Why You Need to Build Resilience
Most of us know that suppressing our feelings only creates a worse situation down the road. Eventually, you have to face them.
Building resilience can help you confront your life challenges head-on, as well as untangle the emotions you feel during difficult times. It can help you deal with adversity and overcome it.
Now, that’s not to say that tough times won’t be hard or challenging, but they don’t have to break you. Resilience can help you stand tall and come out stronger on the other side.
What does “being resilient” actually mean, though?
The most commonly accepted resilience definition is “the ability to recover quickly after something unpleasant.”
This means that anyone can learn to become more resilient. Mostly, it just takes some time and effort to develop healthy habits that help you cope and move on during troubled times or situations (which many of us are in right now).
In fact, mental health experts define mental toughness as a combination of resilience and confidence. Whereas resilience allows you to bounce back after setbacks, confidence allows you to take advantage of opportunities.
Why is Resilience Important to Build?
Resilience is what can help keep you stable throughout ups and downs in life. It helps you balance your responsibilities or priorities under stress and protects you from developing deeper mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.
Other benefits of building resilience include:
- It can enhance your ability to learn and succeed academically.
- You may be less likely to miss work or school due to stress.
- It can reduce your need to turn to high-risk behaviors, such as alcohol abuse, drug use, or smoking.
- It can improve and increase your involvement with your family, friends, and community - despite tough times.
- It can increase your overall physical health and life longevity.
How to Build Resilience
Now that we’ve talked about what resilience is, you might be wondering how actually to build it.
So, how can you amp up your resilience and tackle hurdles as they come? We’ve got more than a few tips below.
You might also want to check out: How to Actively Practice Radical Self-Acceptance
1. Change Your Narrative
It’s easy to relive the pain over and over again. In fact, it’s naturally what we all tend to do. This is called rumination, but it doesn’t help you heal or move on.
Expressive writing is one technique that can help turn things around in stressful times.
Researchers suggest that by doing so, you can change your perspective and think differently about your situation. This allows you to take back control as opposed to letting your emotions control you. A 2014 study even showed how practicing expressive writing for just three weeks helped them turn their lives around and view the world from a less pessimistic perspective.
Try it out. Write out how you feel each day and see if you can flip your views!
2. Confront Your Fears
Repeatedly going outside of your comfort zone is a type of exposure therapy. When you expose yourself to events or activities you perceive as scary and uncomfortable, these activities or events become less.
You begin to get more comfortable with the uncomfortable.
In turn, this can help you confront situations better. They might be scary and unknown, but you’ve been there before many times. You learn. You become more resilient.
3. Cultivate Self-Compassion
The person we are the hardest one is often ourselves. We beat ourselves up over small mistakes. We sometimes aren’t the nicest to ourselves. We are our own worst critics.
Being kind to yourself and showing yourself some compassion can prevent stagnation and help you move forward past difficult times. Letting yourself indulge in a little self-care isn’t a weakness. It’s helping you build resilience and also improving your relationship with yourself.
Try the “friend method” here. When you feel you are negative towards yourself over something small, ask: would I say this to a friend? You likely wouldn’t, so why say it to yourself?
Quit judging yourself. Practice kind and positive self-talk and know that you aren’t alone. These are important not only to build resilience but also for confidence, self-esteem, and so much more.
It’s time to show yourself some love: Learn How to Accept Compliments & Build Self-Esteem
4. Learn to Forgive
It’s easy to hold onto a grudge, but the hard truth is that you aren’t hurting anyone but yourself. Grudges (or constantly thinking about things that have happened in the past) only hold you back and steal enjoyment and happiness from your daily life - definitely not worth it!
Begin learning to let go. It’s hard, yet at the same time, it takes a weight off your shoulders - one which you don’t need to carry.
How Resilience Applies to Real-Life Settings
Most of the time, applying resilience to your real life is all about making the best of each situation - good or bad.
Resilience in the workplace allows you to function well under stress and pressure. Even though you have a million projects on the go, you’ve got this. You don’t let the pressure get to you. Instead, you get stuff done. This might be thanks partially to stress-management techniques but also thanks to the resilience you’ve built up over time.
Resilience in relationships comes down to supporting and encouraging each other.
When times are tough, it doesn’t break your bond with your partner. In fact, quite the opposite happens! It strengthens you and brings you closer. Remember, open communication is key in a relationship to get through the hard times and understand each other.
Resilience is such a powerful tool that you’d be crazy not to want to try to improve it. It allows you to do life better - especially during times (like this pandemic) that contain many unknowns and uncertainty.
Begin Building Your Resilience Today
Take baby steps toward becoming a stronger, freer, and happier version of you. Building resilience will get you there. Life is hard, so let’s not make it more difficult by being hard on ourselves.
Life will throw hurdles at everyone. How you react and deal with them is where the magic truly happens. Anyone can build resilience, but it’s up to you to take the actions to do so.
Related article: How Exercise Improves Your Mental Resilience