I’ve been studying stress management and resilience because I feel like I’m naturally really bad at both. I also see from patterns of having Crohn’s for over 20 years that my flare ups are usually related to stress. Anyone else?!🙋
Let’s define it first
👍 Doing well when you shouldn’t be
👍Your ability to withstand adversity (Resist), bounce back from adversity (Recover), and grow despite life’s downturns (Rise)
Imagine this...we all have weight on our shoulders of varying amounts throughout our life. Sometimes the weight is really, really heavy, and sometimes it feels super light. The weight is stress.
Resilience is the strength of our legs. We aren’t always able to take the weight off or decrease the amount we are carrying, but we CAN build more leg muscles!
Building resilience is like doing squats at the gym. We can’t do them just once and expect gains. We need to repeatedly practice to gain strength
Why is resilience important? Well, we have 3 options in the face of adversity:
👎 Remain disrupted (depressed, defeated, hurt, angry, etc)
👉 Go back to the status quo
👍 Grow higher than ever before BECAUSE of adversity
Also, research supports the benefits! People who demonstrate higher resilience reap physical, psychological, occupational, and social benefits
The lack of ability to cope with stress is particularly contributory to autoimmune disease and flare-ups, as stress interferes with the functioning of the immune system.
Studies have shown that protective practices directly influence our health and point out that these among other factors can reduce the progression of disease and symptoms!
Overall, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your resilience?
Ask yourself these questions:
👉 How much stress do I have in my life?
👉 How well do I cope with challenging life events?
👉 Do I do things regularly to reduce my stress?
👉 What are challenges I love to take?
👉 What are challenges I dread but do anyway?
Just note what number you rated yourself. What is interesting about that number? Is it where you want it to be? What would make it a higher number? What would make it a lower number?
Resiliency is the capacity to recover from difficulties or a person’s ability to respond positively to stress, difficulty, and hardships. What resilience is, is not just the amount of stress we have, but HOW WE DEAL WITH IT.
For all my fellow IBDers out there, you already have an incredible amount of resilience from all that you've been through!
From my personal experience, stress is the #1 contributory factor to a flare up. How about you? I started to learn that if I didn’t start responding better to stress, I’d keep having flare ups. So, I have learned I can take control of my brain
Take control by building a resilient mindset
Characteristics of resilient people:
💪Resilient people are “other centric”
💪They choose good role models
💪They carry an inspired hopeful construct of the world
💪Humility: they have accurate self-worth and self-esteem
💪Hardiness: they view challenges as opportunities for growth
💪They have a perceived sense of control
💪They feel support vs feeling lonely
Think of someone in your life who is resilient. What characteristics do they have that make them resilient? How do they view and deal with challenges? Let this person be your guide and role model
I'm still working hard at building these characteristics, and I'm by no means a pro. But I feel empowered knowing that I'm not just doomed to my old thoughts of, "I just don't handle stress well"
Notice your thoughts around challenging events or difficult life situations. Do you have a recurrent thought like I did? If so, ask yourself, "is it absolutely true?".
Challenge your thought! You don't necessarily have to believe it!
More on resilience in upcoming posts!