Photo credit: Pexels
This year has taught all of us that a lot of life is outside our control. We can’t control a virus, we can’t control our lay off, and we certainly can’t control the closure of our child’s school. Americans have an independent spirit that helps us to control our destiny and lives. Unfortunately, this year has dampened and depleted much of that spirit as so much of the world seems outside of our control.
Though we can’t control everything that happens to us, we can control how we react to it. If anything, this year has taught us about the power of resiliency in times of struggle. Though many of us make resolutions to perform better, make more money, get in shape, we don’t always focus on building the inner strength required to handle adversity. Because 23% of people quit their New Year resolutions within one week, maybe it’s time for all of us to place our priorities on something more important. Instead of resolving to perform better, we should resolve to enhance our inner resiliency.
What is Resiliency?
Resiliency is the ability to handle complex challenges and recover quickly from difficulties. Those with resilience can meet their goals, harness optimism, develop a sense of purpose, and use humor to overcome difficulties. Moreover, resilient individuals don’t feel stuck when facing a difficult situation. Rather, they learn from the experience and use it to grow.
Think of resiliency as an emotional muscle. Each time we use it, we grow a little bit stronger. It makes it much easier to handle the next challenge when we know that we were able to handle a previous challenge. If we cower and run away from adversity, we never learn how to handle the fear that comes from facing it. The more that we face our fears, the less anxiety we feel the next time we have to face a stressful situation.
Resilient individuals may seem like superheroes at this point in the conversation, but they aren’t. They are average individuals who learned a series of coping mechanisms to handle and overcome pain. Anyone can learn to become more resilient, with a few simple tricks and tips-
1. Be Compassionate Towards Yourself
Though some are more naturally resilient than others, others have to teach themselves to be resilient. The first step is to learn self-compassion and minimize negative internal dialogue. When you feel stressed or upset, speak calmly to yourself, and slow down your thoughts. Keep a journal that tracks all of your negative thoughts. Replace them with a positive thought and repeat it to yourself over and over again until it becomes a habit to think more positively.
2. Be Mindful
Being mindful by staying in the moment can help minimize anxiety and build resiliency. If you are always focused on the future or the past, you are missing the precious present moment. Try yoga, meditation, or prayer to center yourself and stay in the current reality. Slow down your movements and stop rushing around trying to complete a million tasks at once. Enjoy the good and muscle through the bad so you don’t miss out on the life ahead of you. A side benefit of this is that you will improve your organizational skills and perform tasks more thoroughly.
3. Build Friendships
Having a strong support system can help increase resiliency. Everyone needs people to rely on, be it a therapist, close friend, pastor, or family. When you feel upset or afraid, speak to someone who can put things into perspective. Seek out wise friends or those who have handled adversity and overcome it. This will help to give insight into how to handle a problem when it comes about.
4. Be Grateful
It’s easy to look at the negative aspects of our lives rather than the good. Write down a daily gratitude list to remind yourself of all of the good things you have in your life. When you begin feeling depressed or upset about a situation, pull out that list to put things into perspective. Do you have food on the table? A place to sleep? Are you safe? Many people in the world don’t have any of those things. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what we do have when we focus on what we don’t.
Are you struggling with anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.