Life is uncharted. Maps can only be made from where we’ve been – not where we have yet to go.
The only certainty is uncertainty, and we can experience potentially life-altering choices on a daily basis. Each nebulous choice we make brings with it a unique flood of thoughts and emotions. Yet, we generally adapt well, over time, to life-changing situations. This is, in part, thanks to resilience.
Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity. As much as resilience involves endurance against difficult experiences, it also empowers us to grow and improve along the way.
Resilience is learned; it involves behaviours, thoughts, and actions that we can all develop. Improving resilience takes time and intentional effort, much like building a muscle.
To increase your capacity for resilience, here are four core components on which to focus: connection, wellness, healthy thinking, and meaning.
In the middle of challenges, connecting with empathic and understanding people may remind you that you are not alone. Concentrate on locating trustworthy and sympathetic people who can validate (or empathise with) your feelings, as this can help you develop resilience.
Self-care may be a trendy buzzphrase, but it’s also a proven strategy for improving mental health and resilience. This is because stress is both physical and emotional. Positive lifestyle variables such as a healthy diet, adequate sleep, plenty of water, and regular exercise can help your body adapt to stress and lessen the impact of negative emotions like anxiety and sadness.
How you think has a significant impact on how you feel and how resilient you are when confronted with challenges. Identify areas of illogical thinking, such as a tendency to catastrophise problems or a belief that the universe is conspiring against you, and replace them with more balanced and realistic thinking habits.
For example, if you’re feeling powerless in the face of difficulty, tell yourself that what occurred to you isn’t a predictor of what will happen in the future. You may not be able to affect the outcome of a highly stressful situation, but you can control how you understand and react to it. Remember, we can map out the past with amazing accuracy, but what happens in the next moment will always hold the potential for something radically new.
You can gain a sense of purpose, promote self-worth, connect with people, and tangibly help others by volunteering at a local homeless shelter or just supporting a friend in need, all of which can empower you to build your own resilience.
Resilience is present in any aspect of our lives where we are facing adversity. Be it personal, financial or elsewhere. But the underlying principles of forging resilience are the same. Build a network of strong connections, focus on personal wellness, keep a healthy mindset, and find your meaning.