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Believing You Can Cope — September 2019

Believing You Can Cope — September 2019


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Is Half the Battle When Facing Life’s Challenges

In the children’s story, The Little Engine that Could, the little engine agrees to pull a long, broken-down train over a high mountain after larger, more powerful engines refuse. “I think I can, I think I can,” said the little engine. And when it’s successfully coming down the other side, he said, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”

That’s resilience: believing you will be able to cope in the face of barriers, limited resources, trauma, tragedy and other major stressors (family and relationship problems, serious medical concerns, work challenges, etc.). Being resilient means “bouncing back” from life’s difficulties — and becoming stronger in the process.

Psychologist Emmy Werner conducted a 32-year study of 698 children in Hawaii from before birth and into their 30s. She monitored them for stressors (while in the womb, family breakups, poverty, and other hardships). One-third of the children were considered “at-risk” while the rest came from stable families. Of the at-risk children, one-third of them grew into resilient young adults. She found three characteristics that set the resilient children apart from those less resourceful. First, they might have had a strong bond with a parent, teacher or other caregiver/mentor who supported them through good, and hard, times. Next were kids who were independent, sought out new experiences and had a positive outlook on life. Lastly, resilient kids were ones who believed that they (not their circumstances) influenced their fate.

Werner also found that some people who weren’t particularly resilient as children were able to learn the skills of resilience and overcome significant setbacks later in life. That means, for those of us who are not naturally resilient, it is possible to develop resilience.

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to identify and manage emotions is key to building resilience. Emotional intelligence involves:

  • Recognizing your feelings while they are happening.
  • Controlling your feelings so that what you express is appropriate to the situation. Cultivating skills such as maintaining perspective, being able to calm yourself, and shaking off irritation, anxiety or sadness. This can help you avoid the pitfalls that strong emotions can push you towards.
  • Staying focused on your goals despite the emotions you feel.
  • Return to your feelings later to acknowledge what triggered them. Ask other’s opinions and consider if the situation needs further attention or if it should be learned from and forgotten.

Building Resilience

Why build resilience? Resilient people are likely to meet personal life expectations and work demands on a regular basis. They take action to deal with setbacks and ask for help when they need it. Resilient people know when they need rest and time to restore. With strong relationships with family, friends and colleagues, they set goals and work towards them with a sense of purpose.

Being resilient doesn’t mean you won’t feel pain, distress or sadness through difficult periods. But you will use skills, behaviors and thoughts to help you to survive, and even thrive.

Here are some recommendations from the American Psychological Association for building resilience.

  • Maintain connections with family and friends. Become active in community associations, faith-based organizations and other groups that interest you and offer social support. Both accepting help from people who care about you and assisting others in their time of need, can help give you hope and build resilience.
  • Nurture a positive self-image. Believe that you can overcome a challenge, like the little engine, even if you don’t yet know how. A positive attitude about your ability to solve problems can stimulate creative thinking.
  • Try on the optimist hat! Expect that good things will happen, and that you will be able to manage problems that come up. Visualize what you want instead of worrying about what could go wrong.
  • Reboot your view of crises. Try to see difficulties as problems to sort through, rather than impossible obstacles. We can’t control the fact that change is a part of life and stressful events will continue to happen. It may be necessary to set new goals and accept a new normal. During challenging times, try to find the positive. Focus on the things you can change and give less energy to what you can’t.
  • Set realistic goals and try to do something, even small tasks, every day that moves you closer to achieving your goals. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
  • Address problems head on, rather than ignoring situations in hopes they go away. Resolving conflict has a way of reducing stress. Be proactive and decisive, but with your emotions in check. For example, if a friend or co-worker says something that irks you, you may be tempted to blurt out an angry response. Instead, use the resilient method of noticing the emotion, controlling it, and respectfully disagreeing with the person. After the heat of the situation, find a safe outlet to express your feelings. Talk to a friend or other trusted person and decide if the comment needs to be re-addressed in a calm, constructive manner.  
  • Maintain perspective. When problems are looming, keep the big picture in mind. Avoid blowing problems out of proportion. Look for things to learn and find the good side of a bad situation.
  • When you’ve come through a stressful event, ask yourself what you learned. Did you discover you had more reserves than you thought, build closer relationships or learn a new skill? Did you come through stronger? Remember these milestones when the next difficult situation occurs.

Good for Health!

The positive outlook associated with becoming and being resilient is good for your health. Research has consistently shown that positive emotions like happiness, contentment and joy are linked to stronger immune systems. Our immune system is what helps us resist infections and fight disease. Check out the KnovaSolutions newsletter, The Path to Emotional Wellness.

See our other newsletters that highlight ways to find balance through good nutrition, exercise and problem-solving:

Food for Thought. Healthy Food and Other Ways to Feed Your Brain

Work-Life Integration. A 21st Century Take on Work-Life Balance

That All Sounds Great, But…

If you are right in the middle of one of life’s rough spots, but haven’t started working on building resilience, this is a good time to ask for help. Who in your support network do you feel comfortable reaching out to? Sister, son, spouse, friend or religious person? Does your employer offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? Have you called your KnovaSolutions clinician? Use your support system to help you think through possible solutions and actions to take.

How can KnovaSolutions help? If you are struggling with stressful situations, we can offer an empathetic ear, provide information and support, and refer you to resources. Sometimes just talking to an impartial person can clear away the cobwebs and make it easier to take the next steps. Whatever your stressors are, let KnovaSolutions lend a helping hand. We’ll help you on your way to a more resilient way of life. Call us at 800/355-0885, Monday to Friday, 8 am-8 pm, MT.

Click here to view/download the full newsletter. We encourage you to leave a comment or question below and a KnovaSolutions nurse or pharmacist will reply.

The information contained in this newsletter is for general, educational purposes. It should not be considered a replacement for consultation with your healthcare provider.  If you have concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider.


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Turning Food Into Energy — August 2019

Turning Food Into Energy — August 2019


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Keeping Your Digestive System Healthy

Do you ever wonder how the blueberries or chicken you eat get broken down into fuel for the body? The digestive system is made up of organs that each have different roles in processing proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and liquids. Each organ works to break food into smaller parts and move nutrients to where they can be absorbed. Spoiler: the next section describes the digestion process; skip if you don’t want the details!

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Work-Life Integration — July 2019

Work-Life Integration — July 2019


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A 21st Century Take on Work-Life Balance

The concept of work-life balance was introduced in the 1970’s as baby boomers struggled to balance their careers, families, friends and hobbies with staying healthy. The idea is to ‘balance’ your work with your private life. Work-life balance means focusing on your job when at work and making time outside of work to enjoy family and friends, as well as engage in other activities you enjoy.

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Medication Benefits and Risks — June 2019

Medication Benefits and Risks — June 2019


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Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

Taking medicine is part of a daily routine for many people. Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC)medications treat disease and improve health in many ways. Lowering cholesterol, fighting infection, controlling blood sugar levels, reducing pain—these are just some of the helpful effects. Along with the benefits of feeling better and getting well, medicines also pose the risk of unwanted side effects or unexpected adverse events.

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Food for Thought — May 2019

Food for Thought — May 2019


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Healthy Food and Other Ways to Feed Your Brain

Our brains never rest. They hold down a highly specialized 24/7 job. As one of our largest and most complex organs, the brain contains more than 100 billion nerves that communicate through synapses, or connections, to control thinking, breathing, memory, sleep, hearing, digestion, feelings, heart rate, and so much more. Think of your brain as your body’s command center; it controls everything! Weighing just 3 pounds, the brain has a hefty job.

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Is Breaking News Breaking You? — February 2019

Is Breaking News Breaking You? — February 2019


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How to Stay Informed while Minimizing Stress

Almost two-thirds of all Americans say that the daily news causes them stress, according to an American Psychological Association (APA) survey. Feeling anxious, depressed, hopeless, irritable and worn out are some of the symptoms of “headline stress disorder,” a phrase coined by psychologist Steven Stosny.

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Managing Your Weight — January 2019

Managing Your Weight — January 2019


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For a Healthy Body and Mind

Carrying excess weight takes a toll on every part of the body. It affects walking, breathing, sleeping and mood, and can have a negative impact on quality of life. Being overweight can also increase the risk of developing serious medical conditions. The risk might rise from the stress the heart and joints suffer from carrying extra pounds. Or it may be due to complex changes in hormones and metabolism (how the body uses calories and fat).

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Over-the-Counter Medications — December 2018

Over-the-Counter Medications — December 2018

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Taking These (and Supplements) Safely

Over-the-counter medications (OTC) are easy to find at the store. They offer relief from common health problems like stuffy noses, seasonal allergies and achy muscles. They also can help prevent problems like constipation and nausea. You may feel empowered to solve a health issue without having to see your primary care provider for advice or a prescription.
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Complementing Your Medical Care — October 2018

Complementing Your Medical Care — October 2018

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With Approaches That Benefit Your Health

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 30 percent of adults use healthcare approaches developed outside of mainstream western medicine. These approaches are called complementary and alternative —terms that are often used interchangeably. However, it is important to note that they are different.

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Calcium and Vitamin D — September 2018

Calcium and Vitamin D — September 2018

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Essential Nutrients that Work Hand-in-Hand

No matter our age, our bodies need calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as other important functions. However, without enough vitamin D, calcium can’t be absorbed by the body. What happens then? The body draws from calcium stored in the bones, which weakens them and can lead to osteoporosis, a condition where bones become fragile, brittle and prone to breaks. Maintaining calcium and vitamin D levels in a healthy range over your lifetime can help prevent the risks of weak bones, teeth and other potential issues.

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Common Medical Conditions — August 2018

Common Medical Conditions — August 2018

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Can They Be Prevented or Reversed?

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. One in two adults has a chronic disease and one in four has two or more, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

When it comes to our health, there are things we can’t control and those that we can try to influence. We can’t change our genetic makeup, gender, race or age—some of the factors that can make us more likely to develop a chronic medical condition. However, many health conditions are caused by lifestyle factors that we do have some ability to manage—our diet, exercise, stress management, weight and smoking habits.

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Ah, Summertime! — July 2018

Ah, Summertime! — July 2018

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How to Enjoy It While Staying Safe

Picnics, roasting marshmallows, swimming, camping, fishing—you name it—these are the treasures of summer. With longer days and schools closed, summer often means vacation time. But even if your summer doesn’t include a vacation, you’ve likely shed some layers and are spending more time outdoors. Being outside is a great way to reboot and revive the mind. To make the most of this more relaxed season, remember to take a few precautions to keep you and your family safe.

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Working Smart — June 2018

Working Smart — June 2018

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Finding Your Way to Workplace Wellness

Fulltime workers spend, on average, more than one-third of their day, five days per week at their place of work. We rely heavily on the fruits of our labor: skills, confidence, camaraderie, and most importantly, an income. Since our work life is so important to our livelihood, it makes sense to work smart. Workplace health and wellness includes activities and policies designed to promote the well-being of employees, support health behavior in the workplace, and decrease the risks of injuries. Employees can experience greater job satisfaction by making some key adjustments in the workplace.

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The Path to Emotional Wellness — May 2018

The Path to Emotional Wellness — May 2018

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How to Improve Your Resiliency

Your mental health and wellness affects practically every aspect of your life—how you think, feel and act at home and work, with family, friends, colleagues and the general public. People who are emotionally healthy tend to go about their day with a sense of purpose. They engage in enjoyable activities and balance them with their work and family life. They have fulfilling relationships and have a positive outlook.

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Why It’s Important to Have a PCP — April 2018

Why It’s Important to Have a PCP — April 2018

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And What to Do When Your PCP Isn’t Available

Your primary care provider (PCP) is that professional you see every year or so for preventive screening or more often if you are managing ongoing health concerns. S/he’s also the one you call when you get sick or develop concerning new symptoms. But, what if your PCP isn’t available? Your options depend upon the circumstances.

Wait, Back Up!

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Is Personalized Medicine for You? — January 2018

Is Personalized Medicine for You? — January 2018

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Evolving Field of Medicine Offers Promise

Healthcare providers have always sought to individualize care for their patients. But now, advances in medical research allow providers to study a person’s genes, offering another tool to guide decisions about preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. Personalized medicine, also called precision or individualized medicine, is an evolving field where providers use genetic testing to understand how a person’s disease risks are unique. Used alongside information about family history, symptoms and environmental factors, genetic testing can help providers prevent illness and/or determine which treatments will work best.

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How Walking Can Extend Life — December 2017

How Walking Can Extend Life — December 2017

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Even Minimal Walking Offers Health Benefits

You don’t have to run or bike intensively to get the health advantages of regular exercise. A new study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) showed that 120 minutes or less of moderate-intensity walking each week can add longevity to your life. 120 minutes? That’s less than 18 minutes a day!

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Confusing Cancer Terminology — November 2017

Confusing Cancer Terminology — November 2017

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Making Sense During Difficult Times

Almost 13 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer every year. People may experience unexplained pain, weight loss, fatigue and other symptoms followed by screening tests, imaging, and maybe biopsies before getting the dreaded diagnosis. Learning that you or a loved one has cancer is overwhelming and stressful.

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It’s Not Just Flu Shot Season — October 2017

It’s Not Just Flu Shot Season — October 2017

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Time to Review Your Vaccination Status

Vaccines are among the most cost-effective prevention services around. They do more than protect you from getting preventable diseases; they also reduce the spread of disease. If you’ve been vaccinated for an infectious disease (measles, chickenpox, hepatitis, influenza, etc.), you greatly reduce the risk of getting that disease and the chance of spreading it to others who are not immune.

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