Have you ever wondered why some people seem so calm, even when in the midst of a situation that would cause you great stress? An easy explanation would be that they only experience positive emotions. Yet, this isn’t how humans operate. Instead, the more likely reason for their lack of anxiety is stress resilience.
What Is Stress Resilience?
Merriam-Webster defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Thus, stress resilience involves the ability to recover from or adjust to stressful situations.
The American Institute of Stress reports that some of the top causes of stress are job pressure, money, and health. Relationships, poor diet, overexposure to media, and sleep deprivation also made the list. You may even add a few others, based on your own personal experience.
Does this mean that a resilient person doesn’t feel stress in these situations? Not at all. It simply means that they’ve discovered how to keep the pressures of everyday life from building to unmanageable levels.
Stress resilience is essentially emotion management. That’s why it’s commonly referred to as emotional intelligence or emotional resilience.
Benefits of Developing Resilience Against Stress
Building resilience offers many advantages. Here are a few to consider.
- Reduced blood pressure. Research indicates that when the body releases the stress hormone cortisol, diastolic blood pressure increases. By developing resilience against stress, you can help reduce cortisol secretion. This makes it easier to keep your blood pressure at healthier levels.
- Lower disease risk. Some studies have connected stress with an increased risk of medical conditions such as coronary heart disease. Others point to the role that stress plays in the development of mental health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Resiliency, then, may help lower these risks.
- Lower body weight. The more cortisol your body secretes, the harder it is to lose weight. This is because cortisol promotes fat storage. Since stress triggers elevated secretions, finding a way to regularly relieve it can help you achieve a lower body weight. If you’re prone to emotional eating, keeping stress manageable can also reduce your urge to overeat when life is a bit chaotic.
- Decreased anxiety. Stress is almost synonymous with anxiety. It makes you feel on edge emotionally. It increases your fears of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Finding a way to not let adversity get to you can reduce these anxious feelings.
- Greater positivity. Developing emotional resilience makes it easier to stay positive. Life doesn’t get you down easily. You’re able to “roll with the punches” and take each day as it comes.
- More happiness. In the end, resilience against stress means higher levels of happiness. You’re able to bounce back quicker when adversity strikes. You spend less time worrying and more time enjoying the positives in your life.
The Habits of Stress-Resilient People
What do highly resilient people do to keep their stress level low? They develop habits that better enable them to deal with life’s ups and downs in a healthy way.
They Have A Daily Mindfulness Practice
Resilient individuals make a mindfulness practice part of their daily routine. Mindfulness keeps you present in the moment. This diminishes your worries about yesterday and tomorrow. All you are focused on is today.
Some people do this by way of daily mindfulness meditation sessions. Meditation benefits extend well beyond stress relief. This practice can also reduce pain, relieve disease-related symptoms, and improve the overall quality of life. Becoming more mindful can also assist with weight loss.
Meditation apps make developing a practice easier than ever. Even just sitting and deep breathing can help improve mindfulness. Set aside a few minutes each day to calm your mind and be present in the moment. Let your stress slip away.
They Schedule Activities That Increase Their Happiness
People with greater resilience to stress understand that there is more to life than work and handling obligations. The more you can engage in activities you enjoy, the better you are able to handle adversity when it comes your way.
This is where having a hobby comes into play. Do something you are passionate about regularly. This provides an outlet for your stress. It also gives you something to look forward to when life feels a bit heavy.
Some people prefer hobbies that give them time alone. Others would rather engage in group activities, strengthening their social connections. There are no right or wrong activities. As long as it’s something you like doing, schedule it into your appointment book. And schedule it in regularly.
They Call on Family and Friends When Negative Emotions Hit
Social support is a major contributor to resilience in a stressful situation. Sometimes you just need to vent to keep stress from building up. Other times, talking to others provides a valuable perspective shift. They help you see things a different way and bring more positive emotion out.
Create a list of people you can call on when you start to feel your stress levels rise. Make it a habit to call on them when you need. This creates a healthy stress response.
They Engage in Regular Physical Activity
Aerobic exercise is especially beneficial for fighting off stress. Regular physical activity helps build emotional resilience. Exercise can help you work out your frustrations and worries. It gives you a positive outlet for not-so-positive life experiences.
Making this connection helps you make regular aerobic exercise a habit. It’s not just something you do to lose weight or get into better shape. It’s an action that also makes you feel better emotionally. You will want to do it often because it increases your positivity and improves your levels of happiness.
How to Create Your Own Stress Management Habits
The main thing to remember with stress is that it is better to be proactive. Stress is more easily managed when it isn’t able to rise to super-high levels. So, put practices in place that help you prevent it from building up in your life.
Make activities that reduce stress a priority. Find a hobby you enjoy, spend time with positive people, and get regular exercise. Also develop a coping strategy that helps keep chronic stress at bay. Life will continue to throw hurdles. The better prepared you are to jump these hurdles, the less impact they’ll have.
The better you become at developing your own stress resilience, the more you can help others do the same. Talk to them about creating a mindfulness practice. Help those you love make stress relief a regular healthy habit too.
Notes from JBS:
Stress is a killer. Everyone should take it seriously. Workout, stay mindful and help others. We are all in this together. And stay positive.
Contact me if you need more information.