Stress Wärnings: Be aware of your resources

Stress occurs when there is a perceived imbalance between demands and resources. It is therefore important to address stressors, perception and resources when dealing with stress, as often the importance of resources is overlooked. 

Resources are key
Resources are the aspects of ourselves and of our lives that give us a sense of well-being, competence, security and strength.

Resources can both be external: like places we love to be, things we like to do, and people whose company we enjoy etc.

And they can be internal: like personality traits, professional capabilities, good physical condition, and health, religion and spirituality etc.

When we lose contact 
When we suffer from stress, we lose contact with our resources in two ways.

Firstly, we begin to focus on everything we cannot do (or have time for) – we lose touch with everything we can and everything we have. 

Secondly, we often stop doing what is actually good for us, such as eating healthy food, seeing people we care about, exercising etc. 

Vital to stay aware
This is an understandable reaction, because the body perceives itself to be ‘in danger’ and thus focuses solely on that danger. The unfortunate thing about that reaction is that there is even less to counterbalance the stressors, and the imbalance and dissatisfaction thus increase.

That is why an important part of the fight against stress is to become aware of your resources. By drawing on, nurturing and developing these areas in your life, you increase your resilience to the negative consequences of stress. 

While it’s important to remember that your resources can’t directly counteract a particular stressor, they can reinforce your overall well-being, thus enhancing your resilience to stressors. 

Try this exercise!
Take a moment to reflect on what the three biggest resources in your life are right now.For inspiration, consider external resources – such as work, family situation, friends, leisure activities, finances and housing – and internal, such as personality traits, skills, physical condition, health, religion and spirituality.

Notice what’s happening inside you when you think about and connect with your resources, and what thoughts and feelings appear and what happens to your body? You may find that your shoulders suddenly lowered and that your breathing deepened – all signs of your nervous system relaxing. 

Then think about what small steps you can take to enhance your contact with your resources in your daily life? 

Take good care of yourself!