Resilience has been defined as “…one’s ability to cope with stress and adversity, and to bounce back and possibly grow through the experience. More than simply surviving difficulty, stress, and setback, it is sometimes referred to as “thriving.”
Resilience can also include the ability to adapt to difficult situations, manage the emotional fallout from them, and to maintain healthy physical and psychological functioning. Being resilient does not mean having to simply endure difficult events and passages. It is not about being stoic as you deal with difficulties on your own. An important feature of resilient people is their ability to tap into resources outside of themselves as they manage emotions and move into recovery from difficulties.
What can building and maintaining resilience do for you?
Resilience helps by protecting you from mental health conditions like depression or anxiety. These two conditions are the most common forms of mental health difficulty and tend to increase and worsen during difficult times. Maintaining a resilient lifestyle can reduce factors that increase the risks for these and other mental health conditions.
Resilience can reduce impacts from traumatic events, setbacks and losses, and stressful situations. It can help improve coping skills if you are experiencing physical or emotional difficulties.
Building and maintaining resilience can also increase positive factors in your life, such as hope. When people are hopeful, they can abide much difficulty. When lacking hope, people trend toward unhealthy emotions, behaviors, and outcomes. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future, and resilience is a key factor in looking ahead positively and hopefully. Resilience increases one’s ability to accept and even anticipate changes and view new challenges with less anxiety, sadness, and resignation.
What can one do to being to increase resilience? Following are a few ideas to consider.
Recognize Your Signs of Stress. Stress often manifests in physical reaction in people. Where do you feel stress in your body? For many it is in muscle tightness or pain, digestive difficulties, cognitive interruptions like forgetfulness, inattention, or even vertigo.
Many people experience emotional warning signs such as anger or rage, anxiety, feelings of panic, or perhaps feeling disoriented, lost, or helpless. Behavioral warning signs might include degrading of disciplines and healthy habits, and the adoption of unhealthy eating, drinking, sleeping, time use, and social behaviors.
Here are few ideas to counter stress and anxiety and build a more resilient mindset and behavior set.
Increase positive emotions each day by such activities as identifying sources of hope, joy, or humor around you. Write them down and recall them often. Give the memories of them time to influence your emotions.
Express thanks to more people more often – at the store, at work, and especially among family and friends. Write your gratitude thoughts in a journal or send them in a note to people. If you are a praying person express gratitude often in prayer. Make entire prayer times only gratitude focused.
Image via author, Unnamed 12,000 + ft. peak, High Sierra crest on the edge of Yosemite National Park, California