In this hyper-connected and hyper-busy modern world, we all are under a significant amount of stress. We face economic challenges, social issues, job demands and the negative news bombarded at us like radiation. While some stress is normal, a high level of stress can affect your mental health. It is a natural response among most people to let the stress be as it is, but if left unchecked it can seriously damage your brain. Therefore it is necessary for you to build mental resilience so that you can combat the bad stress.
THE NEED TO BUILD RESILIENCE
A number of studies have revealed the adverse effects of chronic stress on our brain. Some of them showed that it can increase the chances of getting cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. The reason behind this is that under stress our limbic system activates ‘fight or flight’ response.
Further, it increases the production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are known to increase heart rate, metabolism, and blood pressure. They also raise attention, immunity system and lowers your sensitivity to pain. Your body then reverts to normal when the stressful condition is over.
But, the problem arises when the body doesn’t return to its natural condition due to continuous stress. If the high levels of adrenaline and cortisol persist, then it causes high blood pressure problems and an imbalance in blood sugar. Muscle tissue, bone density, inflammatory responses, and immune system also gets adversely affected.
Now, these body conditions prohibit the formation of new neural networks in the hippocampus the part of the brain responsible for memory. This causes memory loss and shrinkage in the size of the hippocampus. In a nutshell, stress makes us forget things, limits mental flexibility and causes GAS (general adaptation syndrome) or burnout.
EFFECTIVE TIPS TO BUILD RESILIENCE AND PREVENT STRESS
Instead of just accepting that you have to live stressful all your life, start becoming aware of how you can reduce it. Mastering your mind will make you live stress-free and will boost your mental capabilities. The following tips will help you build mental resilience and keep stress at bay so that you can live a long and happy life. Let’s start:
1. FOCUS ON PHYSICAL FITNESS:
A healthy body always prevents the brain-damaging stress and its negative effects. According to studies, regular exercise helps keep stress at bay and enhances physical as well as mental health. In fact, according to a study happened in 2012, those who do very little exercise are more prone to stress-related atrophy of the hippocampus than those who exercise regularly.
Exercise also elevates the quality of your sleep, restores mental peace and fights off depression because of the production of ‘feel-good hormones’- the endorphins. So don’t just sit in your home all day long getting lazy. Instead, get up and beginning from today, start exercising daily.
2. EMBRACE OPTIMISM TO BUILD MENTAL RESILIENCE:
Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring reality and behaving like everything is just and fine. Instead, a better perspective is to think of optimism as a positive outlook that you can equip. A deep understanding of your problems, miseries, setbacks, and mistakes will not only help you correct it but also will remove any pressure on your mind.
Changing the way you look at your life and its aspects can provide you a wider glimpse of your current scenario. This helps in eliminating every stress that is born out of insignificant issues. You can also start collecting all the good things and memories in your life and reflect on how grateful you are to have them.
3. BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS:
We as human beings need other humans to interact and exchange feelings. You must have experienced that your stress level reduces dramatically if you express it and seek help from other people. That’s why it is important to build strong relationships and have people whom you can trust.
Caring and supportive people will make you feel confident and help you find a solution to a specific problem. Having a strong, deep and meaningful relationship acts as a protective factor against the stress that you deal with. Simply talking to a friend, parent or partner might not solve the problem but will help you share your feelings, receive optimism and figure out solutions.
4. MENTAL RELAXATION:
Just like your body needs sleep to recover and restore energy, similarly, your mind also requires relaxation to restore mental energy and peace. Relaxation by yoga, meditation or simple breathing exercises significantly eases the racing thoughts in your mind. Getting relaxed on the mental level has many positive effects on your body- it decreases hypertension, unbalanced metabolism, high respiration rate and soothes muscle tension.
One of the most crucial tips to build resilience and prevent brain-damaging stress that you can follow is to start doing meditation. This habit can build strong mental resilience and can also restore your mental peace. Additionally, some studies also suggest that walking or spending time in nature has revitalizing effects on physical and mental health.
5. BECOME A GOOD PROBLEM SOLVER:
This is another great tip to build resilience that you can follow from today. We know that finding a solution to a problem instantly squeezes the giant and insurmountable problem into an easy challenge. Research suggests that those people who can come up with a solution to a problem have lesser chances of getting stresses than others who don’t.
Start by solving the smaller problems by making a list of strategies or potential moves you will take to counter a problem. Once you get confident that you can solve problems easily, move on to tackle bigger and more challenging problems. This practice will allow you to cope-up with stress when it engrosses you in serious problems.
6. TAKE THE WHEEL:
There is a direct link between psychological empowerment and resilience to stress. You must understand that not every result is in your hands i.e. situation may turn uncontrollable for you. If it does, remember that you cannot control everything and that it is OKAY to let go. Moreover, controlling what you still can is far better than beating about the bush.
Hence, empowering yourself with the feeling of control helps you in regaining control of your life and in combating chronic stress.
7. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST:
When was the last time you nurtured yourself? Not anyone else, but only you?. Chances are you don’t even spend a tiny part of your time on yourself. This results in diminished mental awareness which gradually results in brain-damaging stress. If you lack mental awareness and struggles with high stress, you need to nurture yourself to build resilience.
Therefore, whenever stress hits you, never ignore your own needs like losing appetite, sleep and ignoring social communication. In simple words, put yourself first and start making time for activities that you truly enjoy doing.
8. MAINTAIN YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR:
If you are able to laugh at your miseries and problems in life then you certainly have high immunity towards stress. People with a good sense of humor tend to easily pass the bad phase of their life. In this way, if you maintain your funny bone not only you will beat chronic stress but will also enjoy the numerous benefits of laughter.
9. STOP AND TAKE A BREAK:
Daily tasks, office work, and other responsibilities sometimes pile up to form ceaseless worries. Time away from your current daily routine will make you feel more energized and refreshed. It will also allow you to reflect on your life and make important decisions to increase your mental calmness. If you are just rushing in your life from task to another, you need to stop and take a break. You can go out for a walk, meet your friends or just sit back and relax. You can also go for a vacation once in a while to rejuvenate your mental energy.