Resilience is going to be an overriding theme for 2022. The ability to bounce back from anything—from the ordinary to the extraordinary—is truly an art. It’s also a science. So how do we become more resilient?
First, let’s understand what it means. Resilience isn’t a genetic trait, it’s a learned quality. It is a set of coping mechanisms. Research has found that this quality is determined by the people we surround ourselves with, how we take care of ourselves and each other, and the steps we take to find meaning and purpose in our lives, in our relationships, and in the events that happen to us and ultimately define us.
When was the last time you had a traumatic experience? How did you cope with it? If you’re a strong, resilient person, you’ve learned the coping mechanisms needed to help overcome the trauma you’ve faced. If you’ve felt stuck and anxious or depressed for longer periods of time than reasonable, there are ways you can build resilience. It’s in your control.
Our overall happiness doesn’t simply come from our circumstances, but much more so from our responses to them, and resilience is part of that. There are strategies you can implement now that can help you to bend, not break from the stressful situations that happen to us. Are you ready to flex your resilience muscle?
Eat healthy, high-quality meals. It may seem like the last thing to consider when you are traumatized or grieving, unless you already know you’re a stress eater, but in hard times, we often go for the wrong food choices. Either way, your body needs fuel to keep it nourished and strong. Healthy food will heal and give your brain the nutrients it needs to think clearly and find your path moving forward.
Exercise daily to get your endorphins. Nothing quiets negative thinking like going out for a walk in the forest or along the beach. Research has proven that regular exercise improves your thinking by boosting your mood and lifting you from those feelings of depression.
Ask for help. If it’s your perspective that needs reshaping, talk to a friend, family member, or a therapist. Being strong and resilient doesn’t mean navigating through trauma or grief alone.
Learn to process your emotions. Resilient people need to have space to process emotions, but they don’t wallow in them. They stay busy by working out or going to lunch with a friend, and they stay connected.
Write down your feelings. Write your thoughts down to help make sense of them. Researchers have found that writing down how you feel helps sort through those feelings better than keeping them to yourself.
Write down steps to take. Write down not only how you’re feeling, but also write down steps to take that will help you to stay focused on positive tasks.
Set daily goals. Look for a path forward by doing one positive thing each day and build up to doing more on your list. Even if you feel paralyzed from the trauma, find a way to overcome it by setting daily goals and making them happen. And be flexible with those goals. Resilient people are flexible and willing to move on to game plan B if A doesn’t work.
Sleep on it. It’s vital to your health to get enough rest each night. When you’re resting, your brain sorts through and files what you were going through the day before, and it allows you to wake up with a fresh perspective.
Tap into gratitude. It may seem futile at first, but having an attitude of gratitude is worth a pot of gold. When you make a list each day of the things you’re grateful for, even though it’s hard to see through the smoke and fog at the moment, you’ll be amazed at how that clears when you find your grateful heart.
Breathe……. Taking a deep breath can cleanse your heart and soul like nothing else can. Studies suggest that practicing conscious breathing on a daily basis reduces stress and anxiety and changes the electrical activity in the brain. This makes you feel calmer and more alert. Focus on becoming clear and calm in your thoughts and before you know it, you will be.