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Life can get stressful at times and let’s face it, we know there will always be challenges ahead. While you can’t change these facts of life, you can change your reactions. As a Tanzanian proverb states, “The wind does not break the tree that bends”. So how can you be like the tree that does not break? How can you bounce back faster in times of high stress? The trick is in developing your stress responses and building resilience so you can live a happier, healthier life.

building resilience for a healthier life
“The wind does not break the tree that bends” -Tanzanian proverb

Tips for building resilience

Stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and that’s why it’s so important to build up our tolerance to better cope with life’s stressors. Grab your stress ball and read these tips!

Hold healthy boundaries for a healthier life.

Feeling overworked has become so common these days and we’ve all heard the advice to “just say ‘no'”. Well, there’s something to that idea. Boundaries help us avoid burnout, focus on our well-being, and hold true to our values. If setting and holding boundaries is a challenge you struggle with, check out Thrive Global’s article on the topic. Boundaries help us avoid burnout, focus on our well-being, and hold true to our values.

The trick is to know what your boundaries are before you come up against them such that you recognize the trend and avoid added stress by blowing past your boundary. Let’s use football as an example; Tom Brady has honed his craft over his 20+ year career and knows precisely how long he can hold the football each play without getting sacked. He knows his limits and instinctively has to make the decision to throw the ball to avoid possibly pain or injury.

Alternatively, you see the opposite happen all the time with rookie quarterbacks that can’t get rid of the ball fast enough and a big burly linebacker comes charging straight for them – yikes. Once you identify clear boundaries, practice makes perfect. The more you implement your boundaries, the more resilient you’ll become and you might find yourself calm under pressure just like the GOAT himself.

Feeling sorry for yourself? Try this mindset shift.

Yes, life sucks sometimes. And it’s okay to be sad. But spending too much time in that space can turn detrimental. When you’re ready, shift your perspective from life is happening to you to recognize that life is actually happening for you and focus on what is within your control. You might not be able to change your circumstances, but you can change how you react to them.

When life happens for you, you focus on the silver linings. We can move from, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” into a more uplifting perspective of, “Why is this happening? What am I meant to learn from this? How will this make me better/stronger?”

I challenge you to think back to a time in your life where you were really struggling or something bad happened that you had to overcome. Firstly, congratulations for making it through! You are still here and those times are behind you – phew! Now think about what has come from that experience: what did you learn? how has that experience shaped your current life?

As we face more and more challenges in life and can derive lessons from them, it teaches us that we’re capable of more and that some things don’t phase us as much as they once might have. Just like building muscle, the more you practice this thought process, the stronger you will become in times of stress.

Find stress management techniques that work for you.

There are many different ways to cope with stress; some healthy and others not so much. Identify healthy techniques that will help you recharge and reset. You could pick a cognitive, emotional, sensory, or physical strategy – or a combination! Here are a few examples:

Find these tips and more on my Instagram @uplevelwithsteph

The Flip Side

While building resilience is critical to a healthier life, keep in mind that we are human and we still need breaks. Make sure there’s a healthy dose of rest and self-compassion in your stress management plan to help you avoid burnout. And if you find yourself moving towards burnout with too much on your plate, try this strategy I use to get unstuck.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this quote from Steve Maraboli:

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”

Let me know what works for you! I always love hearing how others are living their Best Life. Drop a comment or DM me on Instagram @uplevelwithsteph

Need more ideas for building resilience and living a healthier life? Check out Co-Founder Melissa Byone’s posts on What’s Stealing All Your Energy and 7 Steps to Create the Life You Want in 1 Year.

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