Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity with a more robust, broader perspective.
But is it possible to build resilience when times get tough?
Tough times take resilience.
Cultivating resilience and being good at building resilience does not mean that you do not make mistakes, struggle or ask for support and help when needed.
What is meant by resilience is the platform that grows out of a challenging situation; having an adaptive attitude allows us to build a good set of coping skills to overcome setbacks, solve problems, and adapt successfully to a traumatic event.
Often, when people get confronted with challenging times, the net result is that they feel helpless, afraid, and out of their depth.
It’s human nature to respond negatively to difficult moments in life, but it’s not feasible for us to stay in that space for too long.
Traumatic events can impact our mental and physical health, so we must do all we can to cultivate resilience and spend time releasing pent-up emotions.
Physical and mental implications
Psychological trauma can induce a whole range of mental health issues, such as:
- Bad memories and flashbacks
- Anxiety and depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Numbness and dissociation
Having a broader perspective on the situation while maintaining supportive relationships can also help us survive change.
Depending on the predicament you find yourself in, it can often feel impossible to accept that something difficult has happened. For example, receiving a terrifying health diagnosis of a loved one or dealing with sudden grief are all profoundly upsetting experiences.
It’s how you view setbacks.
Building the capacity for resilience doesn’t take away the pain and trauma associated with difficult times. Instead, it allows us to cope with stress to build confidence, trust, and self-control.
Despite dealing with many significant challenges, resilient people search for the positive while seeking appropriate solutions.
Resilience allows us to keep moving forward instead of fixating on the problem.
Those who stay tough in the face of adversity understand the importance of having strong and supportive relationships, a social network that allows them to build relationships and self-esteem.
Resilience helps people to unpack their emotions and gives them an overall sense that no matter what gets thrown at them, they will find a way to cope.
People must practice self-care measures such as self-compassion, watching their diet, and getting enough sleep during challenging times.
Building resilience isn’t just about being strong and able to cope. It involves looking after oneself so that people have the reserve to confront their emotions and develop the capacity to face whatever comes.
Ways to build resilience
During tough times, resilient people focus on what is within their control; they also tend to cultivate this same thinking when seeking resolution for whatever is bothering them.
All this involves behaviors that allow them to stay prepared for future events and pay attention to what worked for them in the past.
Resilient people understand that to deal with challenges, there must be a specific focus on managing stress while extinguishing the situation as much as possible.
There are several strategies that people can use to build resilience, they involve:
#1. Realizing what you can control
Positive thinkers are the most resilient among us; for every problem, they are usually the ones working hard to find a solution while focusing on how to make the situation better.
Those who veer towards pessimism view their own experiences blindly and are less likely to seek solutions. Often, pessimistic people adopt a victim mentality where they find it challenging to move forward.
Positive -thinkers adopt a more objective view of the control they have. There are plenty of examples where people have overcome severe tragedy by viewing their situations positively.
Take actress and singer Jennifer Hudson as an example. Six years ago, her mother, brother, and nephew were all shot dead after William Balfour, her sister’s ex-partner, conducted a frenzied attack.
Despite the profound pain, this caused her, Hudson learned how to forgive Balfour for what he did while creating the Julian D. King gift foundation in memory of her nephew.
Proof that resilience, self-compassion, and forgiveness are possible in the face of the most brutal tragedies.
#2. Re-evaluate your interpretations
Resilient people face challenges by optimistically explaining them.
For example, survivors of natural disasters might say something like, ”this was the most abominable thing that’s ever happened to me”.
At the same time, an optimist might use a different language entirely, ” it was scary at times, but luckily no-one was hurt, and we will rebuild as a community.”
Essentially, we have the power to interpret our circumstances; by focusing on what was gained rather than lost, we can build resilience for future events to come and help others do the same.
It might be helpful for those who tend to view things pessimistically to ask themselves: ”What positive things can come out of this situation?”
#3. Drawing on the support of others
Resilient people understand that it takes a stable support network to get through tough times. People who cultivate resilience appreciate the people in their lives and have gratitude for the small wins.
People who seek outside support have a clear sense that difficulties cannot always be faced alone. Therefore, they understand the value of supportive people and the strength that a stable social network brings.
Studies show that children with challenging backgrounds usually do well in life so long as they have one stable adult in their lives compared to those without an appropriate adult figure.
The ability to re-frame perceptions, experiences, and possible solutions in the climate of a safe and loving relationship is often the safeguard against the harsh effects of adverse life experiences.
#4. Give yourself a break
Another thing resilient people are good at is resting! Resilient people understand that stress can harm the body’s system and adopt adequate self-care measures.
All this may involve:
- Getting a change of scenery
- Going on holiday or taking a break
- Forgiving yourself for making or repeating the same mistake or any other mishaps
- Rewarding yourself for achievements
When trying to be more resilient, gratitude is usually one way we can learn to appreciate the small wins while focusing on moving forward.
In a nutshell, through resilience, we know to develop our own strengths and weaknesses through adversity.
Getting in touch
If you would like to learn how to be more resilient, make sure you get in touch with one of our specialists who can help.