How to become more resilient

How to become more resilient

Resilience is something you can learn, build and nurture. Here’s how.

What is resilience?

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth

Stress intensity varies from one person to the other. Avoid comparisons, your best friend might not react the same way you do to a situation. Each person is different.

How to become more resilient?

1. Know yourself

Acknowledge that you sometimes struggle to cope with adversity.

Ask yourself the following questions and give yourself an honest answer:

  • Which situations are stressful for me:
  • Dentist appointments, giving a presentation at work, or maybe meeting new people?

  • What do I feel during these situations?
  • Fear of looking ridiculous, shyness?

When I’m in a stressful situation:

  • What are my strengths: recognizing I’m stressed, managing my breathing, preparing ahead of time?
  • What are my weaknesses: Loss of focus, getting flustered, trouble sleeping?

In the past when I overcame similar ordeals:

  • What kind of thinking helped me? For instance, this went well last time, why would it be any different this time?
  • What did I do: meditated, confided in someone, got some exercise?

Name the things that bother you and come up with a game plan to help you feel more in control when a stressful episode occurs.

2. Be flexible

Accept the stressful situation for what it is. Accepting reality increases the ability to tolerate the episode.

Adapt:

  • Avoidance and denial may make your life easier for a while, but it won't help you bounce back and make decisions that contribute to your well-being.
  • If you persist, it will eventually undermine your resilience training.

3. Get creative

Don't hesitate to challenge your assumptions. What if things could be done differently?

Leave your past behind and think outside the box.

4. Be brave

Don't let failure get the best of you: meet it head on to learn and grow.

Channel emotional pain from a setback, rejection or mistake to build your capacity to handle future pain more effectively.

Act despite your fears: don't let them paralyze you.

5. Boost your morale with a healthy lifestyle

Mental and physical health is intimately linked, so choose lifestyle habits that pay off.

Feel like you've lost your bearings? Reconnect with yourself and remove toxic stressors from your life:

  • A daily diet of bad news from the media: tune out for a while!
  • Social networks with contradictory info: turn off your screen and focus on activities that make you feel good.
  • Friends who are more stressed than you: maybe take a little break.

Remember that change takes time. But if you’re struggling or feel that you’re on the verge of a crisis, then ask for help.