We are living in a time where many people are experiencing a lot of stress and struggles with their mental health. The latest numbers from the National Pulse Survey estimates that nearly 40% of Americans are currently experiencing symptoms of either anxiety or depression. This is a 50% increase from pre-pandemic times.
In the face of this collective trauma and major stressors, having resilience is important. Our ability to adapt positively to stress will determine how resilient we are. While some people may inherently have more resilience than others, we can also become more resilient when we regulate our stress response. When we actively take control of our stress response and find healthy ways to cope through it, we become more resilient.
Here are five ways that we can all build our resilience with how we respond to stress during this time:
1) Address the Emotions You’re Feeling
In times of stress, it’s important that we pay attention to what we’re feeling. Sometimes we can’t fully understand our emotions until we pause and gradually work through them in a method that works for us, like practicing mindfulness, talking it out with someone or journaling about them. When we fully process and work through our emotions, instead of feeling consumed by them or pushing them away, we are able to complete the stress cycle and emerge from it more resilient.
2) Consider What You Can and Can’t Control
Our stress may feel heightened from the fact that we can’t control everything that’s happening around us and that there’s an element of uncertainty. Take a moment to consider the factors that you can control and the ones you can’t. When we acknowledge the things beyond our control, we can then devote our energy to the things we can change.
3) Find Social Support
Having a support system through stressful times will give us a much needed flotation device. Our friends and family can help us work through difficult experiences and make us feel less alone in it all. Reaching out to others and leaning on them when we’re stressed can help us work through things and build resilience.
4) Discover Your Greater Sense of Purpose
Having a sense of meaning and purpose in our life will guide us through these times of stress and uncertainty. Consider what gives you purpose to continue on through the more difficult experiences. It may involve your family, your work or social causes you care about, or something else tied closely to your values. We can become more resilient if we are anchored by a greater purpose.
5) Practice Basic Self-Care
Lastly, remember to take care of yourself. We will not fare well during stressful times if we aren’t getting enough sleep, exercise and eating healthy. We won’t be able to work through stress and build resilience if we can’t fulfill these basic needs. Be kind to yourself during this time and pay attention to how you can take care of your mind and body.