Even in the face of challenging situations, there are things you CAN do to stay resilient.
What is that mysterious quality that allows some people to be poised under pressure while others of us are bobbing to keep our heads above water? Here are three practices you can do to focus and move forward:
Take control – or let it go. We often experience stress when we feel out of control. But we can be proactive. What aspects can you act on and what are those you can’t? Focus ALL your attention on where you can have an impact. Take 100% responsibility for that, and don’t expend energy on what you can’t change.
For example, my client had a boss who was a screamer. For months, he would yell at her in a meeting and she would be rattled for the rest of the day, wondering if she should leave the company. But I taught her a breathing technique to calm herself and not be hijacked by her boss’s negativity. She remained confident by understanding that his behavior was due to his limitations, not hers. She also began to frame her requests with his agenda in mind. Within a few weeks, she could leave meetings feeling positive and she was able to get a buy-in for her big idea.
Train yourself to stay steady. Do you want to stay cool-headed in the face of challenges? Your physical reaction to stress can make your emotions more intense. By learning to relax your body, you’re more likely to stay composed and collected.
Your nervous system has two parts to it, an “On” button that gives you energy so you can respond to perceived threats, and an “Off” button that brings calmness and rejuvenation. Though our bodies evolved to have a balance between the two, persistent stress means most of us are almost always switched “On.” We are therefore only using the part of our nervous system that sets us up to worry. Make it easier for yourself. Try pressing the “Off” button with a one to three-minute deep breathing exercise that will instantly relax you so you can shift your perspective and see more possible solutions.
Don’t project the worst, project the best. No matter what challenge is in front of us, our knee-jerk reaction is to worry. But that only serves to drain our energy more. Why not visualize the solution? Here’s how:
Exercise: Imagine a time in the future when the challenge has been worked out. Put yourself in this scenario. Ask your ˜future self” what she would advise you to do right now. By realizing that there is a solution for every problem, you are more apt to find creative alternatives.