Nobody can eliminate stress, trauma or failure from our lives. When facing extremely difficult situations, some people break down, while others seem to be barely affected. The difference between them is their ability to endure such situations called resilience. In this post, you can read what resilience is and, more importantly, how to develop it. Thanks to that you may learn how to tackle extreme emotions more easily.
What is resilience?
Resilience in simple terms is our ability to bounce back after experiencing difficulties, failure, trauma or other highly stressful situation. Resilient people are those who can stand up after such situations and may even say it made them better self-aware, more appreciative, or generally stronger.
What is a resilient person like?
According to Psychology Today, resilient people are more optimistic, have a more positive attitude, and can regulate their emotions better. Thanks to that, they don’t see difficulties as the end of the world, but rather as an experience to learn from.
An important piece of news is that resilience can be developed. Most of us can learn how to overcome trauma or failure and thanks to that, be better prepared should another mishap occur.
How to build resilience?
The American Psychological Association suggests that there are four areas that are the most important in developing resilience. These are connection, wellness, healthy thinking and meaning.
The importance of connection
It is not surprising that talking to other people, who can understand and empathize with us, helps when we’re faced with trauma or other difficulties. Simply talking it out allows us to release at least part of the emotional burden while an empathetic reaction helps rebuild our self-esteem and self-confidence. Also, being active in various groups or organizations not only gives you a sense of purpose but also allows you to be among people. There are also support and therapeutic groups that may help with the most difficult traumas.
Finding a purpose
If you can focus on a bigger goal, failure on the way will seem less important. Thanks to seeing the big picture, it may be easier to move from an emotional reaction to an activity-based approach. This way of thinking also makes it easier to reanalyze failure as a lesson. By doing that we open the path to self-discovery, self-acceptance, and become more mentally strong and resilient.
You may set a personal goal or focus on helping others. By joining a charity or another organization, or simply helping a friend, you can feel more important and useful. That rebuilds our self-esteem.
Wellness and self-care
By taking proper care of your physical and mental well-being you allow yourself to cope with stressful situations easier. If we generally feel good in our bodies, i.e. we are well-rested, eat well, drink enough water, and stay physically active, it is easier to tackle both every-day stress and unexpected difficulties on the way. You can read more about catering to your needs in my free ebook.
A great way to look after yourself and tame your emotions is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness helps us focus on the present rather than the past or the future. It also makes you aware of your emotions, thoughts, physical tension, and behaviors, making it the first step to accept or respond to them so that we can feel better. You can read more about mindfulness on Rose Hahn’s blog here. She’s an expert on yoga and meditation and a really inspiring blogger.
Mindfulness can also help you keep your thoughts healthy. Ruminating and beating yourself up doesn’t help your health nor it can provide any solutions. Focusing on the bright side, analyzing events from a perspective, and finding lessons in hardships, on the other hand, may contribute to bouncing back as strong as before or even stronger. If you accept the change in your life and look at the future with hope rather than worry, you will learn to stay more optimistic.
Kira M. Newman in her article for the Greater Good Magazine mentions five more strategies to developing resilience. These are:
- Expressive writing,
- Facing and overcoming fears,
- Meditation, and
Seek professional help
If you apply the above tips and still feel not resilient enough, you may ask a professional for help. Building the ability to overcome failure and developing a more optimistic approach to life can be done with a coach or counselor. However, if you’re struggling with a past loss or trauma, you’ll need to seek the assistance of a certified psychologist or therapist.
All in all…
Trauma and stress are unavoidable. Resilient people often rise after a fall stronger and more self-aware than before it. What we can do to help ourselves build resilience, is to take care of our mental and physical health.