Overcome Adversity with Resilience

Resilience, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is "the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change." Wikipedia defines resilience ‘in psychology’ as "the positive capacity of people to cope with stress and catastrophe."

Resilience is not about

  • being or acting tough
  • ignoring feelings of sadness or downheartedness
  • refusing support from others
  • being emotionally distant, cold or unfeeling

Resilience doesn’t make problems go away, but it does help you look beyond them and still see something good in life.

People who are less resilient are easily overwhelmed by problems. They can’t look past adversities. Rather, they dwell on them. They feel victimized, and often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking and doing drugs. They may also be more susceptible to develop mental problems.

As thus, resilience can protect you and your family from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. And, it keeps you from turning to unhealthy and destructive coping mechanisms like substance abuse.

The Mayo Clinic says that "actively working to promote your mental well-being is just as important as protecting yourself from such physical conditions as heart disease and diabetes. Resilience may help offset certain risk factors that make it more likely that you’ll develop a mental illness …"

With that, here are ways for you to improve your resiliency.

Connect

Maintain or build strong and positive relationships with your family and friends. They can offer help and support during difficult times and become your outlet when you need a listening ear. You can also become involved in your community or a member of a support group.

Laugh

Finding humor in a dire situation doesn’t mean you’re in denial or ignoring the situation. Humor is actually a very helpful coping mechanism since it keeps you from being swept over by the situation. If you can’t find humor in the situation, turn to others for a laugh. You can also turn to funny books or movies.

Learn from experience

Remember how you dealt with previous hardships, be it healthy or unhealthy. Apply or build on what helped you get through those tough times. Do not repeat unhealthy ways of dealing with problems.

Be hopeful

While being hopeful and/or optimistic doesn’t change anything, just looking beyond the current situation can help. Look for things that signal a turn for the better each day.

Take care of yourself

Take good care of yourself. Cater to your physical and emotional needs, including taking part in activities that you enjoy. Lead a healthy lifestyle. You’d be surprised how good it feels to be healthy and cared for.

Accept and expect change

As the saying goes, the only thing permanent thing in life is change, so be adaptable. Do not be so averse to change. It will only make things more difficult. Expecting changes to happen will make it easier to adapt to them.

Work to accomplish goals

Try to accomplish something everyday, even if it’s just one little task. Focusing on accomplishing goals points you toward the future and keeps you from dwelling on the problem.

Act

Of course, just being positive won’t make your problems go away. You have to act on it – sort things out. Plan your move smartly and carefully, and then take action.

Learn something new about yourself

Reassess your past experiences. Consider how you’ve changed because of them. You may have gained a better outlook in life. If the results of your experiences make you feel worse, think about what you can do to improve, or think about what changes could help. Try out new things. Take on a new hobby or learn a new skill.

Build self-esteem

How you see yourself will definitely affect how you react to and cope with adversity. If you have low self-esteem, you’re more inclined to dwell on problems because you don’t believe that you can work things out. Thus, it is important to have high-self esteem. Trust yourself to solve problems and make wise decisions. Building your self-confidence will make you feel stronger and capable of handling any situation.

Maintain perspective

This does not mean comparing your situation to somebody that you think is worse off so you’ll feel better about yourself. Rather, see your current problem as one isolated incident in the context of your whole life, and of the world. Know that your situation can and will improve if you proactively work at it.

Source: Mayo Clinic