12 Ways To Build Resilience
When adversity strikes, bounce back with perseverance and keep flexing your resilience muscles.
“If you’re going through hell, keep on going.” Winston Churchill
Don’t the last two years seem like a nightmare? It reminds me of Dallas, the popular television drama series from the 80’s, where after a season ending cliff-hanger, we tune in to find out that Bobby Ewing was not dead; it was all merely a bad dream.
Lately, it seems like the whole world has been dealing with one major crisis after another, from the global pandemic and the personal tragic loss of loved ones to natural disasters and economic, political and social turmoil. And not to mention the possibility of World War 3 looming over our heads.
We have seen that going through difficult times can definitely take a toll on our physical, mental and spiritual health. Apart from feeling overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, we can also suffer from loneliness, helplessness and painful grieving. To add to our conflicting emotions, many people may feel like their life is spinning out of control without knowing what to do next.
While it may be difficult to avoid the wave of change, we can learn how to swim. There are tools to help us regain our sense of control and to help navigate us through change with more ease and personal power.
Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover from life’s difficulties. Building residence helps you better adapt to life changes and bounce back from hardships.
Resilience does not mean you will have no more stressful problems. However, it does mean that you have will have developed the ability to cope with life’s fast curveballs and work through the turbulent times.
Avoiding or denying change does not build resilience nor does resorting to drugs, alcohol or other counterproductive coping mechanisms. Resilience is “the core strength you use to lift the load of life,” says Amit Soon, MD.
Here are some guiding principles to help you flex your resilience muscles and develop the inner strength needed to process and overcome challenges.
- Life is about change. The only thing constant in life is change. Accepting that change is a natural part of life that you cannot control will help you focus on what you can change. Remember that while change is inevitable, growth is optional. Choose to grow with the flow.
- You cannot change events or people. Stop wasting precious energy you can be using to solve the problem.
- You can change how you see the situation and what you do about it. In order to change your attitude, learn to be flexible; you need to reframe your thoughts and your mindset. In order to change your behaviors, learn to adapt; be open to looking at different ways of handling problems.
- Most people’s first line of defense is fear. Courage is facing your problems despite your fears. Fear leads to paralysis. The antidote is to take action. Getting out of your comfort zone and taking a risk enhances resilience and gives you the confidence to breakthrough your self-limiting belief systems.
- Choose to respond instead of react. Be responsible and take charge of your choices. You will feel in control and be able to flourish. If you keep blaming everyone and everything, you give up your power to change.
- Keeping a positive outlook will help you generate confidence, optimism and hope as you face uncertainty with less fear. Although change brings chaos, it also comes bearing gifts in the form of new opportunities and hidden blessings. Seek out the lessons as you let go of the pain and negatives.
- Develop a sense of purpose. Moving towards a meaningful goal helps you gain a clearer vision of what needs to be done as well as contribute to a greater good. This becomes your driving force and guiding light. It will increase your sense of self worth and create a sense of belonging. By increasing your inner strength, you can lessen the stress and pain. As Nietzsche stated “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
- Hold the line. Stand by your principles and keep the faith. Remind yourself that, in the bigger picture of life, there is good in the world and there is meaning to life that is worth fighting for. The sense of service and duty is putting faith into action. Believe in yourself and trust in a higher power that is greater than the self.
- Feel to heal. By facing your feelings, you can learn to process your emotions. Allow yourself to become aware of your feelings so you can release the pain, anger, sadness and loss. Choose to become free and move on instead of remaining stuck by continuing to ignore and numb your feelings.
- Recharge your body through nutrition, exercise, rest, yoga, breathing and meditation. All of the above help ground you in the present. Realize that every little bit you do can add up and go a long way in keeping you strong and balanced.
- Seek out support. Don’t assume that you can and should handle it on your own. Ask for help, whether it be from family, friends, therapists or support groups. Make sure that whoever it is, you feel you can trust them. Set up healthy boundaries. And above all, avoid toxic people who are are judgmental, critical, demanding and non-supportive, as they don’t have your interest at heart. Look up to your mentor or a role model where you can find your inspiration and motivation. One person’s story can end up being someone else’s survival guide.
- Get resourceful; find out what you need, create a realistic game plan and take decisive action. Don’t give up; show up.
Becoming more flexible mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually teaches you how to bend and not break. In the end, you can learn to cultivate greater strength, wisdom and deeper spiritual awareness.
Resilience is coping with life challenges by developing your ability to adapt and to thrive. When adversities strikes, bounce back with perseverance and keep flexing your resilience muscles.
Antoinette Giacobbe is a stress reduction therapist, Kripalu- trained Yoga instructor, and holistic health educator with over 30 years of experience. Her passion is helping people with practical advice and guidance to facilitate healing, change, and personal growth. Visit https://innerview.ca.