If you think your own and other people’s stress levels are rising, you aren’t imagining things. A lot of those short-tempered family members and coworkers, aggressive drivers, and people gorging on fast food and sweets are reacting to heavy stress. The International Labour Organization explains that workers in both developed and developing countries are experiencing increased stress levels. These increases are due to a myriad of factors, including global challenges, political turmoil, illnesses, job changes, and organizational restructuring. This leaves many people wondering how to escape from all this stress.
As Ama Marston and Stephanie Marston explain in the Harvard Business Review, to find a long-term solution for high-stress, it is crucial to cultivate your own internal resiliency rather than simply looking for escape. They note that often people respond to stress by immediately jumping to external solutions, such as apps to help manage time, hiring a new employee to help with the work load, or changing jobs. By checking your own internal responses to stress before making external changes, you are able to change many of life’s stressors into opportunities. This allows you to develop coping skills, like adaptability, a healthy relationship to control, and continual learning. It also develops a sense of purpose and helps in leveraging important support and resources.
How do you increase resilience?
Start by reframing how you think about stress. Researchers at the University of Buffalo have found that stress exposure teaches the skills to better deal with stressors in the future. Because of this, learning to effectively cope with stress helps you grow stronger and more resilient in the future. When encountering stress, ask yourself how you can use the energy created by stress to learn a valuable lesson for the future.
Understand what you can and cannot control
Many people fall into the trap of taking responsibility for things they cannot control, and this makes them anxious. None of us can control the weather, the economy, or the crazy driver we encounter on the road. Understand what is in your sphere of influence, and focus on those things. You can control when you leave for work in the morning, but you cannot control the traffic.
Linking thought to action
It doesn’t do to simply think about stressors. You have to come up with a plan to cope with them and follow through. Often, simply taking the first step reduces stress profoundly.