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Resilience is the ability to bounce back from painful or challenging situations. In your day to day life, you've likely encountered individuals with both high and low levels of resilience. After surviving a traumatic life event, a person with limited resilience may struggle to recover, perhaps slipping into negative thought patterns or engaging in destructive behaviors. A highly resilient individual will likely recover from the same event more quickly. Despite enduring hardship, these resilient individuals are able to process their experiences in more productive ways, resulting in faster recovery times and greater levels of peace and contentment.
Many of us struggle with resiliency. Fortunately, anyone can work on improving their resilience! Though handing crises is never easy, utilizing these skills can help you better cope with painful life events in the future.
1.) Remind yourself that you are a survivor. You are in control of your future decisions.
Resilience has a lot to do with our perspectives on life. When life throws a monkey wrench into your plans, remember that you are a survivor, not a victim. Though we cannot control some of the things that befall us, most of our life decisions remain within our control. Though we may feel victimized by a particular situation, it is important to remember that our actions shape the majority of our life circumstances. If something is making you miserable, you likely have it within your power to change the situation. If you can't change the situation, find a way to shift your perspective on it. By developing and fostering an internal locus of control, you can improve your ability to cope with challenging life situations.
2.) Find and pursue purpose in your life.
When tragedy strikes, it's only natural to be grief-stricken. The loss of a family member, job, or home, for instance, will often need to be mourned. Once you've processed your feelings, however, it's time to channel your energy into something more fulfilling. Seek out a new life goal. This aspiration can be tied to your struggles or may be something entirely different.
Many resilient individuals engage in pursuits that help them better process their grief. If your father, an avid hiker, died before completing his bucket list of climbs, perhaps completing these hikes on his behalf would bring you joy and a sense of closure. If your struggles are the result of a particular illness or injustice, joining a support group or forming an organization to build awareness of the issue might help you channel your energy into helping others like you. Finding purpose in your life is one of the surest ways to resiliently bounce back from negative life experiences.
3.) Foster your problem-solving skills.
Studies have shown that problem-solving skills play a crucial role in improving our resilience. If you're not currently facing a major crisis in your life, now is the perfect time to work on boosting your natural problem-solving abilities. Every time you encounter a challenge at home, in the workplace, or in your personal relationships, take a few minutes to sit down and brainstorm potential solutions to the problem. Write down different approaches to the situation and weigh the pros and cons of each possibility. By improving your day-to-day problem solving skills, your brain will become better trained to see multiple viable solutions even in times of crisis.
4.) Lean on your social circle for support.
Though resilience ultimately comes from within, having a caring support network can help. Whether you have a loving family or just a few understanding friends, it is important to allow yourself to open up to your closest confidantes in times of need. A sympathetic social group can validate your feelings, support you, and offer different perspectives on your situation. Hearing from others may inspire you or help you discover a new solution to your problems. When a crisis situation leaves you feeling lost and alone, the kind words of others may be enough to help jump-start your recovery.
5.) Respect yourself and engage in self-care.
It probably won't surprise you to learn that individuals with greater levels of self-esteem are generally more resilient. Though many of us struggle with self-esteem, treating ourselves with kindness and understanding can help us rediscover our own inner value. By valuing ourselves, we are better able to manage crisis situations without resulting to negative self-talk. In turn, managing a crisis in a resilient manner helps us become more confident in our own abilities.
Even if your self-esteem is low, you can still take care of yourself during times of peril. Though stress can make self-care more difficult, it is important to nurture yourself during these challenging times. Set aside time to eat your favorite meal, take a soothing bath, or watch a favorite film. By taking care of yourself and reducing your stress levels, your body and mind will be better equipped to process trauma and heal.
Though resilience can be learned, improvements may take time to appear. Don't beat yourself up if you struggle with an upcoming challenge. Instead, focus on these techniques and retain a positive attitude and forward-focused perspective. By focusing on a resilient approach to everyday life, you can better manage crisis situations as they arise.