The slow down of summer and our vacation seems long ago. Have you come back from your holidays and feel already anxious, overworked, overwhelmed and tense? Are you back at your desk and deadlines are looming and pressures rising? The 4th quarter approaches, and you have to deliver, and you get anxious that you might not reach your annual performance goals? For many, stress is a constant they have to deal with.
This post provides you with more insights and tips that will enable you to build your resilience and to manage stress situations.
When you are reading these lines, it is most likely that you do not feel stressed. Let’s face it, when we really feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or tense, we do not feel like reading or learning. But what is stress? Stress is actually natural and necessary to survive, but mostly in exceptional life-threatening situations, such as being attacked by a wild tiger and fleeing as a stress reaction. Today in our modern everyday situations, many people face mostly non-life threatening situations, but yet feel permanent high-levels of stress, tension or anxiety.
Stress is normal in our current life forms in situations such as starting a new job, organizing a big event, giving a high-level speech or writing an exam. Natural stress situations come along with tension. However, once the peak is reached, and the ‘danger’ has passed, the body relaxes and there is no tension. If the body however, measures the same or high levels of life threatening situations constantly, it becomes chronic and unhealthy.
9 Strategies to build your Resilience
Personal Resilience is based on a common core of personality dispositions and characteristics that enable us to be successful in the midst of a stressful situation.
Resilience includes our abilities to:
- master oneself and to be mindful;
- take steps to calm oneself when facing a stressful situation;
- maintain a good level of energy and health when under pressure;
- overcome challenges by taking action; and finally
- bounce back easily after a setback.
What can we do to reduce our stress nowadays, and to build our resilience and manage stress positively? Below are 9 Strategies, see which one suits You and when.
1. Reduce your perfectionism
Reduce words to yourself, such as “I must,” “I should,” “I have to.” Saying those perfectionist words to yourself constantly decreases your power and positive energy. You feel more frequently that you do not have your life under control. Thus, accept your own limits and do what you can. Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself.
2. Do not escalate into catastrophes or dramas
Some people have tendencies to turn a stressful or tense situation into a horror scenario or a ‘Bollywood’ drama. Instead of visualizing this, catch your mind, stop it immediately and give yourself a break! Imagine how the situation will be once you have mastered it. Visualize the positive, desired outcome you would like to see in the future.
3. Do not think in “black or white” terms, or all is “great or horrible”
Going along with the drama or catastrophe, avoid thinking of extremes. Be aware and catch yourself, and relativise. Rather than thinking in extremes, focus on what works, and on the positive. Stay in the “here and now.” Think pragmatically and practically. Stay on your feet and do what you can, realistically.
4. Do not think problems, but overcome “challenges”
Be very mindful of your words and what you say. Use constructive and empowering words, not destructive or negative ones. Don’t say, “I am so stressed,” “I have huge problems,” etc. When you face “difficulties” or “problems,” change your words and your mind. Perceive them as a challenge to be overcome, as obstacles that you need to pass over or around. Be positive.
5. Focus on your past successes and your strengths
Be forgiving to your past mistakes and focus on your past successes. Think about them and how you succeeded in the past when you faced challenges. Don’t despair and don’t ask yourself, “What am I going to do,” but change your question to “How am I going to master it?”, “How should I best move forward?” and ask yourself, “How did I succeed in the past?” and “What are my strengths?”
6. Nurture a positive view of Yourself
A healthy level of self-confidence or self-esteem is a core competency for resilience. Self-esteem is what you think about yourself. It means that you accept yourself, even respect yourself and eventually love who you are. Many of us get our self-esteem from external things, such as our status, job, looks or wealth. But these things may vary throughout our lives. So it is important to find and appreciate the more enduring qualities within Yourself.
7. Compare yourself only to Yourself – and to no one else
Stop comparing yourself to others, either negatively or positively, with your colleague or neighbour. Do not envy others and do not think that the grass is greener in someone else’s life. Just compare yourself to your Self – and positively so. See what you have achieved and how you have progressed through life so far. Live your own life, not one that someone else (your horoscope, your boss, your friend, etc.) decided or believed is best for you.
8. Think with the long-term view
Consider and ask yourself, “What will I think about this situation in one month? In one year?” Project yourself in the further and distant future, and visualize the positive outcome. See your current situation from a relative temporal viewpoint.
9. Look for a positive or meaningful purpose
Although it might be difficult, concentrate and reflect, and try to see something – even the slightest – positive purpose in the situation. Try to see what you can learn from this situation. Visualize yourself telling a good, old friend, colleague, or your grown-up child, when they are your age, the advice and wisdom you learned during your tough period.
Build your own resilience now steadily and consciously. Enjoy the new season!