Resilience is a term used frequently in day-to-day life, but what is resilience, and how does it affect our life?
The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. More simply, it refers to how well you can “bounce back” from the difficulties of life.
Being resilient doesn’t mean you will not experience difficulty or distress — it is just the difference between handling pressure calmly versus losing your cool. Resilient people tend to maintain a positive outlook and cope with stress more effectively.
Here are a few strategies to help implement resilience in your life:
Make connections: Relationships are one of the first things to suffer when you are under stress. Maintaining positive, healthy relationships with friends and family is imperative to your mental and physical health. Rather than succumbing stress, try accepting love and support from those around you to strengthen your resilience.
Set goals: Develop realistic goals and go for them! Do something regularly that enables you to move toward your goals, even if it seems like a small accomplishment. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What is one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?” Setting and accomplishing realistic goals will give you the confidence to continue reaching your goals.
Have fun: Changing the way you look at a situation can take away some of the fear and anxiety associated with it. It is important to accept that change is a part of life and to take on new challenges with an optimistic point of view. By developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts, you can build resilience. Practice keeping things in perspective by engaging in relaxing activities such as walking, yoga, or anything that brings you peace.
Taking control: People who are stressed often feel they are at the mercy of events beyond their control. Initiating small decisive actions can give you a sense of empowerment and help you maintain control in situations you might otherwise feel anxious about and wish away. Taking control of small decisions can give you the confidence to take more significant steps later.
Acceptance: There are things in life you may not be able to change. A crucial step in building personal resilience is accepting that you do not have the power to change everything, so focus on circumstances that you do have control over. Instead of stressing yourself by worrying about things outside your control, focus on those things you can change.
But, most importantly:
Don’t give up: Resilience takes time to build. It is important not to be discouraged if you don’t feel the effects immediately. Instead, continue with the strategies that work best for you and rest assured that resilience is not innate— it is a skill that you learn.
American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.
“10 Ways to Build Resilience.” 10 Ways to Build Resilience, wellmd.stanford.edu/content/dam/sm/wellmd/documents/10-ways-to-build-resilience.pdf.