Think back, for a moment, to the worst week of your life.
It may have involved major work trouble, a disaster or illness, or even the death of a loved one. It was a week when absolutely everything went wrong, and you couldn’t imagine a light at the end of the tunnel.
Despite everything that went wrong, you are still here, because you are more resilient than you know.
Resilience is the ability to recover or come back from stressful life situations. People demonstrating resilience have difficult times and distress just like everyone else, although they are less impacted by it.
A great deal of research has gone into the study of resilience over the past fifty years, and it has been found to be one of the most important contributing factors to a person’s overall quality of life.
Despite everything you may have heard in the past about resilience, it is important to note that resilience is not a trait. It is a combination of behaviors, thoughts and actions. To highlight this, we have outlined some ways to develop greater resilience.
5 WAYS TO DEVELOP RESILIENCE
Connect with others
One of the most common misconceptions about resilient people is that they are self-reliant and independent of other people. Research shows the opposite to be true! Having strong connections to family, friends, and community gives you access to greater resources and support in the event of an emergency. Maintain and build on beneficial relationships in your life.
Change your internal dialogue
One significant advantage that resilient people have when disaster strikes is how they view themselves and the challenging situation. This is sometimes called an internal dialogue. Improving this internal dialogue can be the difference between seeing a situation as “impossible” versus “difficult but still manageable”. Changing internal dialogue isn’t easy, but it is very important. The process involves identifying thoughts that are counterproductive or harmful. Examples would be, “I’ll never be able to achieve my goal,” or “There’s no way I can do this”. Then substituting a more productive view such as, “This is really hard, but I’m making progress”.
Plan for “what-if” situations
While life can be unpredictable, some situations can be anticipated. No matter how well you care for it, your car will eventually break down. Having AAA, or the phone number for a local towing company handy will help you to turn an emergency into an inconvenience. Know in advance what you are going to do when you encounter a stressful situation, and it’s going to help you be more successful.
Set and work towards goals
Setting goals help you increase your resilience in more way than one, but the big different is the shift in your thought process. Much like planning for what-if situations, setting goals moves you into a mental state in which you are planning and working toward bigger and better things. For someone who is feeling overwhelmed, this shift in thinking can be just as important as the gains made from working towards the goal itself.
Maintain a long-term, optimistic mindset
In the midst of a hard time, it can be difficult to remember that the challenges you are facing are limited. Eventually you will overcome them, and you will be stronger for your effort. By maintaining a long-term, optimistic mindset, you are able to keep short term challenges from derailing you. Two questions you can ask yourself to maintain a long-term mindset:
What will I learn from this situation?
How will this help me become a stronger person?
While resilience isn’t something that will be developed overnight, it is something we can all work to improve upon. This is important for us to remember for our own lives and as we work with others.