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How to Lessen Stress by Becoming More Resilient
To decrease emotional eating, learn to become more resilient which will decrease your stress and bounce you back from stressful occurrences more quickly. Who wouldn’t want to become more resilient? Now there’s a book that tells you how to do it.
Resilience is “a set of skills—as opposed to a disposition or personality type—that make it possible for people not only to get through hard times but to thrive during and after them.” (Time magazine, 6/1/15, “Bounce back” by Mandy Oaklander, p. 38) The article is based on the book entitled Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges by Drs. Steven Southwick and Dennis Charney. They are researchers who believe that people can train themselves to become more resilient no matter what dysfunction or trauma they have experienced in their lives. They arrived at this conclusion through studying changes in the brain after participants underwent mindfulness and resilience training. Yes, the brain actually changes!
Here are their techniques for developing resilience:
1) “Develop a core set of beliefs that nothing can shake.” I’d add to be sure that your beliefs are rational and evidence-based. See The Rules of “Normal” Eating for help.
2) “Try to find meaning in whatever stressful or traumatic thing has happened.” I’d add that the meaning can’t be that you’re somehow deserving of stress or trauma.
3) “Try to maintain a positive outlook.” Detach from negative thoughts.
4) “Take cues from someone who is especially resilient.” Study resilient folks you know.
5) “Don’t run from things that scare you. Face them.” Tell yourself you’re courageous.
6) “Be quick to reach out for support when things go haywire.” Join and participate in my Food and Feelings message board at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/foodandfeelings.
7) “Learn new things as often as you can.” I’d add to be patient in your learning, rather than insist on doing things well right off the bat or expect to be perfect at them—ever.
8) “Find an exercise regimen to stick to.” The authors stress that “working the body’s muscles make people’s minds more resilient as well” by creating new neurons.
9) “Don’t beat yourself up or dwell in the past.” Exercise control over your thoughts.
10) “Recognize what makes you uniquely strong—and own it.” Everyone has strengths.
It used to be thought that resilience was due to temperament and either there at birth or not. How exciting and fortunate that this is not the case and that you can build and develop resilience. Pick one of the above techniques and start today to become more resilient. It will speed you on to becoming a more “normal” eater.