Resilience is often talked about as the solution to many psychological conditions, and it may surprise you to learn that anyone can develop resilience. It develops as a result of an attitude or mindset which we can all cultivate.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks. It is developing the strength to get back up after life events have leveled you to the ground. It is the reservoir you draw from in times of need that helps carry you through while keeping you from falling apart. It does not mean you develop a blind eye to existing challenges. Instead, it means you develop the strength to deal with the upcoming difficulties to the best of your abilities - often emerging stronger than before. While it seems easy in theory, in practice it takes a lot of hard work to build resilience. It is not something you become overnight, but something that you craft over a series of let downs.
This week marks a year since Australia closed its international borders and the introduction of Public Health Orders that triggered the working from home experience for many. I can still remember when I was watching the news about New Zealand imposing a hard lockdown and thinking Australia won’t be far behind. When our lockdown came, I was fortunately able to transition my work to online and adjust to the ‘new normal’. Since then, there has been a real rollercoaster ride of emotions testing my resilience and no doubt yours. As I write this, NSW is continuing to progressively reduce the COVID restrictions. We are on a path of returning to a new normal that incorporates a lot of the past.
Resilience is not a set-and-forget reservoir that shelters you from all future potential hard times. You can persevere through one difficult situation and crumble in the next. That is why it is important to cultivate it often, putting a lot of work on strengthening your resolve to stand firm when unpleasant things happen. The ability to get back on your feet now that Australia is opening up again nationally has many advantages, some of which include better coping mechanisms and better recovery i.e. shorter time to get back up.
Resilient people are healthier because they do not allow their minds to focus on seasons of failure, loss, or disappointment rather they take the learning and move on. Resilient people have common characteristics which include optimism, self-awareness, coping skills, and problem-solving skills to mention but a few. Such people develop forceful characters and are adaptable. They manage their feelings better by keeping a handle on their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. You do not suddenly become resilient. Instead, you use the many unfortunate incidents to build a spirit that bounces back.
Find a sense of purpose
When you find something that gives meaning to your life, you can make a comeback from adversity knowing the world needs whatever you offer. Purpose is a powerful confidence booster as it fosters self-worth. It will aid you to bounce back from hard times.
Embrace change as an inevitability
Life is dynamic. What you have today could disappear tomorrow. That is not pessimistic. It’s a fact. You can never fully prepare for change even though you might try in your mind. What you can do is learn to accept that there is a potential that life will not always go according to plan. Holding on to rigid plans is unhelpful when you need to embrace change, no matter how uncomfortable it is.
It is important to always look for a silver lining to your challenges. You build resilience by staying positive despite the negative occurrences. Surround yourself with positive people and messages of hope. Read and listen to positive material that you can draw strength from during tough seasons. Set the tone for the day by starting and ending it with a reflection on what’s going well.
Build on self-belief
Improve your self-confidence by telling yourself that you have what it takes to bounce back. Let it become a self-fulfilling prophecy for you. While doubt is a common companion during hard times, resilient people possess an unshakable belief in themselves and their ability to come out of challenging times stronger than before. Remember one step at a time.
Learn from your setbacks
It is often said, a setback is a set-up for a comeback. Resilient people do not view challenges as threats, but opportunities to learn and challenge themselves. Review your difficult times and find the learnings to draw from, using them to rebuild. Looking at your past struggles and how you overcame them can provide you with clues on how to overcome subsequent challenges and can inspire you to stay strong in the face of setbacks.
Shun the victim mentality
An enemy of resilience is the victim mentality which means there’s always someone else for blame for your predicament. If you are constantly looking for someone to blame for your situation you will miss the learnings and a potential way out of the situation. You are likely to stay stuck on focusing what went wrong and obsess over finding someone or something to blame for it. Staying in the victim role, will likely mean you will attract more negativity in your life. Just what you want to avoid! Resilient people take stock of their own contribution to the situation and skip recrimination.
Know your limitations
It is important to know your own strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge protects you from making unrealistic demands on yourself or setting goals outside your reach, which results in failure and leaves you at a loss. Set boundaries for yourself. It is possible to cultivate resilience by taking deliberate action to build it. All you need to do is set goals within and on the edge of your capabilities and have a willingness to bounce back should you need to, and you work your way from there.
Do you want 2021 to be your best year ever? Are you afraid to set goals in case you don't achieve them? Are you not sharing your goals with others for fear they may laugh at you? Are you willing to set yourself up for success irrespective of what’s going on around you?
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