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Stress Resilience – 3 ½ Strategies on Best Ways to Respond to Stress

by | Sep 8, 2020

You’re about to give a virtual presentation, you’re about to get a feared lab result, you’re about to eat your mother-in-law’s overcooked brisket again. Stress is inevitable.

How do you turn “threat stress” – BIG problem – into “challenge stress” – an opportunity you might grow from?

For many of our clients giving a presentation creates high stress. Over time our blog has focused on stage fright and the fear of public speaking. Today’s tips come from His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Desmond Tutu during their one-week conversation several years ago that culminated into The Book of Joy facilitated and written by Douglas Abrams.

#1 Stress Resilience Strategy: Perspective.
You’re aggravated that a speeding car cuts you off on the expressway almost causing a wreck. Rather than shout a stellar speech titled Road Rage, you imagine that the other driver is getting a loved one to the hospital … and it’s an emergency. You’ve reframed. The situation remains the same, but you’re calm vs. crazy. You might even have compassion for the lunatic driver and passenger.

By widening your perspective you reframe the circumstances. You’re nervous about your virtual presentation. Rather than make yourself miserable you step back and reframe. You imagine you’re talking to a good friend about stuff that matters that will create positive outcomes. You’re excited vs. anxious.

#2 Stress Resilience Strategy: Mental Immunity.
The Dalai Lama explains, “Mental immunity is just learning to avoid the destructive emotions and to develop the positive ones,” which takes time to develop. Desmond Tutu argues that negative emotions are unavoidable and that one must accept, forgive, and learn how to deal with them.

For your ability to gain stress resilience as a respected communicator – marry these two concepts. Understand what your triggers are and you become less vulnerable.

#3 Stress Resilience Strategy: Humor.
FYI – The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu are funny! They spent the whole week together laughing. At what? Themselves! Their suggestion – do not take yourself too seriously. Make fun of yourself. It makes you human and approachable.

Humor can ease stress for you and your audiences, and here are some ways to add humor (even if you are NOT Trevor Noah) into your emails, virtual presentations, and zoom meetings. First – do what His Holiness and the Archbishop do – share the idiot stuff you do. Second – look for humorous situations around you and share them. Third – practice being funny. Thanks to @MichaelGallant. He looks for the humor on purpose and his frequent responses to our blog posts are funny!

Your Bonus ½ Strategy for Stress Resilience: Ubuntu.
Ubuntu means, “I am because you are.” In The Book of Joy this concept centers on empathy and communal connection. You become more stress resilient when you think, “I’m a human being just like everyone else.” Approach your team, your competitors, those angry drivers with this attitude, “I know that just like me, he or she wishes to find happiness, to have fewer problems and less difficulty in their life.”

*** Special thanks to @BookClubLeader for bringing The Book of Joy to my attention.

*** Source: The Book of Joy, Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. Authors: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams. Penguin Random House, 2016.

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© 2020 Karen Cortell Reisman, MS, Executive Communication Author & Speaker. All rights reserved.

Want a customized Speak For Yourself® virtual workshop or consulting on how to communicate formally, informally, and electronically? *** Email Info@SpeakForYourself.com

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