In our experience many stress management courses, materials, and training experiences fall short because they don't do nearly enough to encourage people to consider that they themselves have a repertoire of stress management and coping skills available to them -- many of which are well-developed, and which they've already used to their benefit.

It may be an overstatement, but we would like you to consider the following:

Regardless of whether you have ever considered this, if you didn't have at least some coping skills, you might be dead already..
Think about it. The world out there is a pretty stressful place. No one in our experience copes perfectly, but everyone is capable of coping more effectively.

With all this in mind, we want you to do some initial exploration of the kinds of stress skills that (1) you already utilize and (2) you could add to your repertoire. But first, we would like to provide you with four principles to guide your stress skill development.
Sustainers Principles
  1. All four of the categories of sustainers are available to you .
  2. One or more of the categories will be "primary" for you, but it is important to develop a diverse repertoire of stress coping skills, drawing on all four of the major categories.

  3. You should not operate with the FALLACIOUS assumption that all you need is one and only one kind of stress skill to take care of every conceivable stressful situation that you may encounter in your life. It simply doesn't work. Think about it.

  4. It may be just as important to pay attention to the areas of stress skills which are not well developed in your life as it is to what you already have well in place for yourself. In other words, it may be as helpful to consider your G...A...P...S as to consider your strengths.


Do you take good care of your body, whether by means of regular exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep, structured relaxation, good health habits, etc.?

Do you think about issues you face in ways which are more likely to help you cope? Are you able to approach challenging situations with a capacity to look at them from different points of view so as to decide on the best course of action? Are you able to adopt an even-handed perspective on events rather than think of them as threats? Do you have a sense of humor about the quirky nature of everyday living?

Do you consider yourself a pretty organized person? Are you a good time manager? When faced with lots of details, do you typically do a pretty good job of having an organized plan to deal with them effectively? Are you pretty clear about your personal and professional goals?

Do you have people in your work life and professional life to whom you can turn for support, and from whom you can get a better perspective on your situation? In general, do you tend to talk things out with someone you trust rather than assume that you need to handle things on your own?