Resilience: The Best Weapon Against Stress.
As 2020 is winding down the stress and challenges just keep coming. We are solidly into the second wave of the pandemic and we are all feeling the effects of that- in our personal and professional lives. Many of us are struggling with how to handle all of this. Some people channel their anxiety and frustration into wishing things were back to normal, while others focus on how to make the best of it and move forward from there. One thing that we could all use a little more of right now is resilience.
Resilience is the capacity to recover and adapt in the face of adversity. Most of the time people think of resilience as only applying to large scale events like an illness, job loss or pandemic. It turns out that resilience (or lack thereof) is in our every day lives. How we deal with the day to day bumps in the road is very telling as to how we are able to deal with the bigger challenges we face. Also important to note: resilience is not a character or personality trait as many people believe, but actually a skill that can be learned and improved.
Science shows that improving resilience helps to reverse the negative physical, emotional and mental effects of stress.
So how do we improve our resilience? You might have to be creative with some of these given our current set of circumstances, but here are some of the most widely agreed upon keys to successfully building resilience:
Accept that change is a reality. Feel the emotions you have around this so you can process them and move forward. Journaling, talking to a friend or family member, or meeting with a professional can help.
Perspective taking. Explore all possibilities, outcomes and view points of what is happening. Try listing 3 positive things to have come from a stressful situation.
Stop the hamster wheel of negative thoughts replaying in your head. Focus on what you are grateful for, or the positive aspects of your life that are still present.
Avoid negative people and other sources of negativity. Our brain absorbs whatever it is exposed to and creates our reality accordingly. Choose carefully.
Keep in touch with friends and family members. Whether it’s a zoom get-together, meeting in the park (bundle up, bring a fun hot drink and a game to play) or just a phone call- having those connections is important.
Exercise, sleep, nutrition, hydration, meditation. Take care of you- it’s the only body you get.
Find ways you can help people and animals in your community, write that book you’ve always wanted to, or start the career you know you were meant for. However big or small, having meaning and purpose in your life has long been scientifically linked with overall health and resilience.
Resilience isn’t a forcefield against pain and difficulty, but it has been scientifically proven to improve our overall health and well-being. As with building muscle, it takes time and consistent intention to build.
We may need to be more creative during these challenging times, but as with any type of stress (physical, emotional or mental) we can use it to make us stronger.
For more information or assistance with building your resilience contact me at: