SOS sign on Earth looking from outer space
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Living in fear, anxiety, and prolonged stress can challenge even the kindest person to react in not-so-positive ways. Just as flashing the Morse Code signal SOS will surely send help your way, master these 10 signs of strength (SOS), and the help may be in the form of improved relationships, greater peace of mind, better self-care and enhanced communication.

1. Respond instead of react.

Survival is hardwired into your brain. Any upset can initiate this automatic fight-flight defense system and cause you to lash out in words or actions. However, if you wait for just a quarter-second, the more advanced, logical part of your mind will get the same “danger” message. That’s less than the amount of time needed to take a breath. Next time you’re triggered, instead of giving away your power and risking damage to a meaningful relationship, take a breath. Allow yourself the opportunity to choose a happier response.

2. Identify and learn from your judgments.

Judgments are often a reflection of inner needs and values. When you’re not living in alignment with your values, or not getting your own needs met, it’s easy to become overly sensitive, negative, and dissatisfied with life. This tendency can lead to unhealthy ways of coping. Make time for self-reflection and explore what may lie underneath those opinions, thoughts, or feelings.

3. Reach out when you need it.

Asking for help is not a weakness. It’s a sign of strength and self-acceptance. No one can know everything about everything. So don’t be embarrassed or afraid. Ask for what you need! Just think, one question could reduce your frustration and move you one step closer to your desired outcome.

4. Keep your word—especially to yourself.

Beautiful palaces are built on this foundation of integrity. If you don’t have faith in what you say, how will others? Not being true to your word will tear down your self-esteem and erode your self-confidence. Vow to say what you mean and mean what you say.

5. Speak what is true for you.

We all have opinions, preferences, needs, and desires that make us unique. No need to belittle or make someone else wrong. Just speak for yourself. The door to authenticity opens when you speak your truth from a place of compassion and respect.

6. Take time for yourself.

Taking personal time is not narcissistic or indulgent. It’s merely smart self-care. Caring for yourself helps you stay healthy in mind, body, and spirit. And it helps you care for others better as well. Like they remind you on every airplane flight, put your oxygen mask on first!

7. Know what you want.

How can you live a life of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment when you haven’t discerned what’s truly important? How can you move forward when you’re not clear what it is you want? Living by default or by other people’s whims is not a life well-lived. Take the time to figure this one out. It’s worth it.

8. Don’t take things personally.

Sorry, but It’s not about you. Everyone sees and hears life through their own personalized filters: their fears, disappointments, upbringing, education, limiting beliefs, and more. So, even if it seems personal, 99.9% of the time, it isn’t. Dropping this habit can be the one thing that changes your life the most.

9. Honor your limits.

Know your strengths. Acknowledge your weaknesses. And live accordingly. You’re great at some things and not so good at others. Getting the two mixed up or trying to do more than you’re able sets you up for frustration and disappointment. Practice saying “no.” Because in the long run, setting boundaries is an act of caring for yourself and others.

10. Recognize fear as a guide, not a barrier.

Fear is that instinctive part of your brain signaling you to “pay attention.” And it’s the same energy as excitement. They’re like two sides of the same coin. So next time you’re feeling fear, flip the coin and use it as energy to do your best. When seen in the right light, this “dark side” can be your friend.

What’s your experience? Are you already using some of these tactics? Which one might you try this week?

Leave a comment below and let me know how it goes!

Article expanded from outline under license, (c) 2008 Claire Communications.