Stress is a human experience. On one level or another, it happens to every single one of us. Although it’s unavoidable in our daily lives, it doesn’t necessarily need to have to take such a toll on our overall well-being.
Allowing stress to take control of your life is a slippery slope. Priorities continue to add up, deadlines start being missed, feelings of fatigue set in and eventually you become completely overwhelmed. If stress isn’t managed early it can become chronic and someday lead to more significant health problems and burnout.
Adopting the mindset to face adversity will provide you the strength to move through your life with more confidence, motivation, and happiness. Stress-resilience is a concept that describes this mindset. It’s the ability to adapt to life’s challenges, traumas, or any significant sources of stress. Becoming more resilient to stress allows you to not only “bounce back” from these events but to also grow from them.
Take the initiative today to become more stress-resilient by following these top 5 tips:
Gaining more control over your circumstances can oftentimes feel like an impossible task. When you have numerous priorities on the go – not to mention unexpected life events that come up out of nowhere – the stress builds as you begin to feel like it’s you against the world.
When you start to feel like you’re losing control over your life it’s crucial to shift your focus to the things you do have control over.
There’s a psychological phenomenon called your locus of control that describes how people justify events in their lives. It describes how much control you believe you have when it comes to experiences that affect you in either a positive or negative manner. It’s separated into two different parts:
- The external locus of control is when you feel there are external factors outside of your own control that are determining your fate.
- The internal locus of control is when you feel your own skill and ability is what determines your fate.
As an example, someone with an external locus of control believes they failed their test because it was too hard and they weren’t given enough time. If that same person had an internal locus of control, they would believe they failed because they didn’t study enough and take full responsibility for their grade.
Depending on which side you’re on, your locus of control contributes to how much or how little control you think you have. By shifting towards an internal locus of control you’re choosing to take more ownership over your actions. It makes you feel self-empowered and willing to take on the unpredictable world around you, helping to become more stress resilient.
People with higher stress resilience tend to take believe they’re in control of their lives. No matter what we do, we can’t control our circumstances but we can control our responses to them. This attitude adjustment changes your stress response entirely. It allows you to choose how you react to stress, making you much happier and healthier along the way.
Adopt an Optimistic Mindset
Throughout your life you’re faced with two competing mindsets: to be an optimist or to be a pessimist.
Whether you decide to see the glass half full or not is a decision you need to make every single day. The problem is, stressful events begin to influence how empty we perceive the glass. So how can we overcome this?
One of the simplest methods (for some of us) is to have a good sense of humor. Laughing through stressful times will help to lighten your mood, boost your immunity, and improve your ability to cope with adversities.
Another method of adopting an optimistic mindset is to engage in more positive self-talk. Self-talk is your inner voice that can either be incredibly beneficial or painfully destructive. In other words, you can choose to engage in positive-self talk when you’re faced with a challenge by telling yourself you are completely capable of succeeding. Or, you can in negative self-talk, tell yourself you’re not prepared enough, good enough, confident enough, and you will fail.
At the end of the day, dwelling on your failures will never magically change those failures into successes. Instead, you can adopt an optimistic mindset with a good sense of humor and positive self talk to minimize your stress and move forward more productively. Choose the optimistic route the next time you’re faced with adversity by testing out these methods!
Utilize Your Support System
Your social network is by far one of the most important factors in becoming stress-resilient. Current research states that social isolation not only increases your stress response but is also associated with countless other health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Humans crave socialization. The need to engage with others becomes much more important when you’re facing difficult times. It doesn’t make you any less capable of taking on life’s challenges by leaning on others. Instead, it improves your ability to cope with stress more effectively.
If you’re struggling to find a support group you can cultivate one by getting involved in your community. For example, you can meet new people by volunteering, joining a fitness club, signing up for a cooking class, or even looking online. The possibilities are endless as long as you’re willing to take the first step in introducing yourself.
Options for social support don’t necessarily need to be limited to your direct friends or family. It can also include professional help in terms of organized therapy. Stress management is an increasingly common topic of conversation with mental health professionals. Many specialists help you work through stressful events in order to create coping strategies for the future.
Regardless of the route you take in engaging with your social network, you should remember that you’re not alone on your journey. Reach out, create a network, and build your stress resilience in the process. Remember, social support is about quality, not quantity an important factor in helping you to become more stress resilient.
Sweat more, and I mean a lot more. Giving your body the physical release it craves becomes that much more critical during stressful times. As your priorities build and your to-do list remains incomplete, adding a 30-minute bout of exercise can transform your mindset entirely.
Exercise releases neurochemicals in your body called Endorphins. They work to reduce your pain by producing a “feel-good” chemical response. They also play a role in reducing your overall stress response which can contribute to longer-term effects of building stress resilience.
Here are the top 4 ways exercise reduces your stress:
- Improves immunity to fight off illness
- Reduces levels of cortisol (stress hormone)
- Lowers physiological reactivity to stress
- Promotes self-confidence
In order to take full advantage of the countless benefits, exercise needs to become a part of your lifestyle. Start by adding one new way to sweat each week until you begin to gain more momentum in your routine. It could be a spin class, a hike, a strength training session or a hot yoga class – the options are endless.
Overcome Your Fear of Failing
Failure. The word itself has been socially primed to elicit feelings of inadequacy, judgment, and even shame. The reality of experiencing these feelings can be incredibly overwhelming which is what actually stems our true fear of failure. The problem is, never overcoming this fear will only cause us to miss out on reaching our full potential.
We need to start putting ourselves out there and face our fears head-on, even if there’s a chance we never do succeed. If we don’t, we risk never finding out what we’re truly capable of.
You should be asking yourself two questions in the effort of acknowledging your fears:
- What’s the worst thing that could happen if I fail?
- Am I willing to let that happen?
In doing so, you’re not only recognizing your fear of failure, but you’re also putting these fears into perspective. The first step is to start visualizing your potential of success – what will that look like for you? In doing so, you shift your mindset away from the fear of failure and towards the possibility of success. This helps to minimize the stress you that consumed you when thinking about the failure itself.
People who develop this mindset will become more stress-resilient in the long run. Consider your failures as a process of learning rather than a shameful experience. It’s in your best interest to take advantage of the lessons and move towards a more confident and capable future.
Gaining more resilience in your life can’t happen overnight. To truly lower your stress response, it takes time and effort. It’s helpful to employ not only one , a combination of them to build your stress-resilience day by day. Take control of your circumstances, use that positive mindset, lean on a trusted support group, get your sweat on, and choose to face your fears of failure each and every day. It may surprise you how effective these things can be towards improving your health as a whole.
Taylor is a self-motivated, active individual always in search of the next big adventure. Her expertise in sport, exercise, and nutrition allows her to take on an overall wellness approach in her writing. She’s passionate about promoting mental health in the pursuit to reduce its stigma in the community. She hopes to become a health coach and spread more awareness about the complexities of anxiety-based disorders.