With all the positive experiences life presents, sometimes more difficult… sometimes unimaginable… experiences occur. What can make difficult times slightly more bearable is an understanding that you are not solo in this journey and we can learn from others how to be more resilient. Everyone faces hardships, whether it pertains to relationships, health issues, insecurities, or challenges. If a goal is to realize your full potential, resiliency is crucial.
It is humbling to realize we are human, not perfect. No one among us can claim they are without flaws. We all experience failures, make mistakes, and hurt.
While nature and nurture dictate how we internalize stressful situations, an ability to remain resilient can sustain us… and often make us stronger… through experiencing hardships. How we respond can make or break us. We have a choice: Do we let adversity consume us and ruminate on the ‘what if’s?’ Or, do we acknowledge the problem, identify solutions, act rationally… and in the process become stronger for it? We have choices: Adversity can define you, destroy you, or strengthen you.
Research demonstrates while resiliency is complex, children are significantly more resilient than adults. According to Dr. Karen Rogers, psychologist at the Children’s’ Hospital in LA, higher resiliency is attributed to brain development. Children are constantly exposed to new information and experiencing new situations. The result is an ability to learn new skills, develop different types of relationships, and overcome adversity. Conversely, adults with fully-developed brains are conditioned to respond to many forms of crises and conflict. With reactions to adversity programmed, how can we adapt our behavior to increase resiliency?
Here are some important practices for Developing Resilience:
- Get enough sleep, exercise, and learn to manage stress. When you take care of your mind and body, you’re better able to cope effectively with challenges in your life.
- Practice thought awareness. Resilient people don’t let negative thoughts derail their efforts. Instead, they consistently practice positive thinking. Also, “listen” to how you talk to yourself when something goes wrong – if you find yourself making statements that are permanent, pervasive, or personalized, correct these thoughts.
- Practice cognitive restructuring to change the way that you think about negative situations and bad events.
- Learn from your mistakes and failures. Every mistake has the power to teach you something important; don’t stop searching until you’ve found the lesson. Make sure you understand the idea of “post-traumatic growth” – there can be real truth in the saying, “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”
- Choose your response. We all experience bad days and go through our share of crises. We have a choice in how we respond; we can choose to react negatively or in a panic, or we can choose to remain calm and logical to find a solution. Your reaction is always up to you.
- Maintain perspective. Resilient people understand that, although a situation or crisis may seem overwhelming in the moment, it may not make much of an impact over the long-term. Avoid blowing events out of proportion.
- Develop strong relationships. People who have strong connections are more resistant to stress and they’re happier.
- Focus on being flexible. Resilient people understand things change, and carefully-made plans may, occasionally, need to be amended or scrapped.
- Build your confidence. Remember, resilient people are confident they’re going to succeed eventually, despite setbacks. This belief in themselves also enables them to take risks: when you develop confidence and a strong sense of self, you have the strength to keep moving forward, and to take the risks you need to get ahead.