5 Ways to Strengthen Resilience

Tips for being resilient, optimistic, and strong.

Sep 16, 2020

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Even though life throws challenges, these can be taken as opportunities to grow, and tapping into resilience is a way to make the transformation happen. Resilience is a buildable skill that can help you become optimistic, strong, and adaptable.

After all, author Joshua J. Marine wrote: Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

Resilience, as defined by MindTools, is the ability to bounce back when things do not go as planned. Here are five resilience tips that will not only assist you overcome challenges, they may help you to be more productive and optimistic.

Take care of yourself

You can perform best when you take the time to look after yourself. This starts with getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and making time to do the things you enjoy. Do your best to get outside each day for some fresh air and a dose of healthy Vitamin D.

Try to make your environment as relaxed as possible: lower the lighting, take a hot bath, and calm your mind by listening to a soothing meditation. When you feel well emotionally and physically, you will have the strength to build resilience.

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Reframe

Resilience is nurtured by optimism. Psychologist Lucy Hone shared on TEDx that being challenged is actually a part of living and each person in this world has their own personal hardships. She added that resilient people choose where they wish to place their attention and are realistic about what they can change in life and what they cannot.

Hone is not suggesting that one should diminish negativity, rather she recommends finding the positive aspect to it.  She advises you to put words of inspiration in a place where you can see them every day.

Keeping a gratitude journal will also help you think positively, according to Entrepreneur. Developing optimism starts with focusing on the good; avoid dwelling on negative thoughts and reduce time spent “doomscrolling.” A study reported that “Higher levels of optimism have been related prospectively to better subjective well-being in times of adversity or difficulty.”

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Believe in yourself

As life has ups and downs, first take time out before reacting when you feel challenged. By giving yourself some space and time to reframe, you may better understand that challenges are an opportunity for growth and an ability to learn from your mistakes.

Understand that the difficult situation will pass and have faith that you can overcome it. You are more resilient when you believe you are more effective, according to Entrepreneur. This belief will help you move forward with your goals.

It is also helpful to avoid being rigid in your thoughts. Instead, try to be flexible. As life is in flux, things do not always go as planned. When you realize that life could send you an unexpected surprise, you will not take a challenging situation so hard and may easily bounce back with a “Plan B.” Again, be firm in your belief that this will pass and that you are able to overcome the situation.

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Be aware of your emotions

One must be honest with their feelings and face the facts about a situation. Hone explains that being self-aware offers you the ability to determine whether a coping behavior is helping you or not.

Resilience is about gaining control over making the right decisions. And, she says, the ability to do this is always there for us anywhere and anytime.

Connecting with one’s feelings in an honest way will help you move forward and will strengthen resilience. As noted in a Croatian study, “Research has indicated that practicing love, kindness, and compassion for ourselves and others builds our confidence and sense of coherence, helps us create meaningful, caring relationships, increases individual and community resilience and well-being, promotes human rights, physical and mental health.”

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Reach out to friends

Friends will be there for you in good times and in challenging times. When a trusting friend is by your side or on a Zoom call to offer warmth and encouragement, you will feel empowered and better able to handle the situation. Resilient people understand their emotions and they know how to talk about them with others.

When you are able to express your emotions freely with a good friend, you will have an easier time to move on, according to Entrepreneur.  The American Psychological Association explains, “the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family.”

Nurture the relationships that make you feel safe and comfortable, and connect with people with whom you can be honest and vulnerable. When you are heard, you will feel less alone and can gain clarity and strength.

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.