It’s probably safe to say that most people would like to be more resilient. When it comes to dealing with life’s difficulties, resiliency can mean the difference between maintaining our sanity and totally losing our cool.
Of course, being resilient doesn’t necessarily mean never getting upset or never feeling down. Resiliency, by definition, means coping better and bouncing back.
What Makes a Person Resilient?
It’s most important to note that resiliency is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity or stress. Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. Everyone has the capacity to be resilient and all it really takes is conditioning our thoughts to impact our reactions/behaviors.
A combination of factors help to make a person more resilient, including:
– Having caring and strong relationships, both with family and friends. Relationships that create love and a sense of belonging are important ingredients to giving us a sense of security and comfort, which bolsters our resilience.
– A positive outlook on life, as well as a healthy self-esteem.
– Good communication skills help because resilient people are able to effectively communicate their feelings, plans, needs, etc.
– A healthy emotional intelligence — the capacity to manage strong emotions/feelings and impulses is vital.
“No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.” – Greg Kincaid
Here are some steps to take to help build a more resilient you:
1. Stop the negative thought cycles
Often when faced with a difficult situation, we get sucked in and stuck in a rut of rumination. We go over the situation with every conceivable scenario and we believe that this is the only way to solve the problem. What it really is, is a rumination cycle and they feed on themselves, miring us down in negativity. One might think that the best thing to do is to only think positive thoughts, but that doesn’t always work. Sometimes, we need to break the rumination cycle by cutting them off through activity. Create a behavioral break strategy by having a plan to do something that will get your “mind off it” — this can be anything from doing laps in a pool, to jogging, to hiking up a mountain…whatever works for you, do it, so you can get out from under the oppressive rumination.
2. Maintain a positive outlook
Just thinking positive thoughts may not always be the answer, but having a deep belief in the silver lining theory does help. Think good thoughts, write down what you have to be grateful for and try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear. Visualization is very powerful, so put into your mind a mental picture of what you hope for and focus on it, seeing it as being real and within your reach.
3. Make connections
Reach out to friends and family. Don’t be afraid to connect with those people who can support and encourage you. Knowing that others care about you and are trying to uplift you, is a powerful source of long-lasting resiliency.
4. Put things into perspective
Getting out of the rumination rut is key, but so is taking time to get a handle on things. One way resilient people do this is by writing things out. What has happened? What does it mean? Can you control the situation? Who can help you? What if ____________? A lot of people don’t like to write anymore, but it really is helpful in conditioning our thoughts and behaviors to be more resilient.
5. Accept that change is a part life
This can be a difficult personal development step, but it’s a very important one. Sometimes, people who lack resiliency are extremely resistant to any change and this means that any time there is change, it becomes the old “mountain out of a mole hill” situation. Things change and as much as you may not like it, you might just have to deal with it.
6. Make an action plan
What can you do and what will that action hopefully accomplish? Tackle the situation as best you can and write up your own personal action plan to help you stay in control as much as is possible.
7. Take care of yourself
Resilient people take care of their mind and body. Eat right, get plenty of sleep, exercise, pray, meditate — resiliency depends on well-being, so living a healthy lifestyle is important. As with anything to do with mental and physical health, always consult with a qualified professional to help you.
“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who do not. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” – José N. Harris
Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful.
Knowing who you are is also an important habit of resilient people. What makes you tick? What gives you great pleasure in life? Have you ever considered keeping a diary? A daily journal really helps us to get to know the true “us,” so consider writing down your inner-most thoughts, even if only for a few months.
“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them you’ll find they haven’t half the strength you think they have.” – Norman Vincent Peale