Keep up
Written by Doctor G

You don’t have to “keep up” with anyone else’s stress


I’m in Melbourne, FL this week, working with the faculty and students of Florida Institute of Technology. Yesterday I met with student leaders and athletes from all over campus to talk about stress – and wow do they have some! I’m not worried about their stress, though – that’s normal. They are navigating a LOT of change and it’s mostly helping them get closer to the life they want. They did almost universally express one sentiment that does worry, however. Most of the students who spoke up or met with me after downplayed their own stress because they know people who “have it worse.”

It’s great to have enough insight to put your own struggles in perspective. It’s NOT good to think that you’re not struggling “enough” to ask for help, deserve support, or to even offer yourself any empathy. And that’s what I heard over and over.

Do you do this?

Do you think to yourself – or say outloud – sure, my family member has this awful thing happening that I’m caretaking them through, my work in in crisis due to an unexpected problem, my home is in some chaos and I have seventeen “must do” items on my to do list that I have no idea when I’ll get to, but there are people who are dealing with Much Worse Things so I can’t complain? Yeah. Me too.

That attitude is not useful. As a matter of fact, that feeling of unworthiness or pettiness makes you LESS resilient.

Toughing it out doesn’t toughen you up. It wears you down.

Resilience is not denial. Resilience requires you to have real emotions (awful news, I know) AND move forward with positive action. You deserve your honest reaction to your stress. Do not put your stress on someone else’s “stress meter” because it’s not theirs, it’s yours. Don’t waste your time comparing your stress to someone else’s, it won’t help you or them.

Your stress deserves your attention and all the resources and support you can bring to bear on it. Stop stealing your own options because you think your stress isn’t bad enough or your situation isn’t deserving enough. Get the help and support you need to handle what is happening. THAT will make you more resilient.

Is there something you could use a hand with but you’ve hesitated to reach out for that hand? Comment and let me know!

All my best,

Dr. G

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A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
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