Can we learn to overcome adverse situations and go on to fight another day?
The first question we need to answer is, what is resilience?
Resilience is most often described as the ability to recover from misfortune, adapt well to change, and find a way to carry on.
According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is “…the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress - such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences.”
Essentially, resilience is the ability to protect ourselves from the potential negative impact of stressors that misfortune brings. It’s having a knack for recovering quickly after facing significant stress with our physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional state intact. Facing stressful situations with resilience makes us stronger and more resourceful and prepares us to face future challenges.
“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Since our brains are wired differently, they interpret and respond to experiences in different ways. Some brains are more resilient than others, but that doesn’t mean resilient people are superhuman. Resilient people have simply learned how to adapt well to change and find a way to carry on.
Is it your goal to prevent obstacles from stopping you from being free to pursue your dreams? Or is your goal to simply be able to handle adversity with more confidence and less fear? Whatever your motivation is, building your resilience will help.
Nurturing your resilience is beneficial in many ways:
- It helps you survive unpleasant experiences.
- It provides proof that you’re not a victim of circumstances.
- It offers opportunities for learning valuable life lessons.
- It builds your self-confidence.
Most of all it helps you move forward. Moving forward is empowering because it allows you to discover that your actions, not your problems, define you. You learn that you’re capable of handling whatever life throws at you. Your resilience is also a key ingredient in experiencing success.
There are ways to develop your resilience so it can be the lifeline you use to pull yourself back up when life knocks you down.
Here are three tips to help supercharge your resilience:
1. Here are three tips to help supercharge your resilience: Develop a positive outlook by being grateful.
It’s easy to overlook all of life’s little blessings, but making the effort is worth it. Intentional gratitude trains your brain to give less stock in the negative and more power to the positive. A positive outlook puts things in perspective when life throws us that unexpected curveball.
2. Find meaning.
Resilient people find a way to make meaning out of their struggles. Instead of asking why me, how about asking, why not me? Instead of focusing on what you’ve lost, think about what you have or will gain from this unprecedented event.
3. Cultivate a sense of humor.
If you learn to laugh at things, you're untouchable. Nothing can get you down. Cultivate a good sense of humor and use it when you face adversity. Humor, even dark humor, can provide stress relief and perspective to challenging circumstances. If you can’t find anything to laugh about, try watching a good comedy or surfing YouTube for funny videos (not the cat videos).
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” ~ Helen Keller.
Facing adversity is demanding. Sometimes we just want to curl up in a ball and hide. There’s nothing wrong with a brief pity party, especially if there’s a potential for cake and a glass of wine. But seriously, it’s okay to let the feeling of being overwhelmed overwhelm you. The trick is in not letting feeling overwhelmed become your default coping strategy.
Developing your resilience allows you to pull back the veil of suffering to reveal your inner STRENGTH. It requires self-discipline, focus, hard work, and at times, nerves of steel, but the end result is absolutely worth it.
Incorporating these tips will help you build your resilience muscle and prepare you for life’s inevitable journey.
So here is your challenge, should you choose to accept it. Choose one situation you’re facing during this lockdown that’s challenging your resilience. Make a commitment to apply your newfound resilience to this situation. Even a small change can make a big difference. Take one small action. Pay attention to how it feels. Notice what impact your action, no matter how small it may seem, has on you and the circumstance you’re facing.
Take another action and repeat the same thing. That’s all life really is, one experimental action after another, gradually adding up to change and growth.
You can learn how to improve your resilience, no matter your age, background, or life experience, so you’re ready for anything life puts in front of you.
Are you willing to give it a try? If you answered ‘yes’ then that’s all you need to get started – a willingness to try.
Be kind to yourself, stay positive, stay resilient, and stay safe!