“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
Exhibit ‘A’: Stress and the Workplace
Most experts agree: we are working longer, harder, and less effectively. Part of the reason for this ineffectiveness is the prevalent belief that busyness equates to productivity. Here’s a perfect example: most workplaces give their workers two 15-minute breaks to use during the day. Nevermind that most experts are adamant about the brain needing a break every hour – not every 4.
The workplace, though arguably society’s most significant source of stress on a day-to-day basis, isn’t the only factor. Money, relationships, traffic, current events, lousy people, and straight-up bad luck all contribute to the stress epidemic facing the United States and much of the world.
But did you know that some people can weather pretty much any storm and be no worse for the wear?
These people have incredible resilience. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resilience as:
‘The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors.’
Resilience, in other words, is “bouncing back” from stressful experiences.
Habits of Resilient People
How are some people able to take a punch and stand right back up? How can they not become overwhelmed with stress or despair?
It’s all mindset. “He is able who thinks he is able.” ~ Buddha
Less-than-resilient people think their inherent personalities are fixed – also known as a ‘fixed mindset.’ The resiliency of stress-busters stems from a mindset of growth. How do you cultivate this frame of mind? Through routine behaviors, or habits.
Here are eight such practices:
1. They Have a Support System
“No person is an island.”
It’s essential to understand that resilience can stem from the internal and the external. In other words, one’s personality (habits, mindset, etc.) isn’t the only factor.
People who prevent being overtaken by stress lean on all tools and all methods available; including family and close friends. Without a solid support system, many resilient individuals would have much more difficulty maintaining equanimity.
2. They Don’t Do Drama
Gossipers and drama queens create a toxic environment (read: tons of stress) everywhere they go. People who avoid being overstressed pay these people no mind – and they’re better off for it.
Have you ever met a resilient drama queen? If so, they’re probably not as buoyant as you think. Gossip and drama drain the energy resilient people need to forge ahead; hence, they avoid them like the plague.
3. They’re Always Improving
People who avoid excessive levels of stress are some of the most successful because they allocate their time and energy to improving themselves. These resilient souls know and accept that they are nowhere near perfect – and use self-improvement as a means of giving them an advantage.
People who roll with the punches don’t necessarily avoid being punched– they simply know how to absorb the blow and continue the fight.
4. They’re Proactive Energy Managers
Buoyant personalities know themselves very well. They understand that energy is a finite resource, and they proactively manage that energy.
They may read a book instead of going out because there’s a tough day ahead; or maybe they’ll sleep an extra hour, eat a smaller meal, and get a quick workout. In short, they know what needs to be done and make sure they have the “get up and go” when the time comes.
5. They Know Their “Why?”
Knowing your “Why” behind everything you do makes stressful situations much easier to deal with. People who bounce back always seem to have a goal – personal, professional, or otherwise – that they’re actively working towards. And when times get tough, as they inevitably will, the resilient person remembers their “Why?”
6. They Strengthen Their Weaknesses
Resilient people are just that – people; people with strengths and weaknesses, just like everyone else. However, people who kick stress in the butt actively work on improving their weaknesses, which is the opposite of today’s “double down on your strengths and forget your weaknesses” attitude in society.
7. They’re Highly Self-Aware
Self-awareness is all about helping us get in touch with our psychological and physiological needs – understanding what we need, what we don’t need, and when it’s time to ask for some help. They’re excellent at listening to and following the subtle stress cues given off by their body and mind – the heart of self-awareness.
8. They Practice Acceptance
Stress and pain are a part of life. As with any event, emotional or otherwise, stress and pain comes and goes. Coming to grips with the stress or pain – as opposed to ignoring or suppressing it (which never works) – is much healthier, emotionally. Temporary stress and pain also provide another obstacle to be overcome on the way to self-mastery.