It’s human nature to resist change, particularly when it comes in the form of adversity or challenge. Our ability to cope with stress and to spring back and overcome adversity is a measure of our resilience.
Building resilience requires that we pay attention to the world of our experiences, so we are able to prevent and avoid problems and to de-escalate conflict. By listening to their emotions and understanding their strengths resilient people are able to demonstrate flexibility and adapt to life’s experiences.
Resilience is not a trait that people are naturally born with, but it can be learned and developed in anyone. Building your resilience involves your behaviors, thoughts, and actions.
Here are 10 ways to develop your resilience so you have the strength to tackle and overcome adversity.
- If something’s not working; try something else.
Resilient people do not make the same mistake again and again; they learn from their experiences. Santayana said those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Understand why you failed and have the courage to do something different next time.
- Manage your emotions before they manage you.
Resilient people control their impulses. They give themselves time to reflect and present a more intelligent and mindful reaction. They know that life is not what happens to us, but how we react to what happens to us. They work to prevent or avoid potential inflammatory situations, and are skilled at de-escalating potential conflict. Just breathe!
- Keep learning and growing.
Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; resilient people get stronger and better able to handle the challenges. Resilient people have a growth mind-set; they see the potential for development. They not only learn from the past, but actively seek new experiences.
- Stay positive.
Resilient people have a positive outlook. They remind themselves of past successes when they have overcome setbacks, and so convince themselves they can do it again. They work the problem rather than let themselves become paralyzed by fear and doubt about their ability to overcome. They focus on what they can do, and not what they can’t do.
- Stay tough.
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.
- Be good to yourself.
Resilient people believe in themselves. They use positive self talk and recognize the small wins that give them strength. Be your own mentor not your critic.
- Build relationships.
Resilient people maintain strong and supportive relationships, both personal and professional. As a result, they can rely on a network of caring, supportive people around them in times of crisis; and they provide the same support to others and create social capital.
- Pick yourself up, as many times as it takes.
A Japanese proverb says “Fall down seven times; pick up eight.” Resilient people understand that failure is not in the falling down, but in not getting up. Resilient people are tenacious; they show flexibility, adaptability and never, ever quit.
- Be generous.
Altruism or generosity is doing something for someone without an expectation of reward. Resilient people find a way to care for others, even in challenging circumstance. Being selfless is the best way to build your moral character, and strength.
- Create your own ‘pockets of excellence.’
Resilient people create their own meaningful environments. They strive for excellence even while operating within surrounding dysfunction. Their clear sense of purpose and personal integrity helps them navigate through setbacks with a broader perspective.
You don’t have to be a victim of your changing and challenging circumstances. Make a commitment to developing your resilience by adopting these behaviours. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can certainly control how you respond.