10 Ways you can be more Resilient
Resilience is about how well you can deal with and bounce back from setbacks and difficulties in your life. It can mean the difference between working through and handling pressure and stress or collapsing under it and becoming ill. Research shows that while some people seem to be more naturally resilient that’s not true for everyone. But these habits and behaviours can be learned.
Here’s how to become more resilient and manage your anxiety whether you’re going through a tough time now or you simply want to be prepared for the next one.
Develop a strong social network
This doesn’t have to be huge -it can be whatever means something to you such as your friends, your family, your church group or colleagues. It’s important to have people you can trust and confide in. Talking about your problems won’t make them go away but sharing your feelings, getting support, receiving positive feedback or just getting a hug, can help put things in perspective and often come up with solutions you hadn’t yet thought of.
Nurture your support network, value them, be there for them too when they have a crisis – when the stuff hits the fan, they’re your safety net.
It can be very hard to believe but every cloud has a silver lining, even if you have to dig deep to find it. Keeping a hopeful outlook is important to resilience as it helps to keep your mood buoyant and, very importantly, optimistic people enlist
essential support from others more easily. Develop the habit of positive thinking.
This doesn’t mean that you’re ignoring your problems and being some kind of uber-Pollyanna. It’s about being realistic and knowing that setbacks are temporary and that you have all the skills and resources you need to face the challenge. Recognising that what you’re dealing with may be difficult but being hopeful and positive about a brighter future makes the present easier to bear. If negative thoughts are a real problem you may want to try mindfulness meditation as a way to become more aware and challenge them.
Believe that you can cope
Having healthy self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and overcoming adversity. Being confident of your ability to respond and deal with a crisis is a great way to build future resilience.
You may want to think back over events you’ve dealt with in the past and give yourself a pat on the back for the fact that you’re still here and that you probably learned something that you can use now.
People often report improved relationships, greater consciousness, or appreciation of life in the face of great difficulties.
Accept that bad things happen to everyone and find meaning in it
Trauma, crisis and tragedy doesn’t have to break you. Many people emerge as stronger, more resilient people. That’s not to say that this is the only way to build resilience but finding a sense of purpose in the event or your life can play an important role in your recovery.
Become involved in your community, participate in activities that are meaningful for you or explore your spirituality, whatever that is for you.
When you’re stressed and under the hammer it’s easy to neglect your own self-care. Comfort eating, losing your appetite, not sleeping or not exercising are all common reactions to a crisis. But this is the time when you should be taking much more care of yourself because of the wear and tear the stress hormones wreak on your body.
Take time to do something you enjoy, get out and exercise in fresh air and green space and eat to nurture yourself, not just to keep going.
Accept that change is part of living
Expect things to change and adversity to occur, rather than pretend all will always be well. Change is part of life. Your goal is to cope effectively rather than avoid loss or pain. Flexibility and adaptability are essential for resilience.
Resilient people use events as an opportunity to go in a new direction, they adapt and thrive.
Get better at solving problems
People who can come up with solutions to a problem cope better than those who can’t.
Work on your problem-solving skills by trying different strategies that work for you when faced with regular, common problems.
By practicing these skills, you will be better prepared for more serious challenges.
When you’re faced with a challenge and you feel overwhelmed take a step back and assess what you need to do.
Brainstorm different solutions, what outcomes you’d like and what steps can you take to overcome this problem or crisis.
Recognise your control
Recognise what is in your control and what isn’t can help you focus and put energy into what you can positively influence. There is so much that happens in the world that is outside of your control, and these are the things you probably worry and stress about. But this is wasted energy so don’t waste time and effort thinking about them. Accept that you can’t control them and let them go. Instead recognise what you can control, which is you. You can conrol your thoughts, your habits, your behaviours, your attitudes so spend your time and energy on managing your emotions and your reactions to the world and events.
It’s so tempting to just hide under the duvet and hope that the crisis will go away. Sometimes it simply takes time and you can’t always change the situation or solve the problem. But you can take steps to make the situation better and less stressful. Focus on managing your wellbeing and equilibrium through this difficult time, taking all the advice above. Many people experience that ‘rabbit in the headlights’ reaction to a sudden event but whilst there may not be a fast or easy solution see if there is anything you can do so that you feel more in control instead of just letting things happen to you.
To sum up
Resilience is a set of skills that takes time to build so don’t get discouraged if you’re not immediately great at coping with life’s ups and downs. Focus on these tips to become a survivor of life, not a victim and always ask for help when you need it.
Books can be helpful, reading about people who have overcome adversity can be motivating and uplifting and give ideas about how to cope. Join a support group if there is one for your particular crisis. If you are seriously struggling and it is adversely affecting your mental health then seek the help of a professional.
But if you simply want to become more resilient in everyday life then consider working with a professional to build the skills that means that you can enjoy life, confident that you can cope with whatever it throws at you.