Stress Resilience 1-0-1: What is Stress Resilience

May 25, 2023

Stress resilience. What is it? First, let’s start by defining what it is not. Stress resilience is not you becoming a superhero that no longer becomes stressed out. Stress is a natural part of our body’s response system. It’s actually quite vital that we have it. How else would our bodies help us run from bears, or, ahem, emails? 

Stress can also be good for us. In the right amounts, it can push us to go that extra mile. This is something called eustress. Eustress is a really great space to occupy, because it encourages us, fosters self-belief and often helps us to build confidence. It’s a sweet spot for progress if you like, where you’re stretching yourself just enough.

But, this scale can easily be tipped into something you may be more familiar with, distress. Distress is the body’s response to situations that have become, well, distressing. It may be that you’re doing one thing too many or feeling a sense of dread when you know a relative is coming to stay. The truth is, even though it feels pretty awful, distress is important too. It helps us understand when we’re pushing ourselves too far, or taking on too much.

So, the good news is that eustress and distress are completely natural and normal parts of life. The bad news is that too much of either can affect your health. This is because the brain can’t tell the difference between the two, which means overexposure to either can leave you burnt out. 

This is where stress resilience comes into play. 

Stress Resilience vs Stress Management

We like to think of stress resilience as a shield. It protects us from feeling the full brunt of stressful moments (good or bad) and helps us to process them in a way that minimizes the negative effects on our body and mind. It doesn’t seek to eradicate stress from our lives, because we need it. Instead, it helps us to process it in a way that feels less overwhelming. 

Stress management is a collection of techniques and tools to reduce stress altogether for the here and now. 

The difference between the two is that one (stress resilience) helps you to handle the stress you have, and become more resilient to what may come and asks you to reprioritise, whereas the other (stress management) is a tool to manage stressors in our lives happening right now. 

Essentially, stress resilience is about building our shield to defend against stress, and stress management is ensuring our shield is maintained in the best possible condition. Stress resilience is something we have and build upon over time, stress management is a set of actions we can take to reduce stress in the moment.

Three things that improve stress resilience

It may come as no surprise that Stitch helps you to build stress resilience through daily habits. Practice makes perfect, after all. Though, we should point out that there is no such thing as perfect. Your best is always good enough. So, let's explain a bit more about how these three things help you cultivate stress resilience.

Intention setting

Intention setting helps you play out a situation before it happens and asks you to decide how you would like to approach or handle it. It focuses you on the stressful event and the desired outcome, by helping you to think about the behavior or action you’d like to take.

This is a form of visualization, which is proven to help you reach your goals more effectively. They help hold you accountable, too. But, where stress is concerned, it is diffused by the feeling of being prepared and ready. You’ve got a rough plan to guide you through tricky moments.


Reflection might feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve had a bad day in spite of your best efforts. But, reflection doesn’t need to be. It can be as simple as accepting a rubbish outcome and feeling neutral about a situation. Reflection can also encourage you to find new ways to overcome obstacles, like stress, by giving you the space to process your emotions without being caught up in the moment. 

Practicing reflection daily can help you to learn from your experiences with stress, and help you map out a path that is better for you and your circumstances.

Gut health

Did you know that you have two brains? Wild, right? Well, we’re sure you’re all too familiar with the one in your noggin, so maybe it’s time to pay attention to the one in your gut.

If you’ve ever had a ‘gut feeling’ about something, then you’ll know that your gut-brain can shout loudly if something doesn’t feel right. But, did you know that the gut-brain and the head-brain are connected? This is something called the gut-brain axis and it helps us understand and react to our environment. 

Stress, or prolonged exposure to stress, slows down our digestive system, and in some cases speeds it up. This dysregulates our stress responses and means that we can feel unwell as a result of stress. A daily probiotic, like our Stitch probiotic, can help you to maintain good gut health and help you stay resilient towards stress.