Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Stress is what the brain does to itself and the rest of the body when faced with a perceived threat, a challenge or even an opportunity. And, stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, exercise is form of stress.
Stress can become harmful when it goes from being intermittent to unrelenting. Chronic stress can have a serious impact on your physical and mental health due to sustained high levels of the chemicals released in the ‘fight or flight’ response.
One of the best ways to combat chronic stress and reduce the negative impacts on your physical and mental health, is to build resilience.
Resilience is your ability to cope with and bounce back from stress and adversity. Resilience helps us thrive and grow through challenging experiences. How do you build resilience?
Gratitude helps you see your situation in a way that can lessen worry and open up your thinking to new solutions. Humans aren’t hardwired to be grateful. And, like any skill worth having, gratitude requires practice. Practice daily with a gratitude journal. All it requires is noting one or more things you are grateful for on a daily basis. No fancy notebook, no computer program required.
Rewrite your story
You can benefit from reframing the personal narrative that shapes your view of the world. In the stories you tell yourself about who you are, small edits can lead to lasting change. One is example of this is a Harvard study which found that people who viewed stress as a way to fuel better performance did better on tests and managed their stress better physiologically than those taught to ignore stress.
Embracing change in life is essential to growing as an individual, but, change rarely seems natural or easy. Once you get your mind wrapped around the concept of embracing change, look for ways to incorporate change on a regular basis. Actively seek to do things differently instead of the usual routine. This not only adds change gradually into your life, it also makes things more interesting, alive and enjoyable.
Review your victories
Remind yourself of the challenges you’ve personally overcome. Review progress you’ve made. The more frequently you experience a sense of progress, even a small win, the more likely you are to be resilient over the long haul.
How does building resilience fit into the world of physical therapy?
People who demonstrate higher levels of resilience tend to recover faster from injury, manage pain better, and have better overall health measures than those who are less resilient. At Momentum Physical Therapy, we address the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of overcoming injury and pain. We work to develop trust and collaborative partnerships with our clients, which lead to better outcomes.
You will never fully eliminate stress from your life, nor would you want to because stress is a stimulus for growth. Instead, focus on practicing skills and behaviors that contribute to building resilience.
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