It’s all about resiliency: Renew yourself!
This is part of a series of articles discussing various aspects of stress and how we can learn to bounce back from stressful occurrences.
It’s not all bad
All of us experience stress in our lives and not all of it is bad for us. We’ve come to think that the word only has a negative connotation but without stress we wouldn’t be motivated to get out of bed in the morning.
A certain amount of stress actually helps us build resilience so we can handle the major stressors that come our way. It can help us perform better. The butterflies in our stomach when we’re giving a presentation tell us that it’s important to us. It allows us to defend ourselves. Stress gives us energy when we need it.
Let’s face it, we’d probably be pretty bored if life were always on an even keel. We certainly wouldn’t give our best to whatever it is we’re doing without a healthy dose of it.
It’s the build-up of chronic, insidious stress that is so debilitating, that drains our energy and makes us incapable of bouncing back. Being late for an appointment, again! Losing the connection on your cell phone during an important call. Your computer freezes for the umpteenth time. Not being able to find your keys.
Then we have our self-talk. Berating ourselves for the things that went wrong, even if they were out of our control. Saying things to ourselves that we wouldn’t say even to our worst enemy, let alone a loved one. Rehashing situations from the past.
How about all the fiction we create for ourselves? What if I’m late again? What if I have to use up my savings to pay the taxes? What if I don’t succeed with this project? What if...
On top of that we’ve developed poor coping strategies. Most of us haven’t been taught about self-awareness, about emotional self-control.
It’s not just how we deal with it - some people just have more of it than others. Research has shown that top executives are often chronically stressed. It’s the nature of what they do. It’s estimated that they will have 8 to 12 "annoyances" on a good day, often six days a week. Female executives with a family may have seven days of this!
Our bodies weren’t designed for this stress load. We must give back to ourselves. If the battery is empty, it’s useless. It needs to be re-charged. If you keep driving a car on the highway, never stopping for gas, it’s ultimately going to run out of gas. In humans, we call this a burnout.
Somehow we think we’re invincible - that our bodies will just keep on, keeping on. Look around you at the degree of dis-ease in the world. This should be testament enough to the fact that at some point the body is going to say NO MORE!
How to renew your energy
You can prevent this. You have the ability to renew your energy. Just think about how much better you'll be able to enjoy your life with more energy!
Throughout this series of articles I’ve given numerous tips on renewal. Here are just a few:
› recognise the people, situations and things that allow you to change; that supply you with energy.
› analyse your energy drainers and learn how to handle it.
› use breathing to activate the relaxation mechanism of the body - the parasympathetic system.
› monitor your thoughts and your communication with yourself.
› moderate exercise and good nutrition. There is so much written about these two - I shouldn’t have to mention them - but they’re too important to leave out.
All of the above are also examples of what self-awareness is and the benefits you can experience once you begin to develop this skill. Because it is a skill - it does not come naturally to us. We do need to learn how to use it!
Of course knowledge is only power if you use it. Will you use it? I hope so. Your body will be grateful, of that I’m sure!