Resiliency: Why is it important and how to build it

Resiliency: Why is it important and how to build it

02/8/19 Laura Gibbons

Do you ever wonder why some people are better able to bounce back from life’s challenges, difficulties, and disappointments while others may not? Why some get stuck after a setback while others can move forward?

“Things turn out best for those people who make the best of the way things turns out.” – John Wooden

The best way to describe it is resilience – the ability to recover, spring back, or rebound from a situation that tests us.

We all have the ability to be resilient, but some may have been building their resilience muscle over time and continue to do so in a way that makes it more readily available. Can you reflect on a time when you overcame something and showed resilience? This could be in your personal or work life. How do you rate your overall resilience? Click here to test your resilience.

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” – Gever Tulley

Wherever you are at, you can build your resilience so that you feel better able to face challenges, manage stress, and focus on proactive and positive steps to move forward. Think of a rubber band. The more it stretches, the more tension you feel. Overtime and with practice, we learn that although we may get stretched….and stretched, we can bounce back.

How to Build Resilience

Positive self-image and confidence in one’s strengths and abilities: If you have a belief that you have the capabilities and resources to handle new situations, change, difficulty, or other disruptions, you are more likely to avoid negative self-talk, feel less helpless, and maintain an attitude that you CAN manage whatever comes your way.

Problem solving: Feeling you can solve problems rather than being stumped by them, propels you into problem-solving mode rather than worry. Worry tends to keep us stuck, but being able to take one small step forward releases us. Be your own problem-solving superhero who is not scared to tackle problems knowing solutions are around the corner.

Adapting to change: You know what they say, change is the one thing you can count on. Accepting change and focusing on the things within your control can help alter the way you think about change and the situation. If you see change as an opportunity, it will open up possibilities.

Regulating emotions: We all have triggers that ignite our flight, fight, or freeze response. Being aware of our triggers, and being able to slow down in those moments allows us to calm ourselves and let the emotions move through. This helps us to access our cognitive resources and allows more positive emotions to come in to regulate the negative emotions rather than be hijacked by them.

Positivity/Optimism: Do you have a mantra you live by? One that really struck me when doing a workout program was, “You can do hard things.” It doesn’t say easy, it says hard. This can apply to other areas of life. If you can be optimistic that things will turn out ok and let positives outweigh negatives, then you will be building up that positive circuitry in the brain that is more solution-oriented than problem-focused. To promote positivity, avoid these cognitive-distortions.

Support network & connections: Having a support network and making regular connections (not just on facebook) can help us feel more connected and better able to cope with the everyday challenges of life. Whether you are receiving support or providing it – or just laughing and having fun – the returns are two-fold. And so make that phone call or schedule that coffee date.

Self-care: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to resilience. Include good nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and other activities that feel you up into each day.

Finding meaning: Even in the hardest of times, resiliency can be finding some meaning in the adversity. You just may learn something about yourself or others, gain a new perspective on life, increase your empathy, find a renewed sense of purpose, deepen your relationships, and recognize new appreciations.

The overall benefits of building resilience can help reduce stress, increase overall well-being, improve a sense of resolve among challenges and setbacks, and view your journey through a new lens of life-long learning and growth.

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