• Paul Radkowski

Building Stress Resilience

Can you learn to be more resilient? Absolutely, the following are skills you can apply.

During an eight-week study participants that suffered from high blood pressure went through a training program to build hardiness and resilience. The result was lowered blood pressure and improved wellness in all participants in the group.

Try practising these three self check-ins to improve your stress coping skills and resilience.

1. Focusing – Do a daily check (ideally a few times a day) to recognize signals in your body that something is wrong, including headaches, neck tightness or stomach knots.

  • Notice if these physical symptoms are worsening under stress and mentally review situations that may have caused this reaction.

  • Ask yourself “What’s keeping me from feeling terrific today?”

Focusing in this way on a regular basis will increase your sense of control over stress and help you put yourself into a better position, psychologically and physically. You'll be more aware and proactive to respond to stress symptoms, rather than allowing them to build up causing you to respond reactively once they have already gained momentum.

2. Reconstructing Stressful Situations – Think about a recent stressful episode.

  • Record three ways that it could have gone better (it may help to focus on someone who handles stress well and what they would have done differently).

  • Then three ways it could have gone worse.

The key is to notice that things could have been worse and most importantly to realize that you can think of healthier ways to cope.

3. Compensating Through Self-improvement – It’s important to distinguish between what you can and cannot control, and to recognizing that some stress is unavoidable.

  • Practise regaining control by taking on a new challenge or self-improvement task like swimming or learning a foreign language for example.

Mastering a new skill or committing to an activity that you choose, puts you in control and is a phycological reminder and way of reassuring yourself that you can cope.

I encourage you to commit to this check-in once a day for the next week and see what you notice.