The last few weeks I’ve been cranking out my next book. Without revealing too much yet, there is a big focus in the book on resilience for both personal and professional success. In many of the interviews I’ve been doing with experts, leaders and workers, one of the most common pieces of feedback on amping up resilience is knowing most everything is just a temporary situation.
Things ebb and flow moment to moment. If you find yourself in a stressful spot right now, know that it won’t be that way forever. If life is grand right now, something could take you down tomorrow. And while the rollercoaster of life can be scary, being prepared and arming yourself for the ride can make it feel less turbulent.
Here are five tips to help you be more resilient to the ups and downs.
- Make peace with stress. If you are a living, breathing human, you WILL experience stress regularly and often. Sometimes little things will set you off. Other times giant, whopping, life-changing stuff will punch you in the gut. It’s what you do to get through those things, how you bounce back and how you create peace amidst stress that will determine your overall emotional, physical and mental feelings short and long term.
- Stop doing things you hate. Of course you are going to feel anxiety and stress when you sign yourself up to do something you don’t enjoy. If you commit to a volunteer gig that sucks your energy, it will impact everything else in your life. If you commit to a social outing and you really don’t want to go, you’ll dread it before it even happens and feel resentful later. But if you only say yes to things that truly energize you and your loved ones, you’re one step closer to a less stressful ride.
- Stretch out of your comfort zone. Massive life changes can cause massive stress because our reality changes so drastically. But if you can find ways to stretch out of your comfort zone in small ways, you will be much more resilient to the scary changes that come along. Try new hobbies. Take new routes to work. Ask for things you want. Do more things alone. All of these will slowly but surely prepare you for change.
- Get healthy to minimize impact. Stress really does a number on our physical bodies, thinking and emotions. In fact, stress has been found to be more damaging than smoking! YIKES! This means that since stress is inevitable (see #1), you must keep your body in fighting condition to stay strong during tough times. Eat healthfully by eliminating processed junk and sticking to natural, whole foods. Exercise regularly to strengthen your body’s defenses. Drink lots of green tea. Get enough sleep. It’s the stuff you KNOW you should be doing anyway. Make your health a priority!
- Disconnect to control your ride. When you constantly check your phone for text messages, social posts and emails, you are letting others define how you spend your time. You become reactive instead of proactive – and that’s a terrible and stressful way to live. Most of us are addicted to our cell phones – and it’s the serious kind of addiction, not just a play on words. If we continue to be a phone-addicted culture, we are in for some trouble as we’re already seeing with young people’s inability to communicate interpersonally, time lost to mindless phone surfing and kids feeling less important than what is on their parents’ screens. Take back your time and life by disconnecting sometimes.
When you can create happiness even when life is stressful, amazing things will start to happen for you. Instead of feeling so agitated and negative when bad times come along, you will know that the situation is only temporary and the sun will shine again.