First and foremost, resilience is a skill, and not a trait. This is great news because it means anyone can build resilience, you don’t have to be born with it.
If you type resilience definition into your search engine, you will likely find a series of answers. It means a lot of different things in many different contexts.
However, the straightforward definition is this – the ability to anticipate, absorb, and accommodate/recover from an event timely and efficiently. This may include preserving, restoring, or improving existing situations, structures, or functions.
You can see from that description, that the word resilience can be applied to more than just individuals. It can be applied to corporations, communities, and even processes. However, our focus is on you! To break it down to its base level – resilience is the ability to bounce back. Let’s break it down further.
This is the person, system, or process that is facing interruption. The resilience of what?
This is the shock or stressor. The resilience to what?
Capacity to Cope
This includes your exposure to an issue, your sensitivity to it, and your capacity to adapt.
Your reaction to the disturbance is the survive and cope, to recover and learn, and to transform. Your capability to deal with an issue forms your reaction to it – it influences your ability to bounce back.
The Importance of Resilience
Why is building resilience important? It is going to improve your quality of life. The higher your levels of resilience, the better your psychological and physical health will be. Resilient people are less likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression and manage most facets of their life more efficiently.
There is the added benefit of healthier relationships as well. One of the key aspects of resilience is the ability to understand and control your emotions, which is going to naturally improve how you relate to others and thus make your relationships stronger (and healthier).
Essentially, resilience helps people view their situations differently. We waste a lot of energy trying to control things that we have no influence over and letting go of what we do have control over.
Resilience improves your ability to bounce back from setbacks, challenges and adversity, to control what you can, and let go of the rest.
Resilience is key to overcoming hardship in life, achieving goals and being a strong and resourceful person. The more resilient you are, the more you will achieve in life, period.
With resilience, you learn about yourself and start to get a clearer view of what you value.
Mindset – Developing Resilience
There are three key steps that people experience as they attempt to build greater resilience.
At this stage, you invest your energy into learning about the situation you are facing. If you are dealing with a health diagnosis, then this is the research stage where you set out to learn as much as possible. If you are dealing with change, you will still embark on a research project, it will just be shaped by the situation you are dealing with. The first stage is important because it sets the scene for the next two steps.
In this step, you begin to learn new behaviors and coping strategies. You discover what it looks like to take care of yourself properly, from your physical and mental health to your social and financial health. You learn new ways to manage stress and deal with the unpredictability of life.
Finally, you will find growth. This is when the experience starts to shift your priorities. You now understand what is going on, you are learning how to manage it, and now you are growing into your new reality.
Often, this is when resilient people start to notice how grateful they are for everything in their life. Gratitude has a large role to play in resilience.
Resilient people often share several characteristics. One of the biggest is outlook. To build resilience, you are required to adopt a positive mindset. Your attitude is key.
For example, if you view failure as a learning opportunity, then you have a greater understanding and are in greater control of your emotions. This type of positive outlook is key to resilience. This positive mindset will serve as your fuel as you attempt to carry on in the face of adversity or change.
In addition to a positive mindset, there are other contributing factors to resilience. One of which is your support network. It’s much easier to build resilience when you have a safety net of people who love and support you.
- A positive view of yourself.
- Feeling secure in your strengths, skills, and ability to deal with difficult situations.
- Being a strong communicator.
- Being a strong problem-solver.
- Maintinaing a never say die attitude.
- A strong decision-making ability.
- The ability to put together plans and follow through.
- The ability to see the bigger picture.
Building The Contributing Factors of Resilience
If you do not currently possess these qualities, there’s good news. Just as you can build resilience, you can build each of the contributing factors we mentioned above. In fact, we’re even going to tell you how!
Adversity is the building block of resilience. When obstacles, setbacks and challenges arise and they always will in life, it is how you view, and face these challenges that either builds your resilience or not.
Those who lay down and die in the face of challenges are missing some of the greatest opportunities in life, including personal growth, inner strength, belief in the self and building the skill of resilience, which benefits of all facets of life and self.
When you change your mindset to view adversity as a gift, instead of something negative, you can then begin to reap all the rewards that it provides.
Those who have faced and overcome the greatest of struggles are those who are the strongest and most positive people. They see the silver lining in all obstacles and setbacks. They know they can face anything and attain their goals, and even through the hardest of challenges, they find solutions and the resolve to keep going and are confident in their ability to face anything that comes their way.
Those who are resilient, use past adversity to keep them going in current and future struggles. Their experiences of adversity actually lift them up, make them stronger and give them the peace of mind they need to trust that they can face any challenge that comes their way.
One example of how adversity has a silver lining and how it is a powerful catalyst in building resilience that can change your life is the story of Candy Lightner.
Ms. Lightner lost her young daughter on May 3, 1980 to a drunk driver in California. As a result, she created MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) on September 5, 1980 an organization that has provided far reaching drunk driving education and lobbying for stricter drunk driving laws and related deaths and is still going strong today.
Ms. Lightner transformed tragedy into a crusade and was able to give meaning to her daughter’s death. She turned the greatest adversity into resilience, with positive action that gave meaning and purpose to her own life.
There are thousands of stories like Ms. Lightner of people who have faced mind- blowing adversity and used it for positive change.
Create a Support Network
You have to be proactive about building a strong support network with people you trust and are close to. Think of your support network as a circle of trust. It takes time to build strong connections, but it’s worth it. If you have close friends and family members, then take the time to build trust and empathy with them by approaching them with an open heart.
Develop a Tolerance For Discomfort
When you are faced with new, challenging, and difficult situations there is a natural level of discomfort involved, so you must build a tolerance for discomfort. Stepping outside your comfort zone, especially, initially is key to developing resilience.
Instead of reacting to adversity with hopelessness, you have to build your skill of viewing a situation as something that can be repaired. You cannot control what challenges life throws your way, but what you can control is how you respond to those challenges. Watch how Rocky Balboa teaches his son to the lesson of resilience in this great scene.
Develop Decision-Making Skills
Would you say you’re a strong decision-maker or are you an indecisive individual? For a lot of people, the very idea of decision-making is stressful. It’s so stressful that they obsess over making the wrong (or a bad) decision that they avoid doing so altogether.
Decisiveness is an important skill and it’s key to building resilience. The only way to build your decision-making skills is to practice daily. Be mindful of every decision you make and notice just how
often you easily make decisions. This will help you tackle the bigger decisions you fear.
Learn to Let Go
You don’t control everything – you can’t. The problem is we often struggle to accept that fact. There is nothing more important than learning to let go and just going with the flow. Life is going to be filled with nauseating twists and dizzying turns – you just have to lean into those.
When you can’t control something, you cannot stress. Control what you can and let the rest go. Change is a part of life and it’s going to help you build resilience.
You can’t sit back on your laurels. You can’t ignore a problem; you can’t ignore adversity. Ignoring adversity just makes everything worse. You have to take action. If you feel a fire burning inside you and you jump into action to make a plan, but don’t do anything to execute your plan… then you’ve wasted your time and energy. Action and execution are key.
Search for Lessons
When you are dealing with hardship or adversity, you have to actively look for the lesson. Adversity is something hiding a wonderful opportunity and there is always a chance to learn more about yourself.
Often, resilience is a chance to develop new strengths and skills that will lead to an improvement in your life in the long-term. This is a great reminder to hold onto when you’re going through the discomfort of adversity or change.
If you hold negative views of yourself, then you have to change that. Instead, focus on finding your strengths. You can pinpoint areas that require work because that will help you build your confidence and increase your self-esteem. Ultimately, knowing your strengths and skills will help you build your self-esteem, thus increasing your resilience.
Can you still hear your inner-voice? Or, is it drowned out by the voices around you? It’s difficult to trust your instincts when your inner voice is constantly being drowned out. Tap into your inner voice and start listening to your intuition. When you follow your instincts, it’s difficult to go wrong.
Build a Positive Mindset
Do you complain a lot? You might view that as blowing off steam and sometimes you are justified to do so. However, if you have a tendency to complain constantly and you see the cup as half empty rather than half full, then you need to snap yourself out of it. You have to build a positive mindset.
The best way to do that is to take a break daily to look at your life and make a note of what you are grateful for. There’s a lot to be thankful for if you just look. It will help you change your mindset and learn to look at the positives.
The circumstances of life change constantly. It might sound trite, but life truly is a rollercoaster. However, when you are faced with adversity, you are strong enough and capable enough to guide yourself out of it. In order to be resilient, you must have hope.
Adversity isn’t permanent, it’s a temporary state that you can overcome, the hope outlook strengthens your resolve and ability to walk through what feels like the darkest of tunnels, because there is always be the light of hope creeping in.
Power Skills of Resilience
- Inner Strength
- Optimism and Positive Thinking
- Adaptability and Acceptance
- Emotional Control
- Trusting Yourself
- Strong Problem-Solving Skills
- No Victim Mentality
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