How to Effortlessly Develop a Strong Mind Against Life’s Tiny Stressors
Stress does not necessarily only come from big, eventful incidents in the life
Often, tiny stressors in life can pass by us unnoticed.
Either they are not serious enough for us to pay attention to, or we use unhealthy coping mechanisms to brush them under the carpet.
However, these stressors have the potential to build up and cause harm to our long-term mental health, for example, we may be at an increased risk of anxiety and depression, substance abuse, insomnia, pain, and bodily complaints such as muscle tension.
Dr. Cal Crow, the co-founder and Program Director of the Center for Learning Connections has noticed several qualities of highly resilient people. By strengthening these traits, you can help to develop a strong mind against tiny, and often unnoticeable stress in life and help safeguard your mental health.
#1: A positive image of the future
Resilient people are hopeful and optimistic about the future. Even when the current circumstances are terrible, they are able to look at the horizon and anticipate a positive day ahead.
Instead of letting a single bad event leading to an entirely bad day, they are able to hold onto the desire to maintain a positive life.
This hope for a better future drives them to bounce back and overcome stressors, small or big.
How to do it
In order to develop this, find meaning in your life.
Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor was able to live through the terrible, life-threatening experience in Nazi concentration camps by realizing a larger purpose of life. He knew that he wanted to finish an important task, that is write his manuscript. This mission fueled his desire to live through the abuse and torture.
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” — Victor Emil Frankl
He found his meaning in the most hopeless situation.
You can find the purpose of your life anywhere. For instance, it could be a desire to achieve great financial success, or it could include making your family proud.
It could also be escaping the current negative circumstances of your life.
Envision what you need from life in the near and distant future and work towards achieving the goal. This would help you jump over the difficulties easily.
#2: Boundaries and empathy
Dr. Crow states that “resilient people are empathetic and compassionate, however, they don’t waste time worrying what others think of them. They maintain healthy relationships but don’t bow to peer pressure.”
Thus, they are able to maintain healthy relationships without compromising their values and expectations.
Having a positive relationship in your life is a great source of support against stressful events.
According to the stress-buffering model, there are certain factors such as the presence of social support systems in the form of positive relationships that act as a buffer or a support cushion against stress.
Thus developing relationships that are supportive and empathetic have the potential to contribute to mental well-being.
By providing resources, in the form of emotional support, physical help, advice, care, etc. protects the person from the adverse impact of the stressors.
How to do it
Put effort into maintaining relationships, even when you're busy.
As you design your schedule, include good, quality time with your loved ones. You can keep a time duration set for every day where you de-stress with your favorite people.
Here, you can engage in a common activity that both (or more) if you like. It could range from reading together to playing games.
#3: Focus on things under your control
I have seen countless people complain about their low views and stats on the internet.
Instead of using this as an opportunity to work harder on their craft, they blame the factors outside their control such as algorithm, website, etc. for their misfortune.
Resilient people do not see themselves as victims of their circumstances. Rather, they consider themselves capable of handling and changing their situation.
Thus, instead of spending hours crying over problematic situations, they focus their time and energy on changing the things that they actually have control over.
This allows them to distribute their limited energy on the tasks that would help them overcome the stressful circumstances, instead of lamenting over the loss of what they think they deserve.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” — Steve Maraboli
How to do it
Allow yourself time to grieve over difficulties, however, keep it timebound.
When you find yourself worrying over something, take a pause and assess whether you can control the situation.
You can assess yourself by asking this question, ‘What can I do to change this?’
If the answer is nothing, you can leave the worries and move on to more manageable situations.
One of my favorite definitions of stress calls it a response, instead of a situation or an environmental factor. Here, stress does not lie outside, rather is in control of you. Thus, by controlling your response to stressful situations, you can help safeguard your mental health.
Here’s a quick recap:
Find meaning in life so you always have something positive to look forward to.
Set boundaries in relationships, and always schedule quality time with loved ones.
Focus on what you can control. Don’t dwell on what you can’t.