Feeling like you couldn’t cope if things went wrong, if life became super challenging, is a fear overthinkers share. It’s behind a lot of the What If-ing and the need to overplan and be in control at all times. There’s a skill we can all develop and strengthen to help us feel able to cope – resilience.
In this episode we look at:
Pressing Pause Podcast episode 47 The most valuable skill we can develop
Welcome to Pressing Pause, the podcast for overthinkers.
I’m Gabrielle Treanor and I’m here to share with you ideas, inspiration and actions to empower you to spend less time overthinking and worrying and more time enjoying your life.
Hello and welcome to episode 47. Quick announcement – the early bird special offer on my new online course, Worry Less for Life– how to calm your mind, build resilience and enjoy life more, ends tonight, Wednesday 13 March at 10pm. So if you’ve been thinking about joining me and want to save money hop on over to worrylessforlife.com to enrol in the course now.
Now, on to today’s episode.
Having the feeling that if life was to get super stressful, if things were to go wrong you wouldn’t be able to handle it, you wouldn’t be able to cope, is unnerving, it’s worrying, and it’s something that overthinkers fear, driving them to what if all the things that could go wrong. So when life does throw you a curveball, when things get difficult, you feel overwhelmed, unable to cope and an already stressful situation feels a whole lot more stressful.
This is where resilience comes in and its importance and value to us all, especially overthinkers. Resilience is being able to adapt and respond when life gets stressful and things go wrong, whether it’s the big or little stuff. So whether it’s losing a loved one, being made redundant or the washing machine breaking how resilient you are will impact how able you feel to deal with life’s challenges. As we go about our lives difficulties and challenges come up all the time and the more resilient we are the better able we are to not let these stresses derail or overwhelm us.
Knowing that you are resilient, believing that you won’t completely fall apart and be incapable of functioning if something bad happens gives you strength, reassurance and courage. All of which is very welcome to us overthinkers because if you’re less afraid of how badly you’d cope if life became really hard, that means you’re less afraid of life. And you spend less time worrying and ruminating about what could go wrong and how awful you’d feel. So the perpetuating circle of worry loses its momentum. You don’t feel the need so strongly to overthink every possible scenario and how you’d deal with it because you have more faith in yourself and your resilience that you would be able to cope.
And the great news is that resilience isn’t a trait you’re born with it’s a skill you can work on, develop and strengthen so you can become more resilient. It’s about being mentally and emotionally strong but that doesn’t mean that you’re hard as nails and you’re immune to upset or pain. Resilient people experience the same amount of challenges, upset, pain and difficulties as less resilient people, but they’re able to adapt and respond to the circumstances without being completely floored by them.
There are lots of ways that you can build resilience so I’m going to touch upon just a few of them here.
Now, you may think that I’m using this as an excuse to say yet again that you need to take care of yourself and your own needs and, really, how is that going to help you build resilience? But, honestly, it does. When you’re run down and worn out, when you aren’t eating well, getting fresh air and quality sleep, when you’re beating yourself up for something you did or didn’t say or do, when you’re already feeling stressed out, how on earth will you be able to cope when a new challenge crashes into your life?
To be able to handle the tough stuff, to build your resilience to deal with life when it takes a nosedive, you need to be mentally, emotionally and physically strong. So that means nourishing yourself, making sleep a priority, getting some fresh air and movement, and doing what you enjoy, what rejuvenates you and allows you to feel able to cope with life. What that looks like is entirely personal to you, it could be having time to read quietly every day, going to a spin class three times a week or a regular night out with your friends. You know how difficult everyday, ordinary life feels when your energy battery is on low so by taking care of your own needs, not just everyone else’s, you’ll build your resilience and feel better able to cope when things get tricky.
Allowing yourself to feel what you’re feeling rather than denying your emotions or pushing them away allows you to deal with them and move forward. While we don’t want to feel scared, sad, unsure or angry pretending it’s not happening doesn’t make those feelings go away. By acknowledging the feelings and that it’s hard to feel them, by being compassionate with ourselves, we learn to cope with them and so be less afraid of these challenging feelings. Listen to episode 18 for more on dealing with difficult emotions.
Encourage yourself to do things that feel a little bit stretchy out of your comfort zone, not full on terrifying, but a little way out of what feels completely comfortable. Every time you do something new or something that feels difficult, unknown or challenging, you’re building your resilience. You’re showing yourself that you can do hard things, that you can deal with it. It won’t always work out, things will go wrong, sometimes you’ll fail and that’s okay, that’s part of life, it’s not possible for everything to go right all the time. But by having a go, looking for what you can learn from the experience, acknowledging and rewarding yourself for trying something new or difficult will strengthen your resilience. You’re building up this bank of experiences to show yourself what you’re capable of.
When you’re in the midst of a challenge, when you’re dealing with something really difficult in your life, look for what you can and can’t control in the situation. Some aspects of it might be completely beyond your power so to spend your time wishing it was different won’t get you anywhere but more frustrated and upset. By looking at what you do have influence over, however small it might be, you can take action in that area and do what you can to respond to the circumstances.
Look around you for who can help and support you at this time. Resilient people know that it’s okay to ask for help, to be vulnerable and to actively seek support from wherever feels right for them. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak or that you’ve failed to cope, everyone needs help and support throughout their lives and having people to lean on, to talk with, to provide practical support will give you a greater chance of dealing with whatever the challenge is and coming through it in better shape than if you tried to soldier on alone.
It is absolutely possible for you to build and strengthen your resilience so that you feel and are better able to cope when life gets really challenging, and by doing so you can reduce how much time you spend overthinking too.
I know from my own experience how crucial resilience is to helping you to worry less so you can enjoy life more, which is why a big chunk of my new course, Worry Less for Life, is devoted to building it. We go more in-depth on how you can strengthen and build your resilience, practical actions you can take and ways to work on your mindset so you feel emotionally stronger and better able to cope with life’s curveballs.
Resilience is actually the middle section of the course, we start with focusing on how to calm your mind and we finish with exploring all the ways you can find, create and experience more joy in your life every day. Worry Less for Life – how to calm your mind, build resilience and enjoy life more – is my most comprehensive course to date and I wish it had been around when I was struggling with a thought tornado for a mind, getting stuck going over the past, second guessing the future and what if-ing everything possible. That’s why I’m creating this course, it’s why I’m pouring into it my years of learning, experience, training, everything I’m researched from positive psychology all of which I’ve tried and tested out on myself over the years to calm my mind, build resilience and to enjoy my life so much more than I used to.
If you’re curious about the course go to worrylessforlife.com to read all about it, what’s involved, what you get and how it can make a difference to you. And, as I said, the early bird special offer ends at 10pm tonight, Wednesday. I would love for you to join me.
You’ll also find a link in the show notes for this episode 47 at gabrielletreanor.com/podcast.
Thanks for listening, until next time, lovely people.
Throughout this website and my work when I refer to women I include people identifying as women.
If you have, or think you may have, a mental health problem that requires professional diagnosis or treatment, please consult a mental health care professional and your GP.
You can also talk to the people at Mind on 0300 123 3393 or SANE on 0300 304 7000 or Samaritans on 116 123.
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