Building Your Stress Resilience

When the wind blows, skyscrapers are ready. They’re built with steel columns that help them withstand the force and stand tall. Like skyscrapers, people often face an outside force that can be challenging to cope with: stress. By preparing ahead of time, you, too, can successfully handle this force without being knocked down. This ability to adapt to difficult situations is called resilience.

Resilience doesn’t prevent tough situations in your life. And it isn’t about putting up with them. But it does help you face stress, cope with it in a positive way and keep moving forward. If you aren’t as resilient as you’d like to be, you can grow and learn skills to become more resilient.

Stress is a normal part of life. Not all stress is bad. Stress can be positive when it motivates you to do well, such as in a job interview or a big presentation. But stress can be harmful to your health when you have too much, it lasts too long or it’s linked with negative experiences. That’s why it’s important to learn new ways to prepare to manage stressful situations.

Several tools and techniques
can help you manage stress.

Learn to recognize stress early on.

Signs you’re becoming stressed may include trouble focusing, muscle pain or tightness, chest pain, and an upset stomach. Or you might feel tired or have headaches, sleep problems, or a change in sex drive. Looking for these warning signs can help you take action against stress sooner.

Take care of yourself.

It’s OK to say no to requests and put your self-care first. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help ease stress. So can relaxing activities such as yoga, deep-breathing exercises, meditation or walking. And take time to do the things you enjoy, such as reading or listening to music. Being kind to yourself is like putting an oxygen mask on yourself first. It helps you to take care of others, too.

Make a schedule.

Block off time for both work and relaxing activities. If you find that your schedule isn’t working, adjust it to help prevent the impact of stress from getting out of hand.

Look at the bright side.

Flight delayed? Think of it as a chance to listen to your favorite podcast. Have an experience with a rude person? Think about what might be happening in that person’s life to trigger that behavior. Consider keeping a gratitude journal to remind you of people and things you feel grateful for. Putting things in perspective can improve your stress resilience.

Make every day meaningful.

Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Avoid setting
too many goals or trying to solve what is outside your control. Instead, focus on what you can change and set clear goals you can achieve in the near future. Be flexible.

Stay in touch.

Reaching out to others for support is a key part of resilience. Technology makes it easy to connect with family and friends. Others likely have the same stresses you do, from raising children to paying bills. Talk to one another and support each other. If the other person is open to it, trade tips on coping with stress.

Consider the help of a professional.

Getting professional help doesn’t mean that you are weak. If stress is harming your health
or you feel like you need more coping tools, seek the help of a psychologist, therapist, social worker or another mental health professional. You also can consult your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist for medicine recommendations.

Accepting and preparing for difficult situations that will happen in life makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less stress. This way of responding becomes your own set of “steel columns” that help you withstand the force of whatever stresses you encounter.

Article provided by Mayo Clinic
©2023 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
All rights reserved.

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