We’ve all been there in one way or another – you’re already stressed and overworked, and yet, your boss chooses this moment to lay into you about a minor mistake. In an ideal world, you could take some days off and spend them at a spa, but here, in reality, you have to get up the next day and get back to it.
What is it that makes some people able to brush stress off while others feel suffocated by it? It comes down to a simple concept of resilience, or handling and reacting to stress in an adaptive way, as opposed to letting it consume you and stymie your life. Resilience is something that you can learn which means everyone is capable of improving their responses to stressful situations.
1. Identify Your Support System
When you were dumped by your first boyfriend in college during finals week, did you call home to a parent to cry it out? Many of us can use our parents or family members as social support from childhood to adulthood, and they provide an essential tool for building your resilience: knowing that there is always someone there for you.
However, a great support system serves dual functions – both as a resource for venting your frustrations, but also as a means of getting you back on your feet, not wallowing in your fears. If you’re not sure that your family or friends are helpful in times of need, this can be a perfect time to reach out for professional support, as a therapist is there to help you learn to manage your stress and strengthen your resilience.
2. Practice Your Problem Solving
After a long, stressful day at work, you get home only to find out that there is no hot water or heat. You’re starving, and all you wanted to do was take a hot shower and relax, so what do you do now? You can sit in the corner crying, or you can get to solving the problem with an alternative course of action that is far more productive than falling apart.
Problem solving can help you learn to respond to stress creatively. Plus, if you can visualize situations from a range of perspectives, then you’ll be less likely to take stressful moments personally.
3. Set Goals And Remember Them
A major trait of resilient people is that they have clear goals – whether for life or each day. Goals help people increase their resilience to stress because goals give them a reason to get over it. When you keep your eye on the bigger picture, the smaller stresses in day-to-day life won’t drag you down as much.
4. Center Yourself
Stress will keep trying to creep into your life in plenty of ways. It can be helpful to learn to “step away” mentally so that your racing thoughts don’t fuel a cycle of compounding stress. Journaling can be a quick and easy way to get your feelings out and can also help you see some of the concerns you are facing more clearly. It can also be helpful to take a yoga class, get to the gym, or even do some cooking or cleaning at home.
If you are ready to take charge of your stress response and learn to be a more resilient person, I am here to help.
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Sources: melissainstitute.org/documents/facts_resilience.pdf, psychologytoday.com/blog/design-your-path/201305/10-traits-emotionally-resilient-people, huffingtonpost.com/mequilibrium/work-stress_b_2829257.html
Attached Image: Getty: #511062060