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Responding to Stress

With a stress score number of 318 on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory there is an 80% chance of a negative health outcome. Recognizing the stressors in life include self-reflective and professional guidance. Adjusting to challenges can come from a well-adapted or a maladaptive response. Understanding of self may help to reduce the effects of stress on your health.

Recognition of stressors

Stressors are part of life. The impact of stress can be both positive and negative on a person’s mental health and wellness. One way to address stress management is to utilize professional coaching. Coaching that uses a mediator approach for coping enhances self-directed problem solving. Mediating a person to recognize their personal resources, setting goals and reflection of previous experiences and adverse childhood experiences (Ebner et al., 2018) can strengthen the life skills of the individual. Additionally, addressing quality of life factors and understanding one’s self gives a person the ability to recognize and admit stress in their life (Kiffer & McKee, 2007).

Utilizing tools like the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory (Marksberry, n.d) are part of recognizing what stress is, where it comes from and how it impacts our health. No two people fit into a checklist or respond in the exact same way. Stress is intricate and individual. From a more simple approach, recognizing stresses can include journaling and reflecting on emotions, listening to what your body is telling you and changing bad habits that hinder health. Guidance that promotes individual growth, reflection and goals has provided positive recognition and responses to external stressors. The environment can impact our health and well-being. If the environment is a negative stressor, a person may seek resources to change their environment if possible. Recognizing the areas such as life satisfaction, wellness and work-life balance can enlighten an individual to their stress capacity and help personal reflection on recognizing what stressors are positive and what are negative (Kiffer & McKee, 2007).

Adjustments to challenges

Adjusting to challenges or coping, can come from a negative or a positive response strategy. Identifying personal resources such as a church group, counselor or confidant can be a start. Creating a goal directed solution approach to addressing certain stressors like financial or health goals can be positive adaptations. Other adjustments include introspective techniques like meditation and spiritual guidance. Personal challenges can manifest from external and internal stressors. These challenges may include a divorce, weight gain or cancer. Some challenges cannot be avoided, but how we respond is something we can work to control. Positive adaptations may include physical fitness which increases endorphins, journaling can support personal reflection, or intentional time management that includes self-care. Some adjustments may require professional support from a therapist, coach or counselor. Behavioral therapy, guided mediation or biofeedback can support constructive stress management skills.

Maladaptive responses would include avoiding stress all together and an emotional or physical withdrawal from normal activities (Ebner et al., 2018). Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) can impact health as an adult. With higher ACE scores, research has shown negative health impacts. Anxiety and depression can be outcomes of inability to adjust to different stressors or too many stressors. Learning to adapt in a healthy way with guidance from a professional counselor or coach can mitigate negative health effects.

A Personal Reflection

As an individual with a score of 318 on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory (Marksberry, n.d) the implementation of positive, adaptive responses to challenges has been a goal. Participating in yoga classes twice a week, bible study groups and journaling have been techniques that help reduce an anxiety response. In the more acute response to stress, the practice I choose is deep breathing and prayer. This roots my thoughts on God and internalizes my intention to calm my body.

In the high demand and busy work as a nurse, I make sure to close out each day by stopping tasks 15 minutes before leaving, make a small note on what to finish and tidy my work space. This enables me to walk into a less chaotic environment the next morning and prepare to change my mindset to home. The most impactful intervention of recognizing stressors and adapting to challenges has come for intentional self-reflection and self-awareness and quality mentors that speak truth in love and grace.



Ebner, K., Schulte, E.-M., Soucek, R., & Kauffeld, S. (2018). Coaching as stress-management intervention: The mediating role of self-efficacy in a framework of self-management and coping. International Journal of Stress Management, 25(3), 209–233.

Kiffer, J. F., & McKee, M. G. (2007). Executive health coaching consultation to reduce stress and enhance life satisfaction. Biofeedback, 35(3), 101-104. Retrieved from (Last Name, Article Title, Year)=a9h&AN=27623166&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Marksberry, K. (n.d.). Holmes- rahe stress inventory. Retrieved from

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