Be More Resilient: Are you a resilient person? Are you able to face challenges, overcome them, and be stronger as a result? We all have the capacity for resilience. The question is whether or not we employ it.
Resilience: The ability to withstand (and recover from) adversity, stress, or suffering.
I must admit, there have been times when I was faced with some excruciating and soul crushing moments, times when I wanted to just stay down on the ground and not get up. No, it wasn’t because the deli counter ran out of honey ham.
I was in a deep depression and just wanted the earth to open up and consume me. I have walked two polar opposite paths. One was the path of continued depression and multiple suicide attempts. I was lucky – I survived. I had to dig deep and really ask myself if I truly wanted to stay in such a terrible state.
This question led me to a better path – the path of hope, happiness, and an insatiable curiosity to see what would (and will) happen if I carry on and live the life I was put on this planet to live. I can assure you the path of hope and the living is way better.
My resilience manifested itself by taking action and getting help. I was hospitalized, prescribed medication by a trustworthy doctor, and then sought the help of a therapist. I did my homework – the heavy lifting. Resilience involves a degree of discomfort. (Note: always call 911 if you ever feel desperate and suicidal. You will be glad you did.)
Obviously, a lack of resilience can prevent you from facing life’s challenges. You can find yourself being unable to move forward and your human development will be stunted.
Having said that, I encourage you to consider the following suggestions for developing resilience:
The key is to not spend too much time in this state. This coincides with the first bullet point:
This is my take on building resilience. I hope you will practice these suggestions and reap the benefits of doing so. I’m glad I did.
Bend, don’t break! ~Ted
1. Find Your Sense of Purpose
Define your values and the values you live by daily. Once you establish those, you will have a better idea of what your purpose is. Focus on the things that drive your actions and are at the core of your beliefs.
This might mean becoming involved in your community, cultivating your spirituality, or participating in activities that are meaningful to you.
2. Believe In Your Abilities
Having confidence in your own ability to cope with the stresses of life can play an important part in resilience. Becoming more confident in your own abilities, including your ability to respond to and deal with a crisis, is a great way to build resilience for the future.
Listen for negative comments in your head. When you hear them, practice immediately replacing them with positive ones, such as, "I can do this," "I'm a great friend/mother/partner," or "I'm good at my job."
Research has demonstrated that your self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments.
3. Develop a Stronger Social Network
It's important to have people you can confide in. Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of crisis. While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one won't make your troubles go away, it allows you to share your feelings, get support, receive positive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to your problems.
4. Embrace Change
Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you'll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Resilient people often utilize these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. While some people may be crushed by abrupt changes, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.
5. Be Optimistic
Staying optimistic during dark periods can be difficult, but maintaining a hopeful outlook is an important part of resiliency. What you are dealing with may be difficult, but it's important to remain hopeful and positive about a brighter future.
Positive thinking does not mean ignoring the problem in order to focus on positive outcomes. It means understanding that setbacks are temporary and that you have the skills and abilities to combat the challenges you face.
6. Nurture Yourself
When you're stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation. Instead, focus on building your self-nurturance skills, even when you're troubled. Make time for activities that you enjoy.
By taking care of your own needs, you can boost your overall health and resilience and be fully ready to face life's challenges.
7. Develop Problem-Solving-Skills
Research suggests that people who are able to come up with solutions to a problem are better able to cope with problems than those who cannot. Whenever you encounter a new challenge, make a quick list of some of the potential ways you could solve the problem.
Experiment with different strategies and focus on developing a logical way to work through common problems. By practicing your problem-solving skills on a regular basis, you will be better prepared to cope when a serious challenge emerges.
8. Establish Goals
Crisis situations are daunting. They may even seem insurmountable. Resilient people are able to view these situations in a realistic way and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem.
When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what is before you. Brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.
9. Take Action
Simply waiting for a problem to go away on its own only prolongs the crisis. Instead, start working on resolving the issue immediately. While there may not be any fast or simple solution, you can take steps toward making your situation better and less stressful.
Focus on the progress that you have made thus far and planning your next steps, rather than becoming discouraged by the amount of work that still needs to be accomplished.
Actively working on solutions will also help you feel more in control. Rather than just waiting for things to happen, being proactive allows you to help make your goals a reality.
10. Keep Working On Your Skills
Resilience may take time to build, so don't get discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events. Everyone can learn to be resilient and it doesn't involve any specific set of behaviors or actions. Resilience can vary dramatically from one person to the next.
Focus on practicing these skills, as well as the common characteristics of resilient people, but also remember to build on your existing strengths.
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