How To Be Resilient: 5 Steps To Success When Life Gets Hard

How To Be Resilient: 5 Steps To Success When Life Gets Hard

You’ve probably heard A LOT about resilience in recent years.

And you might even be a bit sick of it.

But it’s so VERY, VERY important; not just because of what we’re going through and have been through but in life, generally, always.

Live will always have challenges; there will always be adversity. Learning how to not just survive it but thrive through it is one of the best things we can ever try to do …

via Eric Barker

We always hear one thing about stress: it’s bad. I haven’t checked recently but I think that’s in the Constitution. Fortunately, stress is not that simple.

Researchers asked 30,000 adults how much stress they felt in the past year – and whether or not they thought stress was a negative. Eight years later the scientists circled back. Yup, you guessed it – the high stress people were 43% more likely to have died…

But only if they believed stress was bad for their health. Let that sink in for a second. (Yes, we are holding a masterclass in WTF.)

So what about the people in that study who didn’t think stress was a negative?

From The Upside of Stress:

People who reported high levels of stress but who did not view their stress as harmful were not more likely to die. In fact, they had the lowest risk of death of anyone in the study, even lower than those who reported experiencing very little stress. The researchers concluded that it wasn’t stress alone that was killing people. It was the combination of stress and the belief that stress is harmful.

And this isn’t some one-off weirdo study. If you specifically study people who have a positive vision of stress you find they’re healthier, happier and more productive.

From The Upside of Stress:

Crum’s research shows that people who believe stress is enhancing are less depressed and more satisfied with their lives than those who believe stress is harmful. They have more energy and fewer health problems. They’re happier and more productive at work.

A heckler from the back of the room: “Oh yeah? Well, what about PTSD?”

PTSD is terrible. No dispute. But let’s talk about urine for a second. (Gross, I know, but I guarantee this is the only urine story you’re going to hear today so bear with me.) Can you predict PTSD based on stress hormone levels immediately after a traumatic incident? Well, somebody checked.

Researchers had people who had just survived a major car accident pee in a cup. One month later they checked in with them. The result? Patients who did not go on to develop PTSD had higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol immediately after the incident. More stress equaled less PTSD.

In fact, some psychotherapists now administer stress hormones during therapy and it helps anxiety sufferers and PTSD patients improve.

Study after study shows people – everyone from middle school students to Army Rangers — who have bigger surges of adrenaline and cortisol perform better under pressure. You know what doesn’t help? Staying calm.

From The Upside of Stress:

Despite most people’s belief that some adrenaline improves performance, but too much impairs performance, the evidence suggests otherwise. When it comes to performing under pressure, being stressed is better than being relaxed.

And it’s not all about performance either. People who experience more stress say their lives are more meaningful.

From The Upside of Stress:

In fact, every measure of stress that the researchers asked about predicted a greater sense of meaning in life… In contrast, the researchers reported that among individuals who appeared to be the most unhappy, experiencing high levels of shame and anger and low levels of joy, “there was a notable lack of stress.”

What the heck? Then why do we always hear that stress is terrible? Well, the whole idea started in 1936 with an endocrinologist names Hans Selye. His initial experiments did show stress was bad. But with more research he changed his tune. Later he would go on to actually recommend good stress as an antidote to bad stress saying, “There is always stress, so the only point is to make sure that it is useful to yourself and useful to others.”

Turns out stress is a lot more nuanced than we’ve been led to believe. Handled properly, it can make you smarter and more successful. It can make life meaningful. It can even make you more compassionate and kind. But the difference between good stress and bad stress lies in our mindset. How we perceive and interpret those physiological changes in our body. With the right mindset, stress is your friend.

So what do we need to do – other than a product recall on our stress-is-always-bad beliefs? For those answers we’ll turn to Stanford University’s Kelly McGonigal. Her eye-opening book is The Upside of Stress.

Ready to be more resilient? Let’s get to it…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE