We often hear people talking about the importance of resilience when responding to the problems that life sometimes throws at us.
But what is resilience and how do you get it?
Resilience is our ability to use the resources both around us and within us to respond more flexibly to day-to-day challenges. Being resilient is also an opportunity to demonstrate to the world how we can perform under pressure and show our true potential.
While sometimes we can reshape ourselves spontaneously when faced with a crisis, the best way to build resilience is to gradually develop habits and behaviours that we can more easily call upon when life seems unstable and uncertain.
If we are able to build our sense of resilience then we can use those skills during hard times to create even brighter futures.
How do I build resilience?
The book Growing Happy, Healthy Young Minds by Dr Ramesh Manocha highlights 10 great tips that have been summarised below for you to consider.
Invest in quality relationships
Quality relationships with family and friends determine, to a significant extent, the quality of our lives. Welcome people into your life who value what you have to give and make sure they know that you appreciate them. Avoid places and people who do not appreciate you or who blame you for their problems. But don’t blame them back or blame yourself for their actions. You don’t need everyone to like you.
Get to know yourself
Invest in getting to know yourself, including your strengths and flaws. Try different things to discover your passions and figure out what makes you tick. Taking the time to look inwards to reflect on what we really want and value is always time well invested. You can give yourself a mental health check-up each morning by asking yourself some simple questions:
- How am I feeling today?
- What am I enjoying in my life?
- What is bothering me?
- What can I do to change these feelings?
Deal with your history
We all carry a history of emotional injuries and traumas which tend to build up to unhealthy levels when we do not work through their impact on us. The impact of these historic events can increase when we are overwhelmed by new events, or just by daily pressures and stresses. It’s important to note that you can usually only process trauma effectively in consultation with a professional.
Focus on what’s going well
Actively foster a habit of noticing what’s going right in your day, rather than what feels as though it’s going wrong. By consciously deciding to pay attention to positive events, we can increase the balance of good to bad days. We can do this by appreciating the small things that happen each day and by being grateful. This doesn’t mean ignoring negative events, but rather choosing where to focus our attention.
Learn to keep the past in the past by concentrating on the ‘here and now’. If we are feeling depressed, it may be the case that we are preoccupied by our thoughts of the past and by feelings of regret or shame. Don’t let the worst of the past dictate your future. Alternatively, feelings of anxiety can come about through dread of a future event. It can be difficult to be truly present, but it can help you take control of your life.
It takes courage to be hopeful in a world that sometimes appears to be so unforgiving, but maintaining hope is one of the most powerful protectors against despair. Behind any success story you will find a series of failures, and it is by embracing and learning from our failures that we are able to develop true resilience. Choosing hope after a difficult set-back shifts us from broken-heartedness to whole-heartedness.
Take charge of your own health
Feeling your best, mentally and physically, is very important in building your resilience. It can be helpful to remember the acronym ‘MEDS’:
- Meditation – find somewhere to practice being calm each day
- Exercise – try to incorporate 30 minutes of physical activity every day
- Diet – be mindful of what food is fuelling your body
- Sleep – good quality sleep is one of the most powerful ways to reduce stress and depression while increasing energy, memory and learning.
Find your happy place
Connecting with a group of like-minded people will cultivate a sense of belonging, and be a profound source of personal resilience. For some people, belonging to their family or a tight group of friends is the answer, while others find their belonging is centred on particular locations, teams, workplaces, hobbies, beliefs or causes.
Find your Guardian Angel
Often we become so immersed in our daily struggles that there are times we forget to look after ourselves. Ask one or two friends to look out for you and check in when you may be feeling stressed, tired or overwhelmed. Let them know their concerns will be listened to, and you’ll make corrective steps to ensure you take care of yourself again.
The Golden Rule
Treating other people as you would like to be treated, be kind and respectful, and be prepared to forgive rather than blame when mistakes are made. But remember that this extends to yourself too. Some people treat others well but are harshly self-critical to the point of making themselves feel inept and useless. Be kind to yourself.