Six Habits of Stress-Resistant Minds

A mind capable of resisting stress knows how to adapt to changes and view opportunities where others only see problems. Here, we're going to describe how to develop this healthy approach.
Six Habits of Stress-Resistant Minds
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 11 June, 2024

Anyone can learn the habits of stress-resistant minds. Moreover, thanks to these dimensions, you can better regulate your emotions and respond more skilfully to any challenges. Indeed, since we live in such increasingly complex social scenarios that are dominated by uncertainty, it’s extremely useful to know how to put these resources into practice.

As is clearly indicated in a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, although some people possess a greater neurobiological predisposition to resilience, it’s a competence that can always be developed and improved. And, by doing so, we’re more likely to prevent complex realities such as depression or anxiety.

In this article, we’re going to explain some of the behaviors and cognitive approaches carried out by the most skilled men and women when it comes to stress resistance.

Daily life is unpredictable and challenges always appear when you least expect them. Being resistant to stress allows you to develop innovative strategies to handle difficult moments.

Having a stress-resistant mind

Does resistance equal impermeability and a lack of over-sensitivity? The answer is yes. An example is highlighted in a study conducted by the University of Colorado (United States). It claims that resistance to stress doesn’t imply the absence of a response to this mechanism, but it means knowing how to apply more adaptive responses.

That’s the key. You must face the challenges or demands of your environment without letting the psychophysiological state of stress overwhelm you.

By doing so, you’ll avoid the negative effects associated with chronic or acute stress and will recover faster from any complex circumstances. After all, you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control the way you respond.

You might like to read Seven Signs of Stress Addiction

Stress-resistant minds

There’s an old saying that goes, “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that count”. Minds resistant to stress have this ability. They know how to react when things go wrong.

For instance, work problems, bad news, relationship difficulties, and fear of the future. Life is full of challenges and we can all learn from those who are skilled in this context. So, take a look at the following dimensions that define people with stress-resistant minds.

1. They train their attention

Daniel Goleman wrote the book, Focus: Developing Attention for Excellence (2013). He claims that people capable of concentrating their mental focus on their interior and exterior navigate the world around them better, connect with themselves, and react optimally.

What’s more, a study published in Frontiers in Psychology reveals that training students in attention techniques reduces their academic stress. If you want to get started in this competence, take note of the following strategies:

  • Avoid multitasking.
  • Regulate the use of your cell phone.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Eliminate distractors in your daily life.
  • Do cognitive training exercises.
  • Practice selective attention. For example, when you listen to music, pay attention to only one instrument.

2. They adapt in innovative ways

One of the habits of stress-resistant minds is their ability to adapt to changes. People with good skills in this area don’t process the twists of fate as threats. They try to stay calm and figure out how to use these changes to gain an advantage. For example:

  • They demonstrate less resistance to change. They don’t get stuck due to denial or non-acceptance of new circumstances.
  • They’re more skilled when it comes to reflecting on possible solutions. In the face of any change or variation, they try to figure out which strategies to apply to accept or face those scenarios.
  • They accept contradictions and tolerate frustration. They understand that not every dynamic, person, or situation will fit their perspectives and that the world can’t always be as they expect it to be.
  • They have flexible minds. This more open cognitive approach helps them to think about solutions and not get stuck in the face of adversity. A study conducted by Soochow University (Taiwan) highlights how cognitive flexibility is a critical tool for student achievement.

Stress resistant people aren’t afraid of change and have flexible and creative mental approaches.

3. They know how to effectively regulate their emotions

Are you skilled at handling anguish, worry, or fear? One of the most outstanding habits of the stress-resistant is their ability to regulate their emotions. This doesn’t mean that they don’t feel anxiety, restlessness, or fear, but rather that they know how to act when these psychophysical states grip them. For instance:

  • They lean on their environment and talk about what they’re feeling.
  • They don’t get carried away by these emotional states, but rather employ strategies to channel them.
  • They employ a rational mental approach to regulate any thoughts dominated by negativity.
  • They accept and make room for each emotion they feel. They don’t resist them or displace them as if they weren’t there.
  • To channel difficult emotions, the employ specific strategies. For example, writing, sports, or art.
  • They use mindfulness to help them better regulate their emotions and reduce the impact of stress. This interesting benefit is suggested in a study conducted by the Federal University of Bahia (Brazil).

4. They’re creative and they trust in their skills

Creativity is an extraordinary channel for regulating stress and finding new strategies in the face of personal challenges. On the other hand, those who present a rigid cognitive approach tend to get trapped in the face of any problem, no matter how small.

Those who are skilled in stress resistance trust in their own skills and competencies. This gives them the confidence in themselves to face difficulties. Therefore, if you want to be more resistant to stress, bear in mind that you always have time to boost your creativity. Here are some useful strategies:

  • Get started in some artistic activity. For example, music, painting, or writing.
  • Look at what’s surrounding you from a broader perspective. Imagine, be curious, and investigate.
  • Apply a more critical approach to everything around you. Look beyond the obvious.
  • Share your time with creative people. Open yourself up to new perspectives with them.
  • Develop your divergent thinking. Think in original and innovative ways.

5. They know how to seek support

Seeking support, accepting help, and sharing your fears and vulnerabilities with others doesn’t make you weak. Quite the contrary, in fact. Indeed, those with stress-resistant minds possess this valuable virtue. They’re people with excellent socio-emotional skills.

  • They allow themselves to be vulnerable. They don’t hesitate to share with others what they’re feeling and what they need.
  • They don’t repress or hide their suffering. They understand that by letting off steam with a friend, partner, or family member, life hurts less.
  • They know when it’s best to stop and accept that they can no longer take any more. Knowing their own boundaries is a good strategy for regulating stress.

6. They’re clear about their vital meanings and purposes

In the face of any adversity, nothing is as relevant as remembering our vital meanings and purposes. For instance, think of the neurologist, Viktor Frankl and his proposals in the book, Man’s Search for Meaning (1946). To face difficult moments, you need something to hold onto.

An article published in Frontiers in Psychology points out that our modern lives often distract us from these dimensions. We don’t give them importance. However, in reality, having a purpose in life is one of the most basic human needs. This is something that the most stress-resistant minds cultivate effectively.

So, don’t hesitate to ask yourself what gives you meaning, what’s important in your life, and what gives you hope.

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.

~ Viktor Frankl ~

You might be interested to read How to Stay Calm in Anxious Times

Practice the habits of stress-resistant minds

Developing a more resilient and stress-resistant mental approach isn’t easy. In fact, it requires time, perseverance, and willpower. But, we recommend that you start these practices because your mental health and well-being will notice the benefits as the days go by. 

Remember that being strong doesn’t mean being able to handle everything or enduring all adversity. It means navigating difficulties by adapting, applying the best strategies, and knowing how to ask for help when you need it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.