Have you ever wondered why some people seem to remain calm in the face of disaster while others appear to come undone? The answer is resilience. Resilient people are able to utilize their skills and strengths to cope and recover from problems and challenges while keeping their cool when experiencing setbacks.
It's human nature to resist change--particularly when it comes in the form of adversity or challenges. Unfortunately, change is inevitable, and developing the trait of resilience helps us not only survive change, but also learn, grow, and thrive in it. Resilience is the capacity to cope with stress and adversity. It comes from believing in yourself and, at the same time, in something larger than yourself. Resilience is not a trait that people are born with; it involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone at any stage in life. If they want it.
Now, more than ever, is a great time to strengthen your resilience during the current COVID-19 pandemic we're all experiencing. How are you coping with the day to day stressors? Are you anxious, uncertain? Trust me...these are all normal feelings but if you want some ideas on ways to experience personal growth through this time, keep on reading. It's also a wonderful time to teach your children healthy coping habits and I'll be sharing those tomorrow.
Look on the Bright Side
Often when bad things happen, we get stuck thinking about negative outcomes. We repeatedly think about what we could have done differently in the past, or how we are going to mess up again in the future. We ruminate on these events, because we mistakenly believe that thinking about our hardships over and over again will help us solve them. Unfortunately, negative thought cycles just get us caught up in our thoughts, instead of taking the actions we need to move forward. So...let's start by re-wiring how we think about things. When something adversarial occurs; take the time to think about what you could have done differently and then think of what positive takeaway you have from that situation. Sometimes you don't always know this right away but rest assured, there is meaning in everything and one day you will see "why" you endured what you have along your journey.
Unfortunately, many of us avoid failure at all costs. We do so, because we are afraid of failure; we worry that people will think poorly of us if we fail, and we feel ashamed when we fail. But by treating failure like a disease to be avoided, we never give ourselves a chance to overcome challenges and practice resilience. As a result, we prevent ourselves from becoming more resilient. So how do you conquer your fear of failure, so that you can start building resilience? If you think failure is a threat, like many of us do, your body will prepare for a fight — and you’ll feel like you’re in a battle. Instead, choose to view it as a challenge and I bet you're more likely to think you are capable of handling it. For all my "How I Met Your Mother" fans... think of it as, "challenge accepted." To build this “challenge mindset,” reflect on past challenges that you’ve overcome. Take a moment to think back to other goals you’ve achieved. Remind yourself that you have been successful at things in the past, even small things. When you remind yourself that you have succeeded before, you can help shift towards a challenge mindset. Next, visualize success. By imagining yourself doing well, you shift your mindset to do well. On the other hand, if you flood your mind about what could go wrong, your fear builds, and the failure you fear becomes more likely. Keep in mind that even if you are able to shift your brain to stop seeing something as a threat, you may feel nervousness or anxiety, but you'll also experience positive physiological changes that can help you make better use of these negative emotions
Find the Value in Past
Don't try to solve problems with the same thinking that created them.
Resilient people do not make the same mistake again and again. They're willing to be honest about why they failed and they take the time to think about what didn't work.
This too shall Pass
Learn to control your emotions before they manage you. Trust me, this is easier said than done, coming from someone who wears her emotions on her sleeves. Resilient people have a positive outlook. They remind themselves that much of what they're facing is temporary, and that they've overcome setbacks before and can do it again. Resilient people learn focus on what they can learn from the experience vs playing the, "woe is me."
Through my personal hardships, my kids have witnessed my own growth in this area. Despite how hard I tried to keep it from them, kids have a funny way of just "knowing" when things aern't right. Through these times, they've been with me on some great days and some very "challenging" ones and have seen the strength I've acquired through my own life lessons. One of my favorite pictures is of my daughter wearing a t-shirt that says, "Strong Like Mom." If there's one lesson I've taught them, it's resilience. Resilient people face their fears and have an adaptive attitude that lets them focus on possibilities even in the worst of times. The tougher the situation, the tougher they become. #stronglikemom
Have a Growth Mindset
Life does not get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient. Resilient people are constantly becoming braver, smarter and more courageous. They know that life is not what happens to us but what happens within us and how we learn to handle it. Most of it is mindset. Train your brain to see the opportunities learned through life lessons.
You're going to stumble. You're going to get knocked down. What matters and shows growth is when you can dust yourself off, stand back up and keep going. Resilient people understand that failure is not falling down but refusing to get up. They have the capacity to adapt successfully and the tenacity to never ever quit.
Celebrate the Little Things
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”-Oprah Winfrey. Resilient people believe in themselves. They work hard and take joy in the small wins that not only provide strength but also encouragement to keep going.
Even in the toughest of times resilient people find a way to care for others, because sometimes being selfless is the best way to discover your own strength. This can even be free. Making meals for families who need assistance, sewing masks for healthcare workers during our current pandemic, walking a neighbors dog after they have recently had surgery and know they may not be up to it. I've seen all of this first hand recently and it is incredibly refreshing to see how "giving" people have been.
Form Strong Bonds
Family, friendships...they're so important. Resilient people maintain strong and supportive relationships, both personal and professional. As a result, you have caring, supportive people around them in times of crisis. Always remember to be there for them when they need it too.
Find your "Why"
Resilient people search for meaning. They develop a "personal why" which helps them have a clear sense of purpose and enables them to view setbacks from a broader perspective.
To make it through the tough times takes resilience. It requires that we pay attention to the complexities of our own experiences, listen to our emotions, and be willing to learn from disappointment and failure as well as success and motivation.