Life can confront us with difficult transitions, set-backs, adversities, severe stressors and trauma. Resilience is defined as the ability of an individual to survive, prevail, recover, adapt and bounce back successfully from the adversities and the changes. A resilient individual faces life’s hardships with courage, determination, patience and tenaciousness. Being resilient protects against the impact of the overwhelming events, improves coping abilities and reduces the risk of developing psychological disorders in spite of the experience of distress and emotional pain. Resilience can change over time. Resilient behaviors, thoughts and actions can be learned. The level of resilience depends on amount of effort made to nurture internal resources, learn and develop coping strategies, knowledge, capacities and the actual taking of action and confronting the adversity head on. The followings are only 3 of the many ways that can help you build up your resilience.
1.Following your Purpose: Having a sense of purpose in life focuses your attention and efforts towards that goal and motivates you to reach for it. It gives thus a sense of direction and meaning to the journey that is life. Focusing on your purpose will able you to look at the bigger picture and thereby you will be able to find different perspectives on the stressor. Keeping things in perspective is another method of enhancing resilience. In times of extreme distress, anxiety and agony focusing on your purpose also helps to evaluate what is most important to you and thus strengthens your values, convictions and beliefs. Resilient trauma survivors often say that they regained a sense of control and hope by thinking that they need to complete their goals and purpose in this life. That strengthened their beliefs, determination and commitment to regain stability, motivated them to prevail and never give up.
To regain a sense of purpose you can ask yourself the following questions: What is really important to me? What is my passion? What bring me immense joy? Who was I meant to become? What are my strengths and in which the direction do I want my life go? Write down your answers and develop a list of your long term and short term goals. When you get an obstacle in your path, generate different ways in which you can solve the problem. Keep in mind your available resources and keep an eye on the ultimate long term goal to motivate you. Additionally, you can also choose to learn new skills, further your knowledge and/or increase and lean on your support system. Doing so will also facilitate your personal growth, the pursuit after a deeper meaning in life, enhances your self-efficacy and thus also your resilience.
2.Positive self-talk: A confident and positive view of yourself helps to build up your resilience. One technique of increasing your self-confidence is positive self-talk. It is purposely giving the self positive feedback, reinforcement, motivation and recognition. We all have inner tapes in our heads which automatically turn themselves on. Our inner voice shapes how we view the world, ourselves and the way we go through life. By purposely saying positive statements to ourselves and becoming our own best friends, we shine a positive and more balanced light on our perceptions, thoughts and beliefs. Be generous towards yourself when affirming your strengths, achievements and your potential, however, also keep it real, justified and do not demand perfectionism of yourself. Positive self statements enhance self-esteem and self-efficacy. It is your confidence in your capacities and abilities to solve problems, to meet the demands of the situation and achieve your desirable results. This will reduce the stress; improve coping abilities, psychological well-being and health. Further benefits of this strategy are the rise of perseverance, motivation and effort.
3. Take care of yourself: Eat well, sleep, exercise, relax and take care of your body. Healthy body and mind are basic necessities to deal with adversity. Engage in healthy behaviors and participate in positive and pleasurable activities. Studies also show that being in nature can reduce stress and improving cognitive function. Make time to relax and pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Think of positive things that occurred in your life, your loved ones, what you are grateful for, your achievements, compliments that you have received etc. The positive thoughts will raise positive emotions, which will increases your ability to think resourcefully about your next step.
You can find additional strategies that increase resilience in 2 previous articles in my blog.
Please feel free to share in the comments area below your insights and your own effective resilience boosting strategies.