10 strategies for building resilience
Written by Jess Mullins
1. Develop Meaningful Connections
Surround yourself with caring and supportive people to spend time with and confide in. They act as a support network when hardship occurs.
Although talking to a friend does not make a problem disappear, it does allow you to share and process emotions, receive positive and encouraging feedback, brainstorm possible solutions and not feel alone when times get tough.
Meaningful connections also work in a reciprocal manner, giving you the ability to offer support for someone else during their time of need.
2. Find a Group that Resonates with You
In addition to developing individual relationships, becoming involved with community and social groups is a great way to develop a support system and feel valued and involved.
Connecting with others who are going through similar situations may help you feel not so alone and able to relate to other’s experiences.
Clubs and organizations can help create purpose, structure and support in your day-to-day lives and help you to feel grounded and connected in times of stress.
3. Be Flexible and Embrace Change
No matter how thought-out a plan may be, things can and do, change. Life hardly ever unfolds how we expect it to.
Learning to adapt to, and be flexible in, your day-to-day life helps to equip you to face one of life’s many unexpected curveballs.
Accepting the things that cannot be changed allows you to focus on the things that can be. People who embrace change do not get crushed by it, but alternatively, thrive in the face of it.
4. Choose an Optimistic Outlook
Maintaining a hopeful outlook can be difficult when times are tough, but this is also when it is essential and hugely beneficial.
Having a positive mindset does not mean to diminish or deny the gravity of the situation or event, but instead to view setbacks as temporary and to believe in yourself and your ability to face the challenges that present themselves.
Let’s use the classic example of a half glass of water to relate to this topic- There is a glass with water in it up to it’s half way mark and it is up to you to decide if it’s half full or half empty. Although your decision does not change the amount nor the quality of the water in the glass, it does change how you perceive and experience it.
5. Nurture your Body
When life gets stressful, it can be easy to neglect our basic human needs. Opting for healthful eating habits, maintaining good quality sleep patterns and prioritizing exercise everyday prepares you to face any challenge that comes your way.
Make time for things you enjoy and prioritize yourself in your own life.
6. Develop a Meditation Practice
A meditation practice is a great tool for resilience as well as for stress reduction.
Meditation and mindfulness help you quiet your mind and let go of the constant rehashing of the past and ruminating about the future. These thought patterns do not benefit you and keep you from moving forward.
Mediation helps you recognize unhelpful thought patterns and allow you to choose to remain present within the moment. Relaxation found through meditation does not help you separate from daily life, but instead, helps you find peace within daily life.
7. Seek out Purpose
People who have a strong sense of purpose tend to be more resilient. You don’t have to answer the big daunting question of “what is my life purpose” to find meaning in life.
Volunteering, getting involved with community activities or simply helping a friend are all simple ways to foster a sense of self-worth, create connections and feel valued.
8. Set Goals
Another way to develop purpose is to set realistic goals for yourself. Instead of focusing on the task or endpoint that seems utterly unachievable, try acknowledging the small accomplishments you have that incrementally add up over time. A mountain is only summited by taking a single step at a time. Celebrate the steps you take!
9. Practice Self-Compassion
Practice being your own best friend. Talk to yourself as if you are talking to someone you care about, such as a friend or family member who you are helping through a difficult time.
By being aware of the tone and language you use with yourself, you can identify harsh self-criticism and instead move towards more supportive and encouraging tendencies.
10. Take Action, Problem Solve and be Proactive
Wishing a problem away only prolongs it and does not empower you to feel in control of the outcome. Acknowledge what you can do and take action!
Foster self-discovery by asking yourself, “what can I do about my problem?” Give yourself a chance to make changes.
If the problem is overwhelming, try breaking it down into manageable steps and work through them one at a time.
You just might surprise yourself at what you can achieve when you set your intention towards something.
Don’t forget that it is always okay to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
The strategies listed above are a great place to start building up your resilience, but if you are struggling to make progress, seeking additional help such as from a licensed mental health professional may be beneficial. They will be able to assist you in developing a strategy that works best for you to move forward with.
Remember- you are not alone on this journey! Good luck and happy “Resilience-ing!”