Resiliency and Coping


“We cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.” – Viktor Frankl


“Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors.” – American Psychological Association


Complementary Practices Resources (updated Feb 14, 2023)

Complementary Practices and Activities

Grief Materials Clinic

Wellness Journal

Anxiety Management Tip Sheet

COVID At-Home Self Care and Resilience Resource Guide

​Parkinson's Foundation Mental Wellness Series


Some creatively describe resilience as the ability to bounce back, to remain flexible like a rubber band under stress or to bend like a tree branch in the midst of the storm.  Resilience is not a characteristic trait that some people have or do not have; rather, cultivating resilience is a learned ordinary process and something anyone can develop by adapting behaviors, thoughts, and actions. 

Others think of resilience as a “battery” which may be of a physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional source.  When our batteries are low or empty, we don’t have much energy or none at all to draw upon to manage feelings, problem solve, make clear decisions, and respond well in both challenging and every day experiences.  Just as we need daily nourishment of food for our bodies, it may be helpful to think of providing similar daily nourishment and renewal for other dimensions of our lives. 

Emotional stress is common in people who are experiencing chronic and serious illness.  Feelings of fear, anger, resentment, frustration, anxiety, grief, sadness, and guilt tend to deplete our energies.  Many of these same emotions and others may also run in the background of our thoughts without us being overtly aware of them, draining our body and mind sometimes affecting our heart rhythms by increasing stress, and further pressing us into debilitating emotional and physical states.   

Engaging in proven complimentary activities and alternative practices may help reduce stress, and boost our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energies.  When we are functioning with higher internal resources, when we can adapt various ways in which we spirituality-mentally-emotionally-physically “experience” our illness, we may better effectively regulate our emotions to avoid overreacting, improve the clarity of our thinking to problem solve, modify, and adapt our responses, enlarging our capacity to prepare, engage and recover after a challenging event. 


These resource booklets provide a brief overview of some alternative and complementary mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual practices/activities that may help people renew energies to reduce stress, increase resilience, and improve quality of life. Topics you’ll find in these booklets:


Mental & Spiritual Practices

  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
  • Prayer and Centering Prayer
  • Slow and Deep Breathing
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Biofeedback
  • Guided Imagery
  • Loving-kindness Meditation and Smiling Meditation
  • Chanting and Mantra Meditation
  • Aromatherapy
  • Fasting
  • Lectio Divina/Reading
  • Beholding
  • Medical Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy
  • Mental Games/Exercises

Creative Practices

  • Therapeutic Journaling, Letter Writing,
  • Gratitude Journal
  • Singing/Music
  • Music/Sound Therapy, Deep Listening, and Singing
  • Neurological Music Therapy
  • Contemplative Arts/Art Therapy

Service Activities

  • Volunteer
  • Simplicity
  • Pilgrimage, vigils, marches

Relational Practices

  • Counseling and Therapy
  • Compassionate Communication
  • Support Groups
  • Faith Groups
  • Storytelling/ Life review
  • Pet Therapy

Body Kinetic Practices/Activities

  • Exercise and Aquatic Therapy
  • Stretching and Movement Therapies
  • Tai Chi and Qigong
  • Acupuncture
  • Deep Yawning Meditation
  • Laughter Therapy
  • Dance
  • Walking Meditation
  • Therapeutic Massage
  • Reiki/Healing Touch
  • Equine/Hippotherapy
  • Float Pods/Cabins
  • Virtual Reality

Rituals/Ceremonial Practices

  • Establish a sacred/personal space
  • Retreats
  • Religious or cultural ceremonies and rituals​ ​  


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