Stress may be inevitable but cumulative stress is absolutely avoidable. Emotional resilience is your ability to adapt to stressful situations. An emotionally resilient person can deal with major and minor stress. If that is a skill you would like to have or a character trait you would like to be known for, read on.
Humans are highly adaptable. Emotional resilience is something you can learn and develop. So you are already set up for success to be an emotionally resilient person.
If you find yourself at your emotional edge too often, there may be some gaps in your resilience strategies. Let’s do a check:
Three top traits of an emotionally resilient person are listed below. Evaluate, using gentleness and curiosity, which traits you feel you’ve got down and which could use some love, attention, and development. Once you identify two of the traits below that you feel you’ve got down, it can illuminate the outstanding trait you need to develop to close the gap. Once you close the gap, notice if you find yourself at your emotional edge as a rare occurrence.
#1 – You practice the art of self-care.
You have discovered what your personal needs are and you meet them. You have taken the time to discover and incorporate whatever it is that makes you feel cared for. By the way, you can meet this need very simply by taking a break. More on that later.
#2 – You understand that stressful situations don’t define you.
You have relegated stressful circumstances to their rightful place: as short-term conditions that do not determine who you are.
#3 – You are grateful.
You have a gratitude practice that you do daily. Examples of this are keeping a gratitude journal, or sharing with your family or friends one thing you are grateful for as a daily practice, or finding one thing to be grateful for in stressful moments. Gratitude broadens perceptions about life and helps to increase feelings of hope and openness towards new possibilities.
Which one do you feel you need to embrace more?
1. The art of self care
2. Understanding you are not the situation
3. Having a gratitude practice
Write down which one you want to develop. This is not a test. Just a reflection for yourself. Writing things down helps you because it engages your critical thinking. You have to slow down and cement the learning in your brain which accelerates learning.
RESISTING SELF CARE AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
Do you have any resistance to self-care? When you think about self-care, what is the first thought that comes to your mind? Do you say, “Great! Me-time”? Or do you think, I’ll get to that later, I can use that time instead to [insert any other task other than self-care here].
I know I did when I first put self-care on my calendar as a real thing. After a few times of choosing to do something else instead, I really had to stop and ask myself, “Why?” Why would I do something elsewhen self-care has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress and all the benefits that come with that: happier feelings, better decisions, better quality relationships, a better quality of work, of life, and on and on?
There are quite a few biases that are drivers in our subconscious. One of them is negativity bias. Negativity bias is when things of a negative nature have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than positive things. Basically bad is stronger than good. For example, when we make decisions based on negative information more frequently than positive data. And our brains are hardwired for this. It’s called NATs-negative automatic thoughts. It‘s part of our evolutionary thinking and was critical to our survival. Negative automatic thoughts (NATs) are a stream of thoughts that are negatively framed interpretations of what we think is happening to us. “Think” being the operative word here as this may not be a reality but instead a result of our cognitive filters.
The way to overcome our biases and negative thinking is to become aware of them and then to create new patterns.
So when that thought of ”oh I’ll just complete this task before I do my self-care practice or have a moment of gratitude because it affects my survival and that is way more important than self-care” streams across your thinking, you can pause, take a breath, bring yourself to presence and restate the truth. And the truth is that by taking a moment of self-care, whatever was seemingly more important was really just evolutionary, old wiring. And when you practice self-care, whatever other task you were going to do will be of a higher quality and exponentially more impactful.
Art is a form of communication. It is an act of expressing feelings, thoughts, and observations.
Self-care is an individual expression of deliberate, self-initiated health and well-being.
Self-care is an answer to how we can deal with stress. Those of us that can deal with stress become resilient. Those that are resilient can weather and lead others through the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity that have become our new norm.
To create new patterns of thought we need small, consistent steps. It takes 252 days for brain plasticity to occur. Brain plasticity or neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change. It is the brain’s ability to modify its connections, to re-wire itself.
You have this ability within your grasp.
Once you have chosen one of the three resilience traits from the list above, the next thing you have to do is commit to it every day. Here’s how to make that easy.
- Be aware that the brain deems anything that is unfamiliar as unsafe.
- Understand that you are habituated in your current behavior and approaches.
In order to set yourself up for success, it is very helpful to get support.
This is less about accountability and more about love. Self-love. Knowing we are wired for the familiar and practiced in our current ways means that putting support in place sets us up for success to grow in new ways, especially when we are stressed out.
Taking on self-care as an art form creates the context that this is a conversation you are having with yourself. It is time to connect and check in with yourself, to become aware of your thoughts, and introduce new ones. It’s a way to recognize how you really feel so you know what you need and can determine how to meet those needs. I was recently in one of our VistaKind Experiences and a feeling of deep sadness showed up. I needed to cry and I needed a hug. So I had a big cry, went to go get a hug, and felt my balance return. I didn’t need to attach any story to it. I just needed to listen to my body and give it what it needed, also known as the art of self-care.
When we deepen our connection to what is happening inside ourselves, we can transform our experience of what is happening around us. We never can control our environment. What has happened in the last year and a half has made that abundantly clear. But we can adapt. Not to stress but to a new way of being in and with ourselves. It’s an art form. And when we master it, we are able to stand in any moment with presence and grace and lead others to do the same.
Looking for a way to develop the art and science of resiliency and self-care? We created The VistaKind Experience to provide the structure and support to do that.