Sources of Strength: Help for Stress and Crises

Last Updated: 1/4/2019 9:02 PM

Sources of Strength: Help for Stress and Crises

Stress usually comes from worry about hard tasks, upsetting events, or having too much to do and not enough time. Stress uses up our body’s energy quickly and we need ways to refuel ourselves. If stress continues without breaks to refuel, then our body, mind, and feelings wear down leading to more problems, illness, and even crisis.
The key to knowing you or someone else is in crisis is when you notice drastic changes. You or they are doing things out of character. This negative change lasts longer than a day or two. In a crisis, the things you did to solve problems in the past might not work this time. Someone in crisis will think, act, or speak differently than their usual self. Some things people do to cope make the problem worse: drugs, alcohol, violence, etc. A person in crisis suddenly getting happier without explanation is also a cause for concern. To deal with a crisis you need to get stronger. You can get stronger by turning to SOS, your Sources of Strength:


Look at each area in the picture and think about your strengths in that area. If you can’t think of any strengths in that area, think about ways you could make that area stronger. These are the 8 SOS areas:
Family Support: Examples include mother, father, step-parent, guardian, sibling, grandparent, cousin, aunt, uncle

Positive Friends: People around you that help you feel better and deal with your problems in a healthy way instead of being negative or influencing you to do things that add to your problems.

Mentors: Examples include teacher, coach, music/dance instructor, youth leader, older peer, scout leader, trainer

Healthy Activities: Eating and drinking enough good things each day, daily physical activity, watching/listening to uplifting entertainment, and getting enough sleep each night. Examples include:
1) Play a game of your favorite sport for fun without keeping score or competing 
2) Play an instrument: piano, drums, guitar, violin, or any instrument 
3) Throw ice cubes against a hard surface that will not get damaged (e.g., sidewalk or brick wall), imagine the problem trapped in the ice, watch it smash and melt away
4) Exercise: run, walk, jog, go biking, do aerobics, do yoga, lift weights, go to the gym, dance
5) Develop a daily stretching routine to loosen your muscles and release trapped tension

Generosity: Do something nice for someone else, be kind, stand up for someone else. When you focus on others and help them with their problems, you feel better and forget your problems for a while.

Spirituality: Harmony inside yourself and between you and the world. What brings you inner peace and calm? You might attend a church or you may do things at home or outdoors that bring you peace. Examples include:
1) Sit in a comfortable chair or lie on your bed; close your eyes; breath slowly in and out listening to the sound
2) Think of your favorite place to be: focus on all of the colors, sounds, smells, and sights
3) Write what you are mad, sad, or unhappy about and tear up the note - throw it away
4) Take a 15 min. break, don’t think about the problem, only think about what is good & going right in your life
5) Listen to relaxing music or sounds, such as waves, rain, wind, forest 

Medical Access: Sometimes problems come from injury or illness. Be sure to contact your doctor if you can’t figure out the source or solution to a problem impacting your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Mental Health: Problems often result in feelings like anger, fear, or sadness. When you are in a crisis these feelings can overwhelm you. Counselors can help you deal with these feelings and improve your mental health.
If the crisis causes suicidal or violent thoughts/statements, take it seriously, get a trusted responsible adult involved.
Additional resources for a crisis, violence, or suicidal thoughts and/or statements:
1) Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255); 1-888-628-9454 (en espanol) or go to and chat online.
2) Call 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
3) Crisis Text Line; Text: START to 741-741; you can text with a counselor 24/7, everyday anytime and it’s free.
4) Call 911 or 852-1234