Thursday, December 9, 2010

Managing Stress and Resilience

The American Psychological Association has developed a number of tips for
Managing Stress for a Healthy Family. This tip sheet was developed in response to the results of the Stress in America Survey that the APA recently conducted.
Results from the survey found that 73% of parents report family responsibilities as a significant source of stress. The connection between high stress levels and health is alarming, with 34% of obese parents experiencing high levels of stress as compared to 23% of normal weight parents. The Association believes that it is important to consider the way a parent’s stress and corresponding unhealthy behaviors affect the family. Children clearly model their parents’ behavior, including those related to managing stress. So here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. As a parent, evaluate your lifestyle. Your children are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle if you model this for them through your behavior.
2. Talk to your children if they appear to be worried or stressed. Try to have regular conversations with them. Talking with children and promoting open communication can be just as important as diet and exercise and sleep.
3. Try to create a healthy environment at home. Try to create in your home a clear, clean and uncluttered space so both you and your children can relax.
4. Focus on yourself and take care of yourself. If you are overwhelmed, try not to overeat or choose fast food and chocolate as the best alternative for managing your stress.
5. Be patient and take your time. Change both for adults and children is difficult. Try to change one habit at a time. Be realistic and try not to create changes you will not be able to maintain or you do not have the time or the energy or the motivation to continue.

For more information and a copy of the tip sheet, go to

Ron Breazeale, Ph.D.
Author, Duct Tape Isn’t Enough

2010 - Stress in America Survey: Key Findings

On November 9th, the American Psychological Association released the findings from their Stress in America Survey. The results are in many ways similar to the results of a year ago. Americans are clearly continuing to feel the effects of prolonged financial and other recession-related problems. Americans recognize that their stress levels remain high and exceed what they consider to be healthy. Adults, in particular, understand the importance of healthy behaviors but simply feel that they do not have the time to practice these behaviors and they often lack the motivation and energy to do so.
There are a couple of interesting differences in the results this year. Fewer adults report being satisfied with the way that their employer helps employees balance work and non-work demands and in general there is a great deal of concern about job stability.
Another interesting result is that stress seems to be taking a physical health toll on children. This has to do specifically with weight. Children and adults alike who are obese or overweight are more likely to feel stress, and overweight children are more likely to report that their parents were often or always stressed over the past month. Children who are overweight are more likely to report they worry a lot or a great deal about things in their lives than children who are normal weight. Overweight kids also are more significantly likely than normal weight children to report that they worry about the way they look and their weight. While the majority of parents don’t think their children are strongly affected by their stress, children clearly report otherwise.
For more information about the results of the APA survey, go to

Ron Breazeale, Ph.D.
Author, Duct Tape Isn’t Enough

Photo by Andrew Quilty