Moving from stress to resilience
Whilst there’s a lot to say about stress management, I prefer to view it as a journey to resilience! Although a certain amount of stress is necessary in life, many people find themselves in a constant state of anxiety, unsure how they got there and what to do about it. From a whole person perspective, stress has a huge impact, undermining self-esteem, disrupting breathing patterns, shutting down the senses, inhibiting digestion, causing emotional instability, negative thinking patterns and strained relationships... I could go on!
The key thing is to learn to keep stress at a relatively low level in normal circumstances, so that if a major life change happens, for example redundancy, bereavement or a medical diagnosis, then there is some capacity to cope.
The whole person model is an ideal tool to create higher levels of resilience, thereby naturally reducing stress levels. It’s a way of increasing self-awareness, looking at the different dimensions of wellness (for example, key areas such as feelings, thoughts, communicating) and creating an effective action plan for sustainable change.
In terms of creating resilience it’s what you say to yourself, what you eat/drink every day, how you move, what feelings you cultivate, your sense of purpose or the moments of intimacy you create that all have an impact. Specific steps/actions to suit the motivation levels, strengths and desired outcomes of each person can be created by drawing upon the different dimensions of wellness, in the whole person model.
It takes time to develop resilience. Whilst there’s no quick fix, it’s possible to create significant change through small steps. According to Jeff Olsen in his book The Slight Edge, "the things you do every single day, the things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter, do matter. That they not only make a difference – they make all the difference".
So, what is a resilient person like?
Some of the characteristics are the ability to choose a positive focus, emotional intelligence, high self-esteem/self-efficacy and having a personal vision of success. The journey to resilience will be different for each person, depending on starting point, culture, personality and experiences. However, we all have the potential to cultivate the skills, behaviours and strengths needed to create greater resilience.
Some key tips on how to move from stress to resilience:
- Start observing yourself in stressful situations – what are your thoughts, feelings and actions?
- Can you see any patterns?
- Select an area of your life where you would like to develop greater resilience, for example in the way you think, feel, communicate?
- Identify two daily practices that would support this process. For example, 20 minutes of exercise or acknowledging yourself three times per day.
- Practice this for 28 days and review.
Have fun exploring your great potential.