Big or small, every one of us deals with stress each day; work, school, relationships, rejections, disappointments, setbacks, children, health, relocation, finances, and etc. We never welcome it, but stress is a part of life and we all experience it from time to time. Stress can be positive when it stretches us, adjusts our attitude and behavior for the better, and makes us grow. High stress level for a long period of time (which I called bad stress), however, could affect our physical, emotional and mental health in a negative way.
Stress affects each person differently, and some common stress symptoms, to name a few, include lack of sleep, mood swings, headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, rapid or irregular heartbeat, inability to focus, anxiety and/or depression. This blogpost by no means offers any medical advice; on the contrary, if you feel that your stress has overtaken you and your life, please seek professional help. The aim of this post is to help you build resilience as you manage stress while moving forward in life.
Tips on building resilience
What is resilience? According to APA, resilience is “the process and outcome of successful adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.” This definition highlights something difficult, a learning process of change and adjustment, and a positive outcome.
While you can’t get rid of stress, you can certainly exercise the muscles of your resilience, which helps you navigate through challenges, setbacks and stress in life. Below are nine ways on building your resilience.
Are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty person? Having an open and positive mindset empowers you to reframe negative emotions, thoughts and situations into a more positive and constructive one.
Counting blessings allows you to acknowledge and focus on the goodness you experience, which in returns fosters positive emotions and willing adjustments toward stress and less-than-ideal situations, and eventually makes you happier and more resilient.
3. Reality check
Whether it’s setting goals or boundaries, ask yourself how realistic they are. You want to stretch yourself but definitely not beyond your own limits and create the bad stress for yourself.
Take stock of and leverage on your strengths, skills and experience. When you know what you are really good at, your confidence grows. People with higher confidence are more resilient to stress.
5. Present moment
Be honest to yourself, are you living in the past or for the future, but not in the present? Once upon a time in my mid-20s, I dwelled in the past and buried myself with regret and guilt. Before I knew it, six years had gone by. One day, I came across Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up” which made me realize that I wastefully spent 6 years of my young life for something I could have never changed. Six years is a long time, but it taught me a life-long lesson of “letting the bygones be bygones and living today and living now.”
It’s about being patient and kind to yourself and others around you. Don’t put yourself down by talking negatively to yourself, neither continuously blame yourself for a mistake or failure you made. It’s equally important to remember, especially to the perfectionists out there, that it is okay to be imperfect and you don’t have to thrive for perfection every single time.
7. Physical care
Taking care of your body and health contributes to your resilience. Research shows that physical exercise can induce positive physiological and psychological improvements and protect against the effects of stressful events. Meditation, breathing exercise, good diets and adequate sleep are all beneficial for your physical care.
8. Connection and network
Having a good support system will help you feel stronger when life throws your way. Whether you need to honestly share your challenges and thoughts, seek unbiased opinions and insight, or look for some fresh perspectives with your circumstances, it is super helpful having people on your court.
9. Professional support
Like I mentioned earlier, seek professional help when you feel out of control or struggle to get through the day. Professionals can help make a big difference for you. Furthermore, seeking help is not weakness but a sign of strength and your desire for something more in life.
Someone once said that resilience means you experience, feel, hurt, fail, and fall, but you keep going. Building resilience takes time just like how you build your muscles over time. What makes the difference between success and failure is successful people never give up after a setback, instead, they keep going at it with an open mind, flexibility and adjustments.
About Faye Weng
Your Online Life and Career Coach
Faye Weng is an expert life and career coach who works with clients to take back control of their lives by rediscovering their passions, living/working with a clear purpose, and becoming people who can positively impact the communities around them. As your life and career coach, Faye will help you minimize noises and distractions, focus your effort and attention on the right things, execute a clear plan of action, and celebrate alongside of you when each milestone is reached. Click here to book a complimentary session.