When something goes wrong in your life, do you bounce back or go to pieces? When you have resilience, you gather up your inner strengths and rebound quickly from a setback. That setback can be a the loss of a job, loss of your home, divorce, an illness, disaster, the death of a loved one, or any unexpected event that turns your world upside down.
Resilience is Adapting to Adversity:
Without resilience, we tend to dwell on the problem, feel victimized , become overwhelmed and resort to unhealthy (sometimes dangerous) methods of coping, such as substance abuse, increased anger or rage. Resilience is rolling with the punches, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel the punches. It means that although you encounter disruption, stress, trauma or adversity, you keep functioning, both physically and psychologically.
Resilience won’t make your problems go away. It will give you the ability to see past them – to reorganize your life, manage stress and find enjoyment and meaning in your changed world.
Tips to Improve your Resilience:
- Get connected: Build strong, positive relationships with family and friends who provide support and acceptance. Get involved in your community. Volunteer. Join a faith-based or spiritual community.
- Remain hopeful: Focus on the belief of a basic goodness of the world, and that things will turn out all right. Find something each day that signals a change for the better.
- Learn from experience: Remember how you’ve coped with problems/hardships in the past. Build on the skills that helped you through rough times. Avoid those things that did not work – especially thinking in negative terms.
- Tend to yourself: Take care of your needs, both physically and emotionally. Participate in activities you enjoy. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and eat well. Restore a sense of inner peace with positive self-talk and calming techniques (such as meditation, music).
- Anticipate change: Changes are inevitable. Expecting changes to occur makes it easier to adapt to them and even embrace them. With practice, you can learn to be more flexible and reduce your anxiety when change comes your way.
- Laugh: Finding humor in tough times doesn’t mean you’re in denial. Humor is a helpful coping skill. You can always find something to laugh about.
- Work toward a goal: Do something every day that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Small, everyday goals are important. Having goals helps you look forward to the future.
- Keep a journal: Writing about your experiences, thoughts and feelings can help you with strong emotions that you may be afraid to unleash – or that may otherwise be unleashed inappropriately. Journaling also helps you see patterns more clearly and situations in a different light.