How do you respond to stress and setbacks? Do you dwell in the negative feelings for a while? Or do you bounce back to a positive state of mind relatively quickly?
Just as each person has a unique fingerprint and a unique face, each of us also has a unique emotional profile. And that emotional profile dictates how we handle stress and setbacks.
Even people who share similar backgrounds respond in dramatically different ways to the same stressful or negative experience. The coping responses differ in kind, intensity, and duration.
Emotions Play a Role in Stress and Setbacks
Neuroscientists are beginning to place human emotions on a par with cognition. In other words, as we change our thoughts, we can also change our emotions. This has huge implications for stress management.
The brain’s neuroplasticity—the ability to change its structure and function in significant ways—can enable a person bounce back from adversity in more successful ways. Specifically, experiments have shown that when cognition is engaged in positive thoughts, and when we reflect on how to respond to these thoughts, we will be more resilient from an adverse situation. We will bounce back quicker from stress and setbacks.
As I have often reported, you can only change your emotions by changing your thinking. For example, when you hear something not to your liking you can become offended—or you can make a choice, such as, “I disagree with what I have heard but will not allow it to offend me.”
In the end, cognition always precedes emotion. And it is a key way to overcome stress and setbacks from virtually any situation.
What are you doing today to help yourself manage stress and setbacks?