This is the last blog in my series on stress management.
You wake to another day of stress. Instead of a “new beginning,” it seems more like “here I go again.” Chronos time instead of kairos time. The former indicates the time ticking off the clock, while the latter connotes time that is “pregnant with purpose.” Keep reading.
The “Y” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y. implies leaning in and saying “yes” to whatever the particular life challenge may be that is causing stress. Let me make a clear distinction here….
This is not permission to continue with a frantic lifestyle. If your schedule is stressing you because your problem IS saying “yes” to too many things, this is an issue of boundary setting. Your life needs margin on every level: physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
These are things that you ultimately have control over, whether or not you believe it to be so.
What I’m specifically referring to in this blog are the stressors that you have no control over. Examples would include, but are not limited to, grief; family crisis due to another’s actions; caregiving; conflicts in relationships; marital difficulties.
These are things that you ultimately don’t have control over, but are affected by.
Neurobiology is currently clear about the psychological and physiological benefits of tackling issues instead of avoiding them. And here we have the concept of “fight or flight” coming into play as well as one’s interpretation of the stressor itself:
“I can do this. It’s not an easy time, but I can handle this” rather than “This is the worst thing that can happen,” or “Why is this happening? I don’t deserve this.”
For instance, grieving people need to clean out their loved one’s belongings, dine at frequently visited restaurants, etc. In other words, saying “yes” to those things they wish they didn’t have to deal with. The process of doing so, however, is not only healing, but also allows them to grow in confidence as they journey toward a new normal.
You are actually more resilient than you believe you are, but how you interpret an unexpected life stressor is crucial to your ability to maneuver through it.
Here are some additional coaching tips for a season of stress:
- DAILY GRATITUDE. Yes, gratitude. Be intentionally thankful and focus on what is going well (e.g. physical wellbeing, healthy relationships, what you’re thankful for, etc.). Be grateful for the smallest, often taken for granted, things.
The Positivity Ratio (>3 to 1) postulates that learning to incorporate gratitude as a habit when life is going well will be psychologically beneficial when things aren’t. It help you cognitively balance out the negative (the “1”).
- DAILY RECOVERY TIME. If you are in daily chronic stress, have daily recovery time (e.g. listening to music, reading a book, a favorite hobby, etc.).
- DAILY INQUIRY FOR GROWTH. Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, encouraged his post WWII patients to look for the “bigger picture” perspective (e.g. “How can I allow this event to not be wasted in my life?” or “How can I help others later on?,” or “What can I now contribute to society [mankind] because I have gone through this experience?”
Lean in. Say yes. Be proactive as possible. Seek professional help if needed. Practice self care. Set boundaries (either for self care or relationally). Allow margin.
Each day has an ending. One day you will awake to a new beginning where you find yourself to be stronger, wiser, and better able to encourage others.
This is Hope Unveiled!