When stressed, our bodies go through many changes to enable us to become capable of dealing with the situation. We may become more alert, faster and stronger, enabling us to be able to deal with problems. It is common for our heart rate and blood pressure to increase, and adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones, to pump through the body.
Stress can also cause the prefrontal cortex, which controls the brain, to temporarily shut down. This area of the brain is needed to problem solve, control our impulses and regulate emotion. Resilience is therefore related to how well the prefrontal cortex is activated. Under stress our ability to recover from, adapt to, or find a solution to stress or challenges may be diminished. We have different ways of reacting, responding and recovering from stressful events; by becoming emotional, angry, resentful, withdrawing from the situation or simply motivating us to do better. Even the most resilient people have down days. Here are some tips to help build your resilience:
1.Improve confidence – Build positive beliefs in your abilities. You can do anything you set your mind to as long as you remain positive and optimistic. Believing you can achieve something is the first step to achieving it.
2.Develop stronger social networks – having positive, caring and supportive people around you, who truly want the best for you, will not make your troubles disappear, however ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. They will be able to offer support, give you positive feedback and help to think of possible solutions to your problems.
3.Embrace change – be flexible and learn to adapt. This will enable you to be better equipped with the tools you need to deal with issues that may arise.
4.Develop your skills – both general and problem-solving skills. This should be a constant process; you will always be improving and developing skills through different experiences and opportunities in life. As time goes by, as long as you adopt to the new skills and adapt to them, you will carry on improving, thus becoming more resilient to changes.
5.Be kind to yourself – It can become easy to neglect and ignore your needs when stressed, but this will decrease your ability to be resilient when needed. Not eating, losing your appetite, not exercising or sleeping properly are common reactions to stress. Focus on yourself. Make time for things you love, such as hobbies. By continuing to take care of yourself, when in crisis, will improve your overall health and resilience.