Everyone goes through stressful times, challenges, and traumatic events; they are part and parcel of life. But how well we bounce back, learn lessons, and carry on rebuilding for the future depends on our resilience.
If you are resilient, you can not only get through the tough times, you can grow as a result, and maybe come out even stronger than you were before.
Being resilient isn’t a promise that your life will be free from stress or challenges, but it does make it far more likely that you can deal positively with them when they come along, and emerge with your wellbeing intact. So what is resilience and where does it come from?
Some people are naturally resilient, but resilience is something that you can learn and develop. Even if you wouldn’t say that you are particularly resilient now, it’s possible to develop resilience by consciously adopting these thoughts, behaviours, and actions.
Seek support from others
No man (or woman) is an island, and when you are going through a stressful time, the temptation can be to get so lost in your own head that you isolate yourself from others, even if this isn’t your intention.
You can build resilience by forming and maintaining good connections with others, like friends, family, and colleagues. They’ll support you, remind you that you’re not going through a difficult time alone, and they may be able to give you a different and more helpful perspective on what’s going on.
Make self-care a priority
Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing is so important if you are building your resilience. If you are anxious, run ragged, or you don’t feel physically well, you won’t be able to handle life’s challenges half as well. Prioritise exercise, getting restful sleep, and eating well.
Don’t be tempted to use unhelpful coping strategies like drinking alcohol or smoking more in times of stress. It’s far better to learn how to manage stress and build resilience in a healthy way, as often negative coping strategies come with their own problems.
It’s also important to give your mind a rest. A busy, anxious mind doesn’t regulate emotions as well or make good decisions, so build mental resilience by doing things like writing in a journal, meditating, or learning some breathing exercises.
Take small steps to solve problems
When you have a problem, instead of worrying and ruminating, why not put your effort into asking yourself, ‘what can I do about this?’
The problem might seem huge and unsolvable at first, but what if you brainstormed possible solutions then broke them down into small steps? Even in difficult times, you can retain a sense of control and direction by taking actions that are possible. Once you’ve done something constructive, you’ll feel so much more resilient instead of being overwhelmed.
Learn from challenges
This is a big part of resilience. It’s not just about going through hard times, it’s about growing through them. Take the situation we are in now, for instance. The pandemic has caused a lot of fear, anxiety, and struggle for us all. But even in a situation that looks as dire as this, something good can come out of it. It might have helped you focus on what’s really important to you, like spending quality time with your family. You may have realised that even though part of you wants things to go back to ‘normal,’ there were aspects of your life that you weren’t really happy with if you’re honest with yourself; do you now feel motivated to change things for the better?
Even in times of uncertainty, struggle, and change, there is a huge potential for growth.
When you build resilience, you realise that you are not powerless; you can control how you respond to difficulties and you can learn from the challenges that come your way and build a brighter and more positive future.
Do you want to learn how to be more resilient and feel more positive about the future?