I wrote in my last article my that ‘stress’ is a meaningless term.
When we say ‘I am stressed’ what we mean is that we are overwhelmed with life-problems. Which means that we lack resilience.
Resilience is what survivors and other successful people have. You won’t hear resilient people say ‘I am stressed‘. Instead they will say something like: ‘Life’s tough at the moment but I’m dealing with it’. That’s because these people know about the power of words – telling yourself that you are stressed can make you ill, while telling others that you are working on resilience will keep you well.
Resilience means the ability to overcome adversity.
Here are the six keys to resilience:
Realism. Resilient people know that bad times will always come around and, sometimes, there is little we can do about it. They keep the big picture in mind and know that, eventually, better times will arrive.
Proactive. Resilient people distinguish between problems they can influence and problems they can do nothing about. Then they focus on doing something about the former. Resilient people are busy people; you won’t catch them sitting around waiting for Santa Claus to turn up.
Emotional intelligence. In a life crisis resilient people will face their emotions head on instead of hoping they will go away. They are not frightened of fear and sadness. Instead they recognise these emotions are pushing them towards becoming more resilient.
Keeping your friends close. This is really another form of emotional intelligence. Resilient people keep a network of close friends and family around them. They are open about their difficulties and fall back on their friends when they need them.
Mastery. This is sometimes known as ‘confidence’ or ‘self-esteem’ (both terms, like ‘stress’ are in fact meaningless’). What it refers to is that people with resilience focus on what they are good at doing when life-problems turn up. This could be a job a vocation, a sport, or a creative gift. Or it could have to do with raising children, maintaining the home, or cultivating your garden.
Practice mindfulness. Resilient people know how not to identify with transient life problems, the exaggerations created by the conscious mind, and group panic. Something within them is always detached and grounded in the present moment. Practising meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc achieves that.