Stress is everywhere today especially following a heart problem. It is possible for people to find ways to be resilient and thrive and even grow from the stress that you experience following a heart problem. The stress of heart disease can impact both mental and physical health. It is possible to find and create well-being in the midst of all the stress and health challenges you face.
Psychological resilience is an individual’s tendency to cope with stress and adversity. Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly from disruptive change, illness, or misfortune without being overwhelmed or dysfunctional. This coping may result in the individual “bouncing back” to a previous state of normal functioning, or simply not showing negative effects. Resilience is most commonly understood as a process, and not a trait of an individual.
It is important to learn and understand how to be resilient to avoid the tendency to struggle through from one crisis to the next, but develop skills to survive and become a stronger person along the way.
10 Steps to Resilience
Heart disease is frightening you have a choice, a choice to be resilient or defeated.
Tips for Resiliency: Bouncing back
- Expect ups and down in your mood. These are normal emotions to experience, if you don’t experience them that could be a problem. Quiet the voices in your head that are negative. Acknowledge the negative thought you have, stop thinking negative, give yourself a pep talk and focus on the positives in your world.
- Taking control. Focus on what you have control over. You may not have control over your heart disease, but you do have control on how you manage it. Set your goals to exercise, eat healthy, relax, stop smoking, take your medicines and love those in your life.
- Surround yourself and educate yourself with a good team, Cardiac Rehabilitation programs are great for this. Consider finding a support group or an online forum. Resist the urge to isolate yourself
- Consider what you are grateful for such as surviving, stopping smoking, weight loss, improved diet and your relationships. Fifty percent don’t survive their first heart attack. Daily find something at the beginning or end of the day in which you are thankful for.
- Keep a journal and keep track of your thoughts and progress.
- Think about your character’s greatest strengths.
- Find things you love to do. It could be some hobbies or favorite pastime. If you cannot return to these activities, what else is important to you? Who knows your favorite book, movie, inspirational quote, songs, spiritual beliefs. Share your loves and passions with others.
- Stop saying “why me?” and start asking “Why not me? How am I going to handle this?” Many get bogged down in thinking but I did everything right and still had a heart problem. Consider maybe that is why you survived the heart problem.
- Keep your mind occupied. Don’t make time to feel sorry about yourself. Helping others is a great way to boost your resilience. Mentor another who is going through a heart problem.
- Forgive, Accept and Adapt. It is easy to get angry and bitter. The best thing you can do to have resilience is to make the decision to forgive and then have the willingness to reinvent yourself. There are many inspirational heart patients out there who have thrived since surviving their heart condition.
For about 20 percent it comes naturally; people are glad to get back into the swing of life pretty quickly, feeling stronger for having weathered the storm. For others, it’s a long, slow slog through the blues until you come out the other side. Consider counseling if you continue to struggle. Fortunately, everyone can learn how to gain the health benefits of resilience: less stress, lower risk of heart disease, less depression and anxiety. Here are three ways you can strengthen your ability to bounce back:
- Cultivate an optimistic outlook, which is a key part of being resilient. Looking on the bright side is enhanced with daily meditation.
- EXERCISE Keep your body strong and limber by eating a diet powered by lean protein and lots of veggies, fruits and 100 percent whole grains. When you feel physically strong, your self-esteem increases, another vital part of resilience. Fuel your body with healthy foods avoid junk food, comfort food, alcohol, tobacco.
- Nurture your social connections. They provide security and love, and help keep emotions on an even keel. Blood pressure goes down; ability to cope goes up. So reach out and touch someone, physically and emotionally. Call a friend, go out, visit your family, talk to others about your experience.
Read more: Secret to Longevity: Resilience