Five Ways to Boost Your Resilience
Life rarely conforms to the course we plan; events, usually beyond our control, often conspire to create periods of hardship. How we react to traumatic experiences, be it the loss of employment, serious illness, or even the death of a loved one, significantly affects the quality of your life moving forward.
Resilience is the ability to recover from these traumatic life changing experiences and move on with your life. While some people seem to have resilience ingrained into their personalities, others need to make a concerted effort to build their resilience. This article provides 5 tips to cultivate the spirit of resilience to enable you to come out on top when faced with challenging life experiences.
1. Have a support System
Human beings, by design, are social animals. Even in the best of times, we tend not to thrive in isolation. Therefore, when faced with traumatic experiences, having a dependable support system often serves as the difference between being crushed by your problems or overcoming hardship. Such support systems can be in the form of friends, family, or professional support; whatever works best for you. Importantly, however, support systems must be beneficial for all involved – many people can cultivate resilience in themselves having supported a loved one to successfully overcome a similar problem. By being supportive, you can understand what it takes to recover from a seemingly impossible position or difficulty.
2. Maintain positive self-regard
The chances of overcoming difficulties can depend on how we view ourselves, and the circumstances that we find ourselves in. If you don’t have faith in yourself and your ability to overcome difficulty, then your chances of recovering from a traumatic experience are dealt a significant blow. Try to cultivate a positive view of your abilities. Never accept defeat. As soon as you find yourself in a difficult position, the first thing in your mind should be, “I have the ability to overcome this situation.” With a positive outlook, you will find a way to deal with your problems.
Having confidence in yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that you should have unrealistic optimism of your abilities. Your optimism should be tempered by what you can realistically achieve given an objective analysis of your abilities and the resources at your disposal. Expecting a problem to vanish overnight will only lead to disappointment and further emotional turmoil.
3. Keep the situation in perspective
It can be tempting to view difficult circumstances as insurmountable obstacles. Having this viewpoint is detrimental to your chances of recovery. It is important to take a step back and view the problem without the clouded judgement that comes with emotional distress. When viewing the problem from a broader perspective, you could be able to see the way out of a situation you thought was the end of the world.
View the situation objectively and avoid blowing things out of proportion. It is important to understand that very few problems are unique to you and it would help you to seek support groups (numerous are available online) of people who have faced (or are currently facing) similar situations who can help you overcome your problem.
4. Take action
Every crisis should not result in an indefinite period of mourning. As soon as the initial feeling of grief subsides, start developing a plan of action to get yourself back on your feet and moving on with your life. If you have recently lost your job, for example, wallowing in self-pity for too long won’t do you any good; you need to take control of the situation and begin a job search as soon as possible.
The first step to taking action should be an objective analysis of the situation you are facing, followed by a strategy formulation stage where you write down your plan of action. It is important to ask for assistance from trusted friends/family who might give you additional insight from their unique perspectives on how you can work yourself out of the problem. Taking action not only gets you out of your problems, but also fights off any feelings of helplessness that might lead to depression.
5. Accept that some things are beyond your control
In an ideal world, all problems would have solutions. Sadly, that is rarely the case, especially concerning traumatic life experiences. You need to accept that some traumatic situations will leave permanent changes to your life that you cannot do anything about. Resilience is not returning things to where they were before a traumatic experience; it is the strength to move forward and live your life after undergoing a period of difficulty.
If you have any further tips for building resilience, please do share!