We all go through difficult times in our lives at some point or another. But while some of us face tougher adversity than others, how we are able to withstand those times also varies widely. The capacity to overcome traumatic events- resilience – is what makes a huge difference when dealing with hardships.
So what makes us resilient? Here are some key things we can do to increase our resilience:
1. Don’t take things personally
When we take things personally, we think that whatever happened was directed at us. But if we don’t take it personally, we are able to understand that this is not our fault and that we do not deserve whatever trauma we are facing. We can come up with our own phrase to remind us of this, something like “This is not my fault and I do not deserve this.” Or “The fact that this happened has nothing to do with me.”
For more ideas, check out: Stop Taking Things Personally
2. Take self-responsibility
Having a sense of control plays a huge role when facing tough times, since we often feel that something just happened “to us.” How can we maintain that sense of control when faced with something we didn’t want in the first place? Use this simple 3 way process:
1. Figure out what it is you really want in your situation
2. Determine what action or inaction you can be responsible for in your situation.
3. Decide on an action you can commit to in order to give yourself what you really want.
For more details, read: Taking Self-Responsibility
3. Manage your emotions
While it’s fine and healthy to feel emotions, getting stuck in them or wallowing in them does not help us. Neither does resisting them and refusing to feel them. We need to practice becoming aware and working through our emotions by checking in what we are feeling and then being with that emotion (see: Get Unstuck Through Acceptance) as well as calming ourselves down in the heat of the moment by finding a technique that works for us (like listening to a favorite piece of music, taking a walk, looking at uplifting images, etc.)
4. Choose to be positive
It may sometimes be hard to stay positive, especially in the face of hardship, but once we realize that it is a choice and that we are much happier and resilient when we are positive, it becomes worthwhile making the effort. For ideas how to practice, see: Why It’s Easier To Be Negative Than Positive And How To Change It
5. Use your strengths and find meaning
Happiness research has shown us that in order to feel happy and fulfilled, we need to use our key strengths on a daily basis and pursue something that is meaningful to us. Having this in our life helps us bounce back from whatever happened before and refocus on our current life. For more information about strengths, check out: Using Your Strengths and for more about purpose: Living Purposefully
6. Build a strong support network
We are not supposed to go this alone. The best support comes from other resilient people who know how to listen and encourage us, rather than trying to just tell us what to do. If we don’t have a support network yet, we can actively begin by building it. It takes some time and effort, but you I have met great people through all sorts of venues: classes, hobbies, Meetups, social events, support groups, interest groups, work, activities with kids or pets etc. For more, read: None Of Us Can Go It Alone
We all have the capacity to be strong and resilient – it just takes some practice. How will you choose to be resilient?