Resilience is a healthy coping strategy to help manage difficult times. It’s the ability to adapt when changes occur in your life, to cope well and bounce back from difficult situations. It doesn’t mean you can’t experience sadness, anger, hurt or any other emotions. Resiliency is a skill, one you can develop to help manage difficult situations in a healthy manner.
Here’s some ways to build resiliency:
- Develop strong supportive relationships. Identify who you can turn to when difficulties arise, those who you can turn to for advice and help. In a digital world, it’s important to remember that face-to-face relationships are still important. Although interactions through phone, social media platforms or video can be positive, they can also have negative effects. If you don’t have strong supportive relationships, seek them out. If you don’t have close family or friends, consider volunteering for a cause you believe in or joining a social club. Have at least two people you can turn to for assistance during challenging times in life.
- Care for yourself. Find things that help you relax. Find time to exercise. Make sure you’re up to date with healthcare. Eat nutritious foods. Get enough sleep.
- Have a positive outlook. Change your way of thinking and express gratitude. Create a gratitude journal where you express your thanks for one new thing every day. Give yourself positive reinforcement for even small victories. Look at negative events from the past and see if there was anything positive that came out of them. A positive attitude doesn’t guarantee success every time, but it’s more helpful than approaching situations with a negative outlook. Be mindful of your internal monologue to avoid negative thoughts. For example:
Instead of: “I can’t do this.”
Tell yourself: “I don’t know how to do this yet, but I’ve learned new things before and I can learn this as well.
Instead of: “This is awful; I can’t believe it.”
Tell yourself: “Okay, I wish this hadn’t happened, but it’s survivable. Maybe I can use this situation to show that I can stay cool in adverse circumstances.”
Instead of: “What a horrible mistake I’ve made.”
Tell yourself “Mistakes are learning opportunities and this situation is rich with such opportunities. I am competent to make the needed corrections.”
- Make a plan. Whether or not there’s anything you can do to fix your problem, there’s usually at least some small way in which you can address it. Create a plan of achievable goals so that you have a sense of accomplishment as you work towards it.
- Know that change is inevitable-and accept it. This can make it easier to face change and be resilient when it happens. Change is happening more often and faster than ever before.
- Maintain a proper perspective. Think to yourself, is this challenge really a big deal? It may be, but you may also find that it’s not as daunting as you first assumed. Set priorities for yourself and work towards them each week. Also ask yourself, is this challenge a high or low priority in my life currently?
- Work on staying present. Even if you can’t control the situation, you can control yourself and your reaction to it, so try to remain as calm and rational as possible. Establish a mindfulness practice that allows you to stay in the present. A mindfulness practice takes time and practice so be patient with yourself.
- Laugh more. Get together with a friend who makes you laugh, rent a comedy film or read a funny book. Keep in mind that laughter is the best medicine. A sense of humor can be a great way to cope with life’s challenges and share laughs with others.
Remember, while you may not be able to control all your circumstances, you can control your reaction to them. Practice building resiliency by focusing on the aspects of life’s challenges you can manage.
- American Psychological Association. The Road to Resilience. org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx
- American Psychological Association. (Dis)Connected. org/monitor/2017/03/cover-disconnected.aspx
- org. Making Good Friends. helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/making-good-friends.htm
- Mayo Clinic. Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress. org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950
- gov. Stress and your health fact sheet. womenshealth.gov/mental-health/good-mental-health/stress-and-your-health