#1 Resilience-Building Strategy

There are different ways to describe resilience: bouncing back from challenge, perseverance, grit, strength, keeping going.

But the most accurate and well-rounded description of resilience is the capacity to prepare for, recover from, and adapt in the face of stress, challenge, and adversity.

Really, you can think of resilience as your “inner battery” - how much energy you have available to handle life. When you have low resilience, your inner battery is running low - in the yellow or red - and it is more difficult to stay composed and stay in charge of how you think, feel, and act. When you are resilient, your inner battery is charged - in the green - and you can stay calm and composed yet active, make wiser choices, maintain a positive attitude, and find flow through challenge.

It is important, then, to keep your inner battery charged if you want to have healthy relationships, be more productive at work, find creative solutions to problems, and decrease stress in your life.

How do you keep your inner battery charged?

The #1 strategy to charge your inner battery is to get sleep. Sleep is highly underrated in our busy, distracted culture. Research suggests that you need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to function optimally, and 5-6 hours to function with any kind of adequate performance.

In fact, there was an interesting study done that determined that after being awake for 19 hours, our performance is equivalent to what it would be if we were legally intoxicated, as in having a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08. So, technically, after being awake for 19 hours, we are considered not coordinated enough to drive!

Also, you cannot train your body to need less sleep, and there is no one that can go without sleep.

There was another study that assessed the performance of participants that had sleep restrictions for a week. The participants were assigned to one of four groups, each of which was allowed a certain number of hours in bed to sleep- one group got 9 hours, the other groups got 7, 5, or 3. The study clearly showed that the fewer hours each group was permitted to sleep, the lower their performance as the week progressed.

That’s not really that surprising. But what really surprised the researchers was how long it took the participants to recover from this sleep restriction. They thought that 3 nights of 8 hours of sleep would be enough for them to return to their pre-sleep-restricted performance level. It turns out that that was not enough. Guess how long it took? It took 2 weeks!

What does that mean for you? It means you can’t just catch up on sleep over a weekend. It is important to get 7-8 hours of sleep every day.

How do you feel when you don’t get enough sleep? Tired. Drained. That’s because you didn’t get enough sleep to recharge your inner battery and replenish your energy stores.

How well can you control your reactions to irritating and frustrating situations and interactions when you don’t get enough sleep? Probably not that well. That’s because you didn’t get enough sleep to recharge your inner battery, making it more difficult to regulate your emotions.

When your inner battery is not recharged with sleep, it is easier to get stressed. But here’s the kicker: experiencing stress throughout your day then makes it harder to get sleep at night. It’s a vicious cycle! Less sleep, more stress. More stress, less sleep.

What is there to do?!

#1 strategy: take sleep seriously. Get the sleep you can when you can.

Do NOT underestimate the importance of sleep. Turn off the tv earlier in the evening. Put down the phone sooner. Close the book after the first 10-minute timer goes off. Get to bed. Get to sleep. If you’re anything like me, if you honestly look at your bedtime routine, you can spot your  chosen methods of procrastination.

What if I simply can’t get that much time in bed? What if I’m a farmer and it’s harvest? What if I’m a nurse and I have to pull a mandatory double shift? What if I’m a parent and I have to be up at all hours for my babies? Am I out of luck?

Like I said, sleep is the #1 strategy, it’s very important, and no one can go without sleep completely. But you can help charge your inner battery in other ways.

#2 strategy to charge your inner battery: emotional regulation throughout your day.

Emotional regulation is always an important skill to have, but it is especially beneficial if you are sleep restricted because of work or because of young children that won’t sleep, if you are going through a challenging time, or if you want more restful, regenerative sleep (less stress, more and higher quality sleep).

Want to learn to regulate your emotions, improve your sleep, charge your inner battery, and build resilience? Work with us. Start here!

Here’s to conquering stress.

With heart,

The Stress Experts

Practical Strategies to Deal With Daily Stressors

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