Stress blog

Coping with stress — What role models teach us

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. December 1, 2009

At a recent neighborhood event, a woman shared with us some of the challenges she's facing. Her husband is in the military and in a combat zone. At the same time, her teenage daughter is struggling with a chronic illness. One of our neighbors made the comment, "It's a miracle that we all don't wind up in a psychiatric hospital."

It made me think for a moment about the incredible heroism, resilience and tenacity demonstrated each week in the comments posted on this blog. Stories of post-traumatic stress disorders, chronic medical illnesses and painful relationships. How is it that most of us continue to move forward and somehow survive despite life's unfairness?

At the gathering, we talked about our role models — and the characteristics that enable them to survive and even thrive. We identified some common themes:

  • Connectedness. Having family and friends to reach out to when times are tough.
  • Faith. A belief in a power or energy over and above ourselves.
  • Balance. Knowing that we can't help others if we neglect ourselves.
  • Focus. The ability to focus on a goal and eliminate distractions.

We are hardy and we are resilient. And with help from family and friends — and with faith — we can survive and go the distance.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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Dec. 01, 2009