Working from home, taking care of children who are doing online schooling, missing social contact and get-a-ways all are creating heightened stress. Some days it may feel like you want to cave in from all the stress. Other days you may feel you are able to handle everything.
Being able to handle stress is known as being resilient. To find out how resilient you are, take the following short quiz from Davidson and Begley’s book The Emotional Life of the Brain.
Answer each question True or False. If you are tempted to think long and hard about a question, or if you feel that there are too many nuances and exceptions, resist. The most accurate results come from making a snap judgment about whether a question is true or false about you.
- If I have a minor disagreement with a close friend or spouse—closer to “No, it’s your turn to do the dishes” than “You cheated on me!”—it typically leaves me out of sorts for hours or longer.
- If another driver uses the shoulder to zoom up to the front of a long line of traffic waiting to merge, I am likely to shake it off easily rather than fume about it for a long time.
- When I have experienced profound grief, such as the death of someone close to me, it has interfered with my ability to function for many months.
- If I make a mistake at work and get reprimanded for it, I can shrug it off and take it as a learning experience.
- If I try a new restaurant and find that the food is awful and the service snooty, it ruins my whole evening.
- If I’m stuck in traffic because of an accident up ahead, when I pass the bottleneck I typically floor it to vent my frustration but still see the inside.
- If my home water heater breaks, it does not affect my mood very much because I know I can just call a plumber and get it fixed.
- If I meet a wonderful man/woman and ask if he/she would like to get together again, being told no typically puts me in a bad mood for hours or even days.
- If I am being considered for an important professional award or promotion and it goes to someone I consider less qualified, I can usually move on quickly.
- At a party, if I’m having a conversation with an interesting stranger and get completely tongue tied when he/she asks me about myself, I tend to replay the conversation—this time including what I should have said—for hours or even days afterward.
Give yourself one point for each True answer to questions 1,3,5,6,8, and 10. Give yourself zero points for each False answer. Give yourself one point for each False answer to questions 2,4,7, and 9; score zero points for each True answer. Anything above seven suggests you are Slow to Recover. If you scored below three, you are Fast to Recover and thus quite Resilient.
If you want to be more resilient, change what you are saying to yourself. Instead of replaying self-recrimination or angry thoughts, notice what you are saying to yourself and change the message. For example, you might be thinking, “If I just had not been so critical, my ex would still be with me.” Change this message to, “It was a hard lesson to learn, but I am grateful that I now know how to be less critical.” You are then less hard on yourself and it is compassion, not criticism, that facilitates greater resiliency.
Another thought that needs to be dispelled in order to become more resilient is “Everyday is the same and it will never end.” Realize that there will be an end to this crisis, even though it is difficult to do so during the crisis. Knowing that some of your present stressors will not be present in the future helps you to have a more positive mindset. Then you can meet each day with renewed vigor rather than a feeling of depletion.
Davidson, Richard J. and Begley, Sharon (2012) The Emotional Life of Your Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press.