Stress can either be a good or bad thing. The majority of the time when someone discusses stress, it is in negative connotation. Most of us try to avoid stress and go into “auto-pilot.” Unfortunately, that can cause many of us to subconsciously plan our lives around making sure stress does not consume us.
How Can We Reframe Stress?
Being resilient is a great tool when thinking about the stressors we have on a day-to-day basis. Take a moment to think about how positive stress has helped motivate you to overcome a challenging obstacle. Think about the times you trained for something. There was most likely a lot of stress to make sure you were doing what you needed to do within your training program. When the day came to show off your hard work, all that stress seemed minimal and when you finished, you had positive fulfillment.
Instead of avoiding stress, which is not always possible, a better goal would be to find a resilient approach to stress. Often times it is not the stressor that needs to be addressed but our response to the stress.
How Can We Change Our Approach To Stress?
When you interrupt your normal response to stress, it helps promote managing the stress better. It is not uncommon for everyone to react to a stressor that is happening instead of respond to the stressor. This practice does not happen overnight. It takes time and patience to create any new habit. When a stressor occurs that promotes a negative response, interrupt old behaviors by reframing your response. A great way to do that is to take a step back to think about how you would like to move forward.
Building awareness of your normal stress reactions can sometimes be difficult. When things are a habit, we might automatically do something and realize it is done after the fact.
A great way to build awareness is to journal. Keeping a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions can be an awesome way to release stress. It can also be a safe way to explore some of your responses to stress. Along with journaling, there are several ways to influence your response to stress. Finding a way to infuse calm can be beneficial.
Here are a few other practices to consider when thinking about ways to become resilient to your stress:
Exercise Deep Breathing
Breathing is an involuntary action we do each and every day. There are a lot of times we don’t think about breathing deeply until we need to sigh or our body forces us to. Take a few minutes to breathe in deeply through your nose and releasing slowly out through your mouth. This is great to practice at the moment a stressor may occur.
Often times we wear a lot of different hats and are involved in several roles throughout our weeks. Be sure to take some well-needed time for yourself, so that you are in a good mental space to handle the stressor that comes each day.
Get A Good Night's Sleep
Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Sleep has a lot of great benefits, one being the more rested you are the more clearheaded you will be. Make sure to get enough sleep each night so you can make better decisions through your day.
Eat Good, Feel Good
Choose foods that give you the proper energy and nutrients your body needs. You wouldn’t risk putting the wrong gas in your car, so steer away from giving your body foods that aren’t beneficial.
Physical activity is a great way to lower stress (it is known to be a stress management technique). Whether you are doing a hardcore workout or going for a walk, your body can release some of the tension you are experiencing.
Trying a new technique daily will get you one step closer to being more resilient.
By Briana Wilson
Wellness Promotion Specialist