Resilience is an amazing skill that helps us recover quickly from difficulties. If you are resilient, you have an innate ability to keep getting up when life knocks you down. You have learned how to bounce back and keep going.
We build our resilience by learning to cope with challenges — it’s a process of adapting well in the face of trauma, tragedy or significant stress. Basically, you have to get knocked down in order to learn how to pick yourself back up. Over time, successful people learn not only how to overcome, but to embrace these challenges. They understand that each crisis they face is a chance to learn and grow.
Resilience is an important skill to master in order to be successful for the long haul. Here are eight strategies successful people use to build their resilience and continue to grow beyond the crises that would otherwise hold them back.
1. Build a circle of trust.
We all need people in our lives who we can lean on. Building a tight-knit circle of people you can trust is a key part of strengthening your resilience and weathering difficult times. Close friends, family and loved ones are our social support — they encourage and motivate us, and let us know that we aren’t alone. When we surround ourselves with supportive people, we’re able to share our feelings and concerns without fear of being judged.
Studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships both inside and outside the family. People with a high level of social support have less depression and are better able to cope during stressful times. Just remember to reach out and ask for help when you need it!
2. Reframe how you view stressful situations.
The way we view a potentially stressful situation can either make the crisis worse in our mind or minimize it. This is called cognitive reframing, and it involves looking at things in a way that creates less stress and promotes a greater sense of control and peace. Reframing things in a more positive way can alter our perceptions and relieve our stressful feelings.
This mind trick can actually change your physical responses to stress because your body’s stress response is triggered by perceived stress. In other words, if you’re constantly feeling like a crisis is looming, your body will react as if that’s true and your fight-or-flight response will kick in.
Be aware of how you think about things — do you tend to be optimistic or pessimistic when considering upcoming situations? Stop yourself from slipping into overly negative patterns of thinking. Instead of seeing a difficult situation as an insurmountable problem, try framing it as a challenge you are capable of overcoming.
3. Take action.
Don’t allow yourself to become paralyzed, numb or detached during a trauma or crisis. Remind yourself that you’re not at the mercy of events beyond your control — you can always do something. By initiating action and taking the first small steps, you can gain confidence to take bigger steps.
You can build resilience by learning to take decisive action during critical situations. Don’t wait for someone else to swoop in and save the day. Immediately consider what steps you can take and put yourself in command of a situation. How can you pull yourself out of a disaster or dilemma? You can’t wish away your problems, and doing so will leave you feeling helpless. Empower yourself and harness the force of your determination to take control and rectify a negative situation.
4. Have a positive attitude.
The mindset and the attitude you approach a problem with can make a huge difference in how resilient you are when dealing with an impasse or troublesome circumstance. Maintaining a hopeful and optimistic outlook will help you see beyond the current predicament you find yourself in.
Pay attention to negative thought loops you may get stuck in. Catch yourself when you’re slipping into stress-inducing patterns of thinking. When you think about the future, do you focus on how things could be better and look for possibilities and opportunities ahead? Or do you dwell on what feel like hopeless problems? Replace these negative thoughts with positive ones.
5. Accept that change is part of life.
Many people spend their lives trying to avoid change. The prospect of facing change leaves them fearful of the unknown. But change will inevitably catch up to you. One important way successful people build resilience is by accepting that change will come. They focus on being prepared for change and they learn to adapt and adjust when change is imminent. Successful people see change as a necessary component of revising the old way and embracing innovation.
We will constantly be experiencing change in our lives, through our relationships and in our physical bodies. Our work environment and our homes will change, and indeed the entire world around us will go through upheavals and transformations.
We must all learn to deal with change and continue to advance and grow through it all. Pay attention to how you respond to feelings of stress brought on by change. Work to reframe how you think about change — see the possibilities and opportunities that come with any new development.
6. Keep things in perspective.
As the saying goes, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Your computer may crash, the customer service representative may be rude or unhelpful and you may have lost files or documents that cause you to miss deadlines. In the moment, this may feel like a really big deal. You may find yourself ready to explode, wanting to take your anger and aggression out on others. Before you do, check yourself.
Is your reaction really in keeping with the situation? Yes, it’s stressful, annoying and frustrating. But was anyone hurt? Did anyone die because of what happened? Can you recover from this situation? If the answer to the last question is yes, then make sure you aren’t blowing things out of proportion.
Remind yourself of what is going well in your life. Consider the best and worst that could happen. What’s the worst-case scenario here? Is this situation really as bad as it could get? Probably not. Take action to fix the problem and move on.
7. Build self-confidence.
Sometimes we have to dig down deep and find the strength within ourselves to deal with difficulties. We have to find ways to cultivate the confidence and assurance that we can handle a situation.
Finding your way out of a tough spot is never easy, but you can do it! Find some small thing that represents strength to you — an heirloom from a parent or grandparent, a pair of shoes you feel amazing in — whatever it is, use it to bolster your self-confidence. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you believe in yourself, that you can do this. Stand tall, take a deep breath and move forward.
When faced with a critical situation or a looming disaster, remember what you have been through in your life. You have made it through difficulties before, and you can and will do it again. Believing in yourself and knowing that you can weather any storm will allow you to master resilience and overcome any crisis.
8. Find everyday joys.
On even the darkest of days, it’s possible to find some small thing to be happy about. Even when things are at their worst and you’re feeling at your lowest point, you have things to be grateful for. Building resilience isn’t just about weathering the storm; it’s also about looking for the everyday joys that make life worth living. It’s OK to see the humor when life rears up and knocks you down. Being able to laugh in the face of adversity is an excellent way to relieve stress and build resilience.
Also, remember that your overall sense of well-being is supported by taking time every day to take care of yourself, both your body and your mind. Eating healthy foods, exercising and getting enough sleep will give you the resilience to handle daily pressures as well as unexpected crises.