Resilience is about being able to cope and adapt to stressful situations. Some people seem inherently adept at “rolling with the punches” while others can struggle in times of stress and change that are thrust upon them. Learning how to boost our resiliency equips us to better ride the inevitable waves of adversity that life throws at us. Here are some characteristics of the resilient:
1. Knowing that “this too shall pass” and that a bad situation does not equal a bad life. Being able to anchor in on the temporary nature of the situation as a strategy to overcome it, that it will end, that it can be transcended. Perhaps life will never be the same again, but that believing that they do not have to remain in this experience long term and can create a new version of the future.
2. Releasing your expectations that life rolls out in a straight line. Life rarely goes according to plan for anyone; I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get some curly ones thrown at them through the course of a lifetime. Being able to accept that this is part of the human experience, and sometimes shit does just happen. Be that inadvertently created by our hand, someone else’s choices impacting on our lives, or Mother Nature showing her force – that coping with the downs as well as the ups is an inevitable part of life.
3. Allowing themselves to feel their emotions. Bottling it up, denying what’s happening is happening can lead to massive overwhelm in a crisis.
This can help us move through our feelings to a place of calm and acceptance with more speed. Tears have healing power. Having more compassion for ourselves in that it’s okay to feel vulnerable from time to time, it doesn’t mean we are weak, or we have failed.
4. Drawing on previous times of capability. Being able to look back with the perspective of hindsight at other situations where they have previously weathered the storm to draw strength in their self-efficacy to face the current situation. Creating strength and purpose by connecting to evidence of their capability to not just survive and cope, but rise and ultimately thrive when encountering the worst is an effective technique for boosting resilience.
5. Taking action even when everything seems too hard. Just finding the right next thing to do and then taking action is powerful. It might not be the thing that solves the whole problem (because such an option is unlikely to exist) but generating positive energy through taking action – even imperfect action – so a sense of momentum builds and the feeling of stuck-ness dissipates.
Next week…more on developing resilience, because life never rolls out exactly as we plan.