6 Powerful Ways You Build Resilience In Your Life

Nov 5, 2021

Do you feel that your present is getting consumed by your past? That you are stuck. Feeling as though you were trapped on a ship lost at sea, surrounded by misfortune with no way to escape? You are not alone. A lot of people feel the same way and wonder how they can build resilience. Most people can recover from adversity — but some never bounce back. And, this is something that boggles many scientists trying to research and find the underlying causes for what underlies the difference. 

 Our memories cause us to experience certain emotions, whether they are positive or negative. And thus, when we remember them, it brings back the sensation of feeling happy or sad about them. Some make us laugh, while others make us feel despair. However, there are some memories involving adversity that affect us more seriously and subconsciously. 

Painful memories, bad experiences, negative emotions, or deep pain caused by them can linger and affect us in ways that feel irreversible.  

This is where learning how to build resilience enters. Resilience is that unique skill that helps us overcome swiftly from adverse situations. 

quote by John R. Miles on how to build resilience

If you are resilient, you can rebound and keep going when life throws obstacles your way. Often the challenges you face in life can even make you stronger. And, although those adverse situations may be permanent, we don’t have to let them affect us or keep affecting us in the future. 

In fact, you often end up learning and growing as a result. These are the people who can build resilience, so ideally, you would also want to be one of them. Don’t worry. It is possible, and I will provide you with some scientifically-backed ways that have worked for me. 

This article is based on an episode I did on the Passion Struck Podcast.

6 Ways to Build Resilience 

As I discussed in my last article on the importance in life of being resilient, the ability to cope with adversity isn’t something you inherit. Nor are we born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can develop by working on yourself by tackling your fears, self-limiting beliefs, and self-doubt. 

 Possessing resilience is much more than surviving unfortunate conditions. We require resilience every day to overcome the stressors we all face as we raise a family, overcome work situations, deal with health problems, navigate issues with others, heal from broken relationships or losses, and have the willpower to keep going.

Embrace the Reality and Fight its Permanence

It is natural to want to push adversity to the side and not deal with it. After all, who wants to let adversity linger. But that shouldn’t be the approach of someone with the mindset of becoming passion struck. In fact, there is a lot of data that illustrates that we often overestimate how long grief or pain will persist and its gravity. 

Wharton’s top-rated professor Adam Grant and Face Book’s COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote the New York Times bestseller “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.” The book discusses how sometimes we get it into our heads that the pain from adversity will last forever. And, we need to fight the permanence and embrace reality by understanding that whatever pain or grief you’re presently enduring, it will not last.

With that perspective, your hardships will only strengthen your state of mind enabling you to be flexible enough to adapt to any crisis and make the most out of it.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”

Find Social Support

One of the main things that often gets lost when we bounce back from adversity is the importance of connections with caring, supportive, empathetic, understanding, and positive people. Lost in all of the research that’s been done on resiliency is the essence of social circumstances. However, recent 2015 research published in the journal Ecology and Society demonstrates that if support is provided by social systems in times of adversity, that support creates resilience in the individual.

Elliot Friedman, a resiliency researcher, says, “The availability of social support in all its forms—instrumental support, emotional support, support with how you think about things—they all matter and help us in facing a challenge.”

Look around you and remind yourself that you are not the only one surrounded by difficulties. Good social connections are tied to more elevated psychological and physical well-being. Thus, it’s not surprising that social relationships also matter regarding resiliency, partly because they help us feel less stress when we are suffering.

Just because the pain is personal doesn’t mean you have to go through it all alone. Share your feelings with trustworthy friends, family members, behavior therapists, and/or counselors. I have found that how resilient we are may have as much or more to do with our support circle than our personal strengths. 

Consider being a part of some group of your interest, interact with people, share your thoughts and ideas. You will get the social support that you need to reclaim hope and a sense of purpose. It will also help to distract from you thinking about the adverse situation.  

Focus on your health

With all the stressors in our daily lives, self-care is something we tend to deprioritize. Stress disrupts your psychological and physical health. By working on the betterment of both, you will find yourself more prepared to face stressful situations when need be. The measures needed to be taken include:

  • Proper sleep
  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Healthy food 

Deficiency of sleep can result in loss of memory, focus, the ability to make decisions, learning capability and, the strength to cope with difficulties. So make sure to sleep seven to nine hours daily at night.

It is scientifically proven that aerobic exercise releases stress hormones and regulates the chemicals in your body. Your mind gets sharpened, blood pressure gets optimized, and your stress level decreases. So whenever you are tense and stressed, go for a walk, run, fitness class, or bike ride, and exercise your body.

And when it comes to healthy foods, according to the research of Edith Cowan University,  people who eat 470 grams of fruit and vegetables have 10 percent lower stress levels than people that consume less than 230 grams. The World Health Organization also recommends that we consume 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily. 

Your mental health is the key to it all, as it has a direct correlation with your brain health. Cindy Shaw talked about this a few episodes ago when she explained that brain health is the hardware and mental health is the software. Both need to be operating at their highest levels. Prayer, meditation, yoga, and self-introspection can help remind you of all the pleasant things in your life and relax your mind, rekindling the hope to overcome the setbacks that life throws at us.

Get to know the inner self.

As a result of adversity, many people are strengthened and become better versions of themselves. Their continuous steadfastness supported them and gave them a better sense of the importance of relationships, values, and purpose. If you adopt this approach of appreciating what life offers, you will get another step closer to being resilient.

In her book, It’s Grief: The Dance of Self-Discovery Through Trauma and Loss, psychotherapist Edy Nathan provides guidance on how to overcome grief, engage with it, and allow the experience to be a time of insight and post-traumatic growth. 

I find that for me, there are three keys to establishing foundational self-discovery. Become comfortable with discomfort, self-education, and spend time with yourself and your thoughts, as simple as it sounds. By knowing who you are, you can get a much better sense of coping with the adversity life has thrown your way. 

Cultivate Positive Thinking to Build Resilience

The way your mind operates plays an essential role in how you are going to face a setback. Try to always have a realistic approach, realistic dreams, goals, and targets. Get rid of rational and wishful thinking and devise a plan to cope with hardships. Assuming that a specific event is the end of all your hopes and dreams won’t do you any good. 

A resilient person would accept that towering obstacles are a part of life. They may not avoid the inevitable, but at least they will find their way around it by adopting a healthy mindset.

According to research, your brain functions better in a state of positivity. From the fundamentals of the broaden-and-build theory of positivity by B. L. Fredrickson, upon mediational analyses, it was observed in students that positivity has a significant role in being resilient.

How to be positive?

· Identify the things that bring negativity to your life and look for ways to change them.

· Have a positive surrounding, be with optimistic people, and learn from them.

· Discover yourself, talk to yourself, think about the things you lack, and sincerely work on them.

· Keep smiling even if you are faking it. It is proven by research that smiling can help you stay positive. For the same reason, you should be open to humor and spend time with people that make you laugh.

Staying optimistic doesn’t mean you are to ignore the problems and mindlessly continue moving forward. It is to stay positive and face the issue with the hope of solving them instead of being afraid. Once you learn to trust your abilities, problems will start to solve themselves.

Change your approach: Reframe stress as a challenge instead of a threat.

Rather than taking stress, adversity and, trauma as a problem, take it as a challenge. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford, says that we spend a lot of time worrying about stress and not enough harnessing it to learn and grow. Think of your stress to be a way to improve yourself rather than getting consumed by it. Mark each of the adverse situations as a task and learn from it.

So when a new task comes, look behind you. What measures did you take to tackle the previous problems? What were the mistakes that you made? What can you do this time to not repeat the same mistakes? Move forward, knowing that with each challenge, you are learning, growing, and rising.

As Nelson Mandela once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

When times get tough, recall your hard-earned strengths and tell yourself you’re up for the challenge. And don’t think you have to go it alone. Let your support system help you and freely give of yourself to them. Remember, the hill seems much less steep when we’re standing together.

The Passion Struck podcast is helping men and women unlock their true potential and become passion struck every day. Listen to the Passion Struck Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts online. For more information, if you are in a toxic relationship, click here.

Make a choice, work hard, and step into your sharp edges.

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