Let’s take some time to talk about resilience. What is it? Resilience is a person’s ability to move through difficult situations, adversities and struggles without those hardships bringing them down or impacting their overall wellbeing. Simply put, resilience is a person’s ability to “bounce back.”
When you have resilience, you harness inner strength that helps you rebound from a setback or challenge. This topic is especially important in 2021 as the past year has had it’s fair share of change and stress for the majority of us. If you are not very resilient, you might focus on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed or turn to unhealthy coping strategies. The great part about resilience is that no matter your age, you can always develop your resilience and build up protective factors to make your life more enjoyable!
Adapting to adversity
The Mayo Clinic explains that resilience is the ability to adapt to difficult situations. When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’re able to keep functioning — both physically and psychologically. However, resilience isn’t about putting up with something difficult, being stoic or figuring it out on your own. In fact, being able to reach out to others for support is a key part of being resilient.
Tips to improve your resilience
If you’d like to become more resilient, consider these tips from the staff at the mayo clinic:
- Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in good and bad times. Establish other important connections by volunteering or joining a faith or spiritual community.
- Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.
- Learn from experience. Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through difficult times. You might even write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify positive and negative behavior patterns — and guide your future behavior.
- Remain hopeful. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Tend to your own needs and feelings. Participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer.
- Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event or loss, know that your situation can improve if you work at it.
The SHINE coaches would also recommend the following to help increase your resilience:
- Stay physically healthy: Our mental health is very connected to our physical health. Oftentimes when we are taking steps to make sure we are being physically healthy, that impacts our mental well being as well. Things like eating a variety of vitamin rich foods, getting a good night’s sleep, drinking enough water and moving our bodies can have profound impacts on both the health of our bodies and the health of our brains.
- Laugh: “Evidence shows that highly resilient people even manage to experience positive emotions in the middle of stressful, challenging situations. Studies link these positive emotions to their ability to rebound from negative emotional experiences. For this reason, your sense of humor plays a huge role in your resilience. On your worst days, humor will help you bend without breaking. Finding the funny will help you better handle the challenges life throws at you. Laughing is a powerful weapon to help you punch back at adversity.
- Avoid perfectionism: One of the quickest ways to hurt our resilience is through trying to be perfect. Some people strive for perfection to hide their shortcomings. Others think they need to project an ideal image to avoid criticism. Unfortunately, perfection is impossible to achieve. The pressure that we put on ourselves can become difficult to handle and requires a lot of time and energy. We would encourage you to listen to what you need instead of focusing on how you want others to view you.