Not a rampaging bulldog bear in sight – what next?

What needs to happen when you’re no longer in any real danger of being consumed by what you saw as the raging bulldog of adversity?  

In the last blog we talked about the effects on your body and mind in not finding ways to turn your innate stress-response mechanism to the off- position once it’s no longer needed.  Now, we’re going to look at some of the ways to do just that.

One of the very first steps to take is to become aware that the stress you’re feeling may be a result of not allowing your body and mind to come back to a level of equilibrium after the life-event that knocked you out of whack is no longer any real threat.   

The next step is to realize that the level of stress you’re continuing to experience is tipping your optimum performance and optimum life scale way out of whack. 

Although unpleasant both physical and emotional symptoms of too much stress alerts us to the fact that we’ve allowed our perceptions of whatever the life circumstance to destabilize our sense of well-being.  So becoming aware of both your physical and emotional symptoms tops your priority list. 

Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one”   Hans Selye

Exploring the causes of any prolonged stress-response is key.  The insights that come from acknowledging and working to alleviate stress levels so that your body and mind return to a state where living is no longer a grind, are crucial.  These are the insightful nuggets of learning that you incorporate into how you view and interact with life going forward.  The next time similar high intensity stressors appear in your life you’ve equipped yourself to deal with them more effectively.  This is one of the indications that you’re beginning to live life in a more resilient way.    

However, at the same time you’re gaining insight, it’s also important to explore activities, which best suit you in releasing the open valve of stress-response, which is flooding your system with unhelpful by-products.   

Making a situation less problematic

The folks at the Mayo Clinic suggest that when you’ve identified a situation as too stressful, you can begin to formulate strategies that make it less problematic. If you can’t come up with some ways of alleviating the stress yourself, ask others what has worked for them.  Believe me you’re not the only one who has ever felt overwhelmed.    

“In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life”.   Albert Bandura

Stress won’t disappear from your life.  However, with practice you’ll find ways to reduce unhelpful levels of stress while increasing your ability to cope with and learning from the challenges of life. 

Some of the ways I’ve found to work are:

  • Viewing the situation from a broader lens. 
    • On a good day I tell myself that ‘this too shall pass’ when something less than satisfying comes into my life. 
    • A question I ask myself is this: In a year from now will this current situation matter to my life?   Sometimes the answer is yes but more often than not the answer will be no. 
  • Having the ability to find the funny side of the situation and being able to laugh about it!
    • Science has found that laughter not only lightens you mood but it induces physical changes that can offset the effects of staying in a state of stress-response. 
    • By enhancing your intake of oxygen-rich air, laughter charges up and then cools down your stress- response stimulating your heart rate and blood pressure…. in short it relaxes you. 
    • Laughter also stimulates circulation and muscle relaxation, relieving any physical stress-induced symptoms while improving your immune system.
  • Just getting out of my own way of thinking and feeling.
    • Sometime when I catch myself sinking into the continued stress-response vortex I say to myself: Just STOP.  Stop what you are thinking.  Stop having the feelings and emotions you’re allowing yourself to have. 
    • How I actually do this ‘stopping’ is I take myself away from the situation or modes of thinking by changing my present environment.  I go for a walk, go to the movies, meet up with friends or listen to music; whatever it takes to STOP whatever I’m doing or thinking that isn’t serving me. 
  • I write a list of all the great things in my life.
    • Even when I don’t really want to or can’t readily think of, one, let alone a whole list of things to be grateful for.
    • However, just beginning the list helps the flow to come.

You are unique.  The ways you find to not only alleviate but arrest unhelpful levels of stress from becoming the norm in your life will be your own. 

Living a resilient life incorporates the ability to sense the signs of stress overload, changing your relationship to the situation and learning from the experience, enabling you to deal more effectively with similar situations in the future.

Igniting Your Passion Through Clarity of Purpose & Focused Action

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