The psychology of resilience
Some people have the ability to bounce back from a terrible situation faster than others. This ability is referred to as resilience. Wikipedia defines Psychological Resilience as an individual’s ability to successfully cope with adversity. An adversity is any form of setback that you experience such as;
- Health problems such as prolonged illness
- Financial strain
- A breakup with a loved up
- Substance addiction
- Loss of a job
- Loss of a loved one through death
This psychological resilience is found in every individual including you. However, some people have a stronger resilience to adversities. In his book, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell gives multiple examples of people who have faced the greatest life adversities such as experiencing a terror attack and came out of it stronger. The strong resilience trait can be learnt and improved over time as it is more of a coping mechanism when it comes to adversities rather than a personal trait. People who are strongly resilient also experience sadness and strong emotions just like everyone else; they, however, have invested heavily in techniques that allow them to live through difficult situations.
Characteristics of resilient people
They possess optimistic attitudes.
Resilient people have learnt that life will hand you both joy and sorrow. This means that whatever you’re going through, having a positive attitude will enable you to live through it gracefully. Resilient people know that it is a blessing to live through and conquer life’s challenges and therefore live through life knowing that they will succeed.
They counter negative emotions
Resilient people know that a person should not stay in a negative emotion for too long. They experience and acknowledge these emotions such as anger and grief, but they work towards replacing these emotions with positive ones. One way to do this is through taking time to ask yourself which lessons you learn from negative experiences. Journaling has also been known to psychologically help in fighting negative emotions.
Resilience building and training
Understand that you are responsible for your choices and the outcome of your future.
This is the fastest way to build resilience. You control your destiny. If you constantly find yourself in situations where you blame other people for your misfortunes, then you need to work towards building a stronger sense of responsibility.
Watch how you react to different situations.
The cycle of resilience shows that there are three main ways in which people react when faced with such situations;
- Extreme anger.
- They’re overwhelmed with negative emotions and end up being numb or helpless.
- Simply get upset about the change experienced.
For you to build your resilience, you should adopt the third approach. Take time to experience the new emotions brought by the change then take time to come up with new ways to cope with the situation. This will enable you to spring back and keep on living your best life. The other two ways of reacting will lead you towards blaming other people, which then leads you to a state of helplessness which ultimately weakens your resiliency. We are here to help you build your resilience, aren’t we?
Have a protective environment.
This method varies from one individual to another. Where or who do you love to be with when you face a traumatic experience? Some people prefer being with their families or friends. These individuals are likely to listen to you, offer you comfort and most important give you a solution to your situation. This constant way of finding hope in your protective environment will enable you to be more resilient. It is a constant way of reminding yourself that you overcame a previous difficult situation and that you can overcome many more.
Make realistic plans and follow through them
What do you plan to achieve in the next one year? Is it realistic and achievable? A lot of people make the mistake of having unrealistic plans then end up stressed or even depressed when they fail to achieve them. You will not be a millionaire by the age of twenty-five. You will not have bought a house, car and have several properties in your name. Snap out of such unrealistic goals and live life through progressive steps. Again, if you make such big plans, at least wake up daily and work hard towards achieving them. Otherwise, every time you don’t achieve your goals, you will have less and less resilience.
Have confidence in your strengths and abilities
Confront the world with confidence and the belief that you will succeed. Your resilience will diminish if you constantly face the world as a helpless and vulnerable person. Being positive will lead you to discover even more strengths and abilities which will give you more resilience towards tougher situations.
Communicate your struggles
When was the last time you admitted to someone that you’re struggling and that you need their help? Contrary to popular belief, being vulnerable is a strong trait to have. You should fully embrace vulnerability even though it is not comfortable. Vulnerability is the willingness to say to someone that you love them first. The willingness to courageously tell your story. Being vulnerable leads you to a realization that at the end of the day, deep down, we’re all the same. We all have struggled. This will give you even more courage and resilience to live through the most difficult situations.
Learn more problem-solving skills
Life is full of problematic situations. Think of your life at work. How many times do you face setbacks in a day? How many times do you freak out that you don’t have the answer to something? This can also apply to your personal life. By learning more ways to solve life’s problems, you build a stronger resilience. Having analytical and creative thinking skills will lead you towards solving everyday problems as opposed to being stressed about them.
Learn how to manage strong feelings and emotions
You will experience strong emotions and feelings from time to time. Don’t stay in a negative emotion for too long. You have to learn how to prevent yourself to give up when this happens. Learn to stand up and move on because life has better tidings to offer you in future. You are in control of your feelings and emotions.
We all need the grit to live through this tough world. And just like every other beautiful thing in the world, it takes time to build strong resilience. The underlying factor is, you will live through it. You will thrive and find happiness. All you need to do is constantly practice the eight ways above on how to build resilience.