Resilience is the process of bouncing back after adversity. Having resilience doesn’t mean you can prevent adversity, but that you can bounce back from difficult circumstances and experiences. Resilience is something that everyone can learn to improve.
Here are 10 ways you can build your resilience:
- Stop comparing yourself to others – Accept yourself for who you are. This doesn’t meant that you don’t strive for personal development, but that you recognize your worth as you are. When you compare yourself to someone else you may be comparing the beginning of your journey with the end of someone else’s. This can be discouraging.
- Recognize your inner voices – When you have negative inner voices it is more difficult to build and maintain your self-confidence and self-esteem, the foundation of resilience. Respond to your negative voice with positive affirmations to reduce their negative impact.
- Monitor your self-talk – If you let your negative inner voice have power you may inflict negative judgements on yourself. Instead of taking a rejection in stride, for example, you may tell yourself that you don’t have good ideas or that you will never succeed. Replace your negative self-talk with positive thoughts instead.
- Make and maintain connections – People who have strong connections at work are more resilient. Identify your support network, and if you are lacking now is the time to actively work to increase it. Just having a support network is not enough, however. You need to maintain as well as build your network of connections. Make time for casual interactions, be there when people need your support, and be willing to keep your circle open to new people.
- Set and achieve goals – Setting and achieving goals increases your resilience because goals provide purpose, direction, commitment, and motivation. It enables you to stay true to your purpose no matter what is going on around you. When you set goals one method to use is to set goals that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Write your goals down and post them where you can see them. Break your goals into smaller steps (if a step will take longer than a week to accomplish break it down some more). Keep track of your progress, commit yourself to reaching your goals, and celebrate your successes.
- Embrace change – Change can be difficult to accept, and the process of reaching acceptance often mimics the grieving process (denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance). We want to sway and bend in the wind of change, not be broken by it. One way to become more resilient is to look for the positive opportunities a change may hold. Figure out what you can and cannot control. For the things you can control, make a plan to implement the change. For the things you can’t control, let it go and make peace with it. Recognizing the consequences of not changing can help you gain a realistic perspective and see the benefits of making the change.
- Use flexible thinking – Flexible thinking is the ability to shift your thoughts in order to respond effectively to any situation. You can develop mental flexibility and strength just like you might develop physical flexibility and strength, through practice. Some ways to practice mental flexibility are to be more spontaneous, adopt an attitude of a neutral observer, and to look at things from other points of view. Forcing ourselves to be more spontaneous helps break entrenched thinking and more open to flexible thinking. Viewing situations as a neutral observer before reacting can help you see things you might have otherwise missed. When we look at things from another point of view it helps us break out of ingrained perspectives and negative patterns.
- Use coping strategies – In order to be resilient, you need tools for dealing with being upset when it is happening in the moment. Allow yourself to have a bad day. It happens to all of us. Go for a walk, have a good cry, yell and scream, do some deep breathing, then recognize that the bad day won’t go on forever and get through the day. You can also figure out what must be done and what can be put off to a later date. If you are in a crisis mode it doesn’t help stressing about things that don’t need to be done. Reach out to your support network as needed. Look for the good, focus on something you can be grateful for, smile, and laugh.
- Stress management – Learn how to say no. Work on improving your time management. Avoid people who bring stress and drama into your life. Watch out for perfectionism, learn when “good enough” is good enough. Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Learn to forgive.
- Relaxation – Get enough sleep. Engage in a hobby. Use your vacation time!
By following some or all of these steps you can start building your resilience today!