Last week we talked about how stress can have a very real and negative impact on your physical health. One way to reduce long-term stress is to build your inner resilience – learning how to restructure your way of thinking to allow yourself to handle stress in a healthy way.
Remember that stress isn’t always a bad thing…
We’re trying to reduce distress (destructive stress) while welcoming eustress (motivators and drivers). We want to use good stress in our lives to keep getting back up after we’ve been knocked down – and that’s a skill that ANYONE is able to learn with time and practice.
I’ve compiled a few suggestions that can help you accomplish that.
1. Determine what your TRUE values are
This is probably the most important and most difficult step. Determine what truly matters to you in your life. For example, if you value personal freedom or time with your family, are you working a job that takes away 70 hours of your life per week? If so, why? What beliefs are you adhering to that is keeping you on a path that is making you miserable? Be truthful with yourself about what is important, define it, and begin removing things from your life that go against those values.
2. Take small steps towards defining your new life
Rethinking the way you live isn’t easy and can be a source of distress in itself. Take baby-steps towards your goal of living a more honest life that is in line with your values. That may mean taking a new job, starting your own business, or going back to school. Whatever you decide, take it slowly one small step at a time – give yourself some well deserved credit for each step that gets you closer to your goal.
3. Embrace failure, don’t avoid it
Be kind to yourself if you don’t succeed the first time… or the second… or the tenth time. Use each lesson as an opportunity to learn and try something new. Experiment and see what works, be brave, and don’t allow fear to intimidate you into not doing anything at all.
4. Be flexible
Reaching your goals will NEVER be defined via a linear path of successes. It can be messy, and sometimes life changing opportunities will be right in front of you if you allow yourself to be open to new possibilities. Just make sure that those opportunities are in-line with your values, otherwise do not pursue them – no matter how enticing they may seem in the short term.
5. Surround yourself with like minded people
Find people who share your values and use them as a sounding board and support group when you are feeling doubtful or afraid. You’ll see that there are many people who have accomplished exactly what you are doing, and they will help guide you towards success. These can be friends, mentors, coaches, or even YouTube vloggers.
Building resilience is mostly about being honest with who you are and what you want out of your life. Not what your parents want for you, not what society tells you you should be.