Recent studies have shown that when it comes to stress, the way we frame our discomfort has powerful effects on how we cope with and overcome challenges. Being resilient in the face of life adversity is something that psychologists have been interested in for a long time, but learning to be a resilient person can be as simple as changing your perspective on the pain you experience.
The stress experience - how do you see stress?
Much of the available self help literature out there has instilled in us a culture of avoiding unhappiness and stress at all costs. But the way you frame negative experiences can change the way you deal with them. If stress is seen as something out of our control, something to be resisted or something unacceptable, we deny ourselves the chance to learn from the experience and develop true courage.
On the other hand, by learning to engage fully with failure, overwhelming feelings or fear, we lessen their grip on us and open our hearts and minds to solutions and ways we can move forward.
Being grateful for adversity
As a matter of fact, people who cope with and thrive in difficult times have learnt to have a different perspective on stress. When you think about it, your body and mind are complex, well-evolved mechanisms that are designed to protect you from harm. If we can tune into the messages our bodies are sending us, we can learn to notice when we are overtired, when our expectations are unrealistic or when we are in environments that are not conducive to our best interests.
Try to find ways that your stress could actually be helping you. Is there something that you need to change? Is there some information that you have been avoiding or something that you need to push yourself to do? Has somebody violated your boundaries or do you need to find better habits for yourself?
Become curious about exactly what your stress and discomfort are communicating to you, and not only will you be able to really understand and control it, but you’ll be more resilient the next time a life challenge comes your way.