What is Resilience?
Resilience is the way in which we are able to adapt to challenges and struggles during our lifetime. It is our ability to withstand setbacks and recover from difficult situations. According to the American Psychological Association, resilience requires emotional and mental flexibility.
Resilience & Mental Health
Resilience is so important for our mental health as it protects us from a myriad of conditions such as depression and anxiety. Resilience is also important for acting as a buffer and reducing the risk of things which can cause mental health issues, such as bullying, trauma, bereavement, or divorce. On top of resilience preventing mental health conditions, it can also help us to cope with anxiety and depression.
It is clear that resilience is important but how do we gain resilience? How do we build resilience within ourselves?
Here are a few ways you can become more resilient:
Connect With Others
Support is a huge part of resilience so making strong, positive connections with genuine friends and family is so important. Friends and family can give support, advice, and not to mention can bring fun and laughter. So say ‘yes’ to any invites from friends or possibly new friends. Join groups such as book clubs, or sports teams, or walking groups. Volunteer with a charity and make connections with other volunteers and the people you help. Don’t isolate yourself when you feel low, but reach out to others. As the saying goes “Ní neart go cur le chéile – There is no Strength without Unity”
Sometimes we need to look at challenges as having meaning and being an opportunity. To do this we need to find a purpose in our lives, a reason to continue, to persevere despite what life throws at us. Having a Life’s Purpose, motivates us to learn from our experiences and drive forward through hardships. At times life presents emotional challenges like when we lose a loved one, knowing our purpose in life allows us to continue forward despite the heartbreak and grief we may feel.
Self-belief is a corner stone of resilience. In order to handle and cope with life’s challenges, you need to believe that you have what it takes to cope with these stresses. You need to believe you are resilient before you can be resilient. Write down affirmations of “I can do this”, “I am strong” or “I am a fighter”. Block out the negative, unsure thoughts in your head and replace them with these positive affirmations. Sometimes you need to fake confidence before you feel it, you need to tell yourself that you are confident. If you tell yourself enough, you will feel confidence within yourself.
Change is never easy. It has the capacity to throw us off balance, make the ground feel a little less solid and leave us nervous for the future. But change is not all bad, in fact it can be wonderful and necessary. Change is inevitable, so we need to learn how to adapt and move with change. Being able to adapt to change means we can learn to adapt when faced with stressful life challenges. Resilient people see change as an opportunity and often thrive because of it.
Resilience is experienced by those who care for themselves and mind themselves. When faced with challenges or stress it is often easier to neglect our needs, or allow anxieties to interrupt sleep and our ability to properly feed ourselves. It is so important when aiming for resilience and trying to cope, that we mind ourselves by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Try to take a day a week to have a self care day. Self care is not a luxury but a necessity, remember that.
It is so important to have goals and plans for our lives. Having such goals, which often fit into our life purpose as previously mentioned, are important for giving us a reason to keep going, to keep moving forward. The best way of coping with a challenge is to be proactive and do what we can to resolve the issue or to reduce its impact on ourselves. Try to consider how far you have come when facing a challenge, and consider how you have dealt with other challenges in the past.
Never underestimate just how powerful our thoughts are. Remaining positive and hopeful is central to resilience. Thinking positively, while not easy to do, can get you through the darkest of times. Write down positive affirmations, and things you are grateful for. Understand that what faces you will be difficult but you have what it takes to make it to the other side.