We all face challenges, obstacles, and changes that occur in life. Right now we are in the grips of a global stressor called COVID 19. This pandemic has adversely affected every corner of our lives including the psychological, emotional, and physical; even the very communities we live in. How to be resilient means having the ability to recover from or adjust easily to any misfortune or change.
The key to stress resilience is managing your response to the stressor.
Mishaps, falls, losses of people and or possessions, pretest anxiety, relationship difficulties, infidelity, medical problems that aren’t improving, and of course financial worries all affect us, all have an impact.
Whether or not that impact is positive or negative depends on how you react, what you say to yourself in your inner self-talk, and what you do in your actions.
Stress in and of itself is not the culprit for your negative reactions, you are. Your thoughts control your reality and by changing those thoughts in a purposeful manner, you can go around, under, over, or through any obstacle that shows up. This is the definition of how to be stress-resilient.
The notion that stress is a bad thing that should always be avoided is misguided. Stress avoidance actually creates a negative impact and is associated with boredom and depression.
The absence of stress or challenges is not a sign of peace; it is a sign of diminished productivity, of being stuck in your comfort zone, or worse still, of being trapped in a deep rut of sameness.
Holding the belief that you are a survivor and having a positive emotional outlook are the cornerstones to building resilience no matter what happens.
Three ways to change your response to stress:
Cultivate the mindset of “Everything is Fixable”By focusing on the solution instead of the problem or issue, you get to a better outcome faster and with less upset. The initial reactions of shock, surprise, and even fear are the body’s signal that change and possibly danger are close by. You can channel your improved eyesight, faster heart rate, and release of cortisol and other stress hormones for positive corrective actions.
“I can fix this” feels uplifting, whereas “why me?” feels self-defeating.
Cultivate an “Attitude of Gratitude”This trains your mindset to see the positive in every situation and creates a treasure chest of positive feelings, energy, and thoughts. You are activating your parasympathetic nervous system’s calming hormones that slow your heart rate, deepens your breathing, and thus sharpens your mental clarity and vision.
Training yourself to be calm in the midst of chaos helps you stay rooted and focused in the moment allowing you to transform the problem into a fixable challenge.
Focus on your Purpose and Life’s MeaningPeople with goals to strive for or dreams to fulfill have purpose. Purpose imbues meaning into your day-to-day life.
Connecting to a strong heartfelt goal or dream takes you over the hurdles because you more than want to, you have to reach those goals! I like to call it having a strong WHY. Your WHY is the most powerful, motivating force.
Stress and pressure are fuel for the movers and shakers, the go-getters or the doers, just like you, motivating you to new thresholds of personal growth and progress. It is a psychological stimulus to take action so that you can achieve a positive outcome.
Having a deadline to meet or recovering from a computer hard drive failure with the threat of losing ALL of your recently created data are examples of my own challenges to creating my website! I felt it like a punch to my gut!
The Serenity Prayer came in handy helping me to focus on what I could change and kept me in a calm space. Furthermore, I have now committed to automated weekly instead of monthly back-ups for my computer. I have handled any future recurrences of that particular challenge!
Overcoming obstacles is invigorating; it sharpens your mind and strengthens your spirit for future challenges.
This is the positive side of stress that you can harness to help you achieve great success in any of your endeavors.
Building resilience means reframing the “stress is negative” mindset and letting go of distress, worry, and anxiety. Challenges and stressors might knock you down, but resilience is what helps you get back up!
We all face challenges in life. It is not whether we will have challenges, rather it is how quickly we recover.
I’m Dr. Sy Powell a board-certified OBGYN gone rogue! I now practice from a functional medicine perspective. I know that a functional medicine approach can completely change your life for the better. It’s done so for me. To learn more about my work, visit my services page. If you’d like to talk with me directly, you can schedule a free consultation call here. Yours In Health