We are living in a time of uncertainty and anxiety. Stress management is important for living a healthy, fulfilling life. Part of the key to successful stress management over the long term is developing resiliency. What is resiliency?
It’s the ability to handle stressful events and bounce back to a healthy baseline. Without resiliency, you might turn to unhealthy coping strategies, such as substance abuse, risky behaviors, or avoidance of the issue altogether.
Over time, if you can’t develop strong stress responses, you’re less able to turn the negative events in your life into positive growth experiences. Resilience will give you the strength to see past your life’s momentary roadblocks and not dwell in your anxiety.
This kind of emotional resilience needs cultivation—it’s not a completely innate trait. You can become more resilient with practice. Here are some tips for building resiliency so you can better cope with stressful situations that will inevitably come up in your life.
Resilient people are more emotionally aware. It’s important to be able to recognize how you’re feeling and why. Naming your specific emotions at any given time is crucial to understanding how you respond to them. In a stressful situation, it’s good to pause and focus on the present moment.
Mindfulness is the practice of centering yourself, regulating deep breathing, and getting into sensory and spatial awareness. Becoming mindful involves returning to your sensory experiences, even in the face of anxiety.
Identify your triggers
Part of mastering mindfulness involves understanding your triggers. Knowing these better prepares you for patterns of stress and anxiety.
When you’re experiencing a triggering event, if you’re used to mindfulness, you can better tackle your anxiety in the moment. You can then learn to control your bodily response to your environment.
Practice positive self-talk
Many things in life are uncontrollable. Resilient people know they are only in control of their own actions and their responses to life circumstances.
Engage in positive self-talk, telling yourself you’re growing stronger with each adversity. Focusing away from a victim mentality will better prepare you mentally for life’s challenges.
Maintain a good support network
Developing resiliency isn’t just about you tackling your issues alone. The majority of resilient people have great support networks of friends, family, and loved ones.
While it’s unhealthy to totally rely on others to calm you through every one of life’s stressors, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see your support network as a kind of flotation device. It’s okay to lean on the people that care about you most when you’re working through a tough moment.
Engage in self-care and exercise
Physical activity, sleep, and healthy eating habits are all central to the upkeep of your mental health. Keeping your body in good working order is the first line of defense against stress and anxiety. In addition to attending to your body’s basic needs, self-care can be more indulgent.
Treating yourself to at-home spa days, taking time to cook an elaborate meal, or giving time each evening to work on your new craft are all ways you can show kindness to yourself.
There is no way to get rid of stressful events in our lives. There will be periods of change, grief, and pressure. It’s part of the human experience. But what you can control is your response to stressors.
When you take the time to build your resiliency to smaller stressful events, you’re better equipped to cope with the heavier stuff. Dealing with anxiety and stress in a healthy way takes time and effort. Working through your coping mechanisms with a professional therapist will prepare you for the speed bumps that the world gives you.
If you’re interested in finding out more ways to build up your resiliency, cope with stress, and approach life mindfully, please contact us to connect with a therapist.