Resilient people are able to experience tough emotions and situations without falling apart–in fact, some people are able to look at challenging times with optimism and hope, knowing that their hardships will lead to personal growth and an expanded outlook on life. Resilient people do not deny the pain or suffering they are experiencing; rather, they retain a sense of positivity that helps them overcome the negative effects of their situation.
Resilient people have greater levels of wellbeing than non-resilient people.
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Not as resilient as you’d like to be?
You can build resilience; essentially, be open to working through a situation and see yourself as strong and capable rather than as a victim. Here are some strategies:
Believe in your abilities. Research has demonstrated that self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments. Becoming more confident about your own ability to respond and deal with challenges is a great way to build resilience for the future.
Keep the problem in perspective. Remind yourself about all the aspects of life that are going well. Recall a funny joke or comment, or turn to a friend, book or film that always makes you laugh.
Be optimistic. Positive thinking does not mean ignoring the problem; it means understanding that setbacks are transient and that you have the skills and abilities to combat the challenges you face. While some factors, such as natural disasters, are outside of your personal control, believe that the actions you take will directly affect the outcome of the event. Skip forward and imagine telling someone about how you overcame this obstacle. See yourself as that strong, capable person who pulled through with grace and courage.
Use your social network; if you don’t have one, begin to develop one. Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of upheaval. While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one will not make troubles go away, it allows you to share your feelings, gain support, receive positive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to your problems.
Develop Your 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 problem-solving skills on a regular basis, you will be better prepared to cope when a serious challenge emerges.
Establish Goals. Set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to assess it. Brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps. As you move forward, 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.
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. Can you use this event as an opportunity to branch out in a new direction? While some people may be crushed by abrupt changes, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.
Nurture Yourself. When you’re stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite or overeating, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions when life tests you. Focus on building your self-nurturing skills, even when you are 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.
Conduct a post mortem. When things have settled down, think about what you learned and what you can take from it. This may benefit you in a future tricky situation and let you know something good has come of your adversity. This ability to look back on tough times and see how you survived, rather than focusing on how you suffered, is a crucial factor in developing resilience.
Keep Working on Your Skills. Resilience may take time to build, so don’t become discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events. Focus on practicing some of the skills mentioned above, and also remember to build upon your existing strengths.