In today’s increasingly busy world, we are under pressure to perform, to handle more, to always be at our best. Simply put, life is stressful and commonly full of personal and occupational challenges that can affect mental health and well-being. However, it is equally important to recognize that life without activity, without stress, is not in fact living. Stress is a necessary component for biological rhythms and important to attain a life that is productive and rich in psychosocial experience (Selye, 1981). A life without stress is not really alive.
Nearly half of North American employees struggle with a variety of aspects of stress from work, family and social demands, physical illness, poor sleep, lack of physical activity, and low mood.
Resilience is typically defined clinically as the process of adapting well to adversity, trauma, challenges, or other significant sources of stress in one’s life (www.apa.org). Stress comes in many forms, from relationship problems to intense physical exercise, to health issues, poor sleep, workplace demands, or financial stressors. Resilience involves overcoming (i.e. “bouncing back” from) these difficult experiences and is generally accompanied by profound personal growth or performance improvement . To sustain such growth and development, stress must be matched with recovery. Thus, there is a need for individuals to understand their level of stress and to actively seek elements of recovery in order for there to be a healthy balance.
Stress and recovery need to exist in a balance where depleted resources during stressful episodes or events are adequately restored in recovery phases. This equilibrium or balance enables the realization of the full functional physical, psychological, and social potential of the individual.