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?

The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines Resilience as “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands”.

Several factors contribute to how well people adapt to adversities, predominant among them:
– how individuals view and engage with the world
– the availability and quality of social resources
– specific coping strategies

According to an American Psychological Association report, The Road to Resilience, “being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity in their lives. The road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress. Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) offers these 10 ways to build resilience:

1. Make Connections.
When building mental resilience, one of the best things you can do is build a supportive network. This could include close friends, family, or even a professional therapist or counselor. A support network can provide invaluable emotional and practical support during tough times. It can make you feel less isolated and more able to overcome difficulties.
Good relationships with close family members, friends, or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about us and will listen to us strengthens resilience. Civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provide social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.

2. Avoid Seeing Crises as Insurmountable Problems.
You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.

3. Accept that Change is a Part of Living.
Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

4. Move Toward Your Goals.
Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly—even if it seems like a small accomplishment – that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”

5. Take Decisive Actions.
Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

6. Look for Opportunities for Self-Discovery.
People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss.

7. Nurture a Positive View of Yourself.
People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, a greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, an increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality, and a heightened appreciation for life.

8. Keep things in Perspective.
Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience so even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective.

9. Maintain a Hopeful Outlook.
You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Being open to change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less worry and an optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Choosing hope after a difficult setback shifts us from brokenheartedness to wholeheartedness. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

10. Take Care of Yourself.
Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Get plenty of sleep and make bedtime rituals. Eat a healthy diet. Practice how to manage stress. Try ways to relax, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.

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When to seek professional advice
Getting more resilient takes time and practice.
If you don’t feel you’re making progress or you want to find out more about how to build resilience, please click here to schedule a FREE Strategy Call with one of our Coaches!

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