations with a professional
- Extended benefit for employees and immediate family members for 6 months after any layoff action.
- Healthy Life Programs
- Life Coaching (employee only)
- Healthy Weight Program (employee and dependents)
Take advantage of this valuable employee benefit. For help with the day-to-day stressors of life, simply call LIFELINE at 1-800-284-7575 any time, day or night 7 days a week. That's all you need to do. Just pick up the phone. Your call with be completely confidential.