Within the mental toughness world the definition of resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures. We commonly think of setbacks as most likely to be big issues and problems such as a death, illness or separation from someone close, or alternatively career hurdles such as redundancy. These are obviously incredibly difficult times but it’s the smaller but constant everyday issues and setbacks that can wear us down even more.
They can be the practical and real external situations that stop us getting things done and can be anything and everything from traffic issues, unpleasant work colleagues, a call from school about your child in the sick bay or the even more stress inducing financial or relationship issues. They can also include the internal mental obstacles we put in the way of our progress such as feeling fearful, overwhelmed or out of control. It is for these situations that we need to develop the strategies to reduce everyday stress and resist the stress and pressure that steadily builds.
This stress if untreated and sustained can affect us in many ways including:
- emotionally through increased anxiety, depression, and anger
- behaviourally through increased drinking, smoking, gambling and other addictions
- mentally through hopelessness, apathy, forgetfulness and poor concentration
- physically through sustained increases in cortisol causing high blood pressure, proneness to infection and chronic fatigue.
Therefore it is critically important to manage your everyday stress arising from the everyday setbacks, failures and overloads.
Here are 15 ways you can reduce everyday stress:
- Build your self-esteem – this will help you to feel good about yourself and give you more control over what is happening to you. This lessens the stress from feeling helpless.
- Develop your mindset – this provides perspective to accept and expect there will be setbacks and failures and that failure is a part of success. Every setback gets you one step closer to success.
- Ensure you have regular and daily “You Time” – ideally an hour every day which you devote absolutely, entirely and selfishly to you in which you relax, recharge and replenish yourself .
- Identify what’s causing you stress and look to reduce or eliminate it. For example, if you are trying to fit too many things into your day, assess your priorities and eliminate the tasks that are not absolutely essential.
- Build strong relationships with family members or close friends that can offer you offer practical assistance and support.
- Remove bad relationships with people or situations that are hostile or threatening.
- Exercise regularly to work off steam and increase the production of endorphins, which are your body’s natural mood-booster.
- Try yoga and meditation to improve concentration and reduce stress.
- Get a good nights sleep to rest your mind. Using a consistent ‘power down’ routine (ideally free from technology, alcohol and caffeine) in the hour before you sleep will help you sleep better and then a consistent power up routine in the morning will get you going in the day with confidence.
- Avoid situations that make you feel stressed such as unnecessary arguments and conflict (or take them on to permanently remove them as a stressor).
- Eat well with plenty of the right foods and drink lots of water.
- Give up or severely limit your consumption of the “Triple Trouble” addictions of alcohol, caffeine and technology. For example can you look at your smart phone only once per hour?
- Enjoy your life by doing happy things everyday. Otherwise you lose your sense of purpose and the stress steadily builds.
- Visualise the day ahead and the likely stress points. This immediately reduces the stress because you are mentally prepared and in control of the situation.
- If all else fails and you continue to feel overwhelmed, seek professional help.
Overall you just want to feel in control and that you can comfortably manage your life over the mid term. When it gets ‘out of kilter ‘ one day or one week you want to be able to use some of the strategies above to help you can back on ‘even keel’.