How to be more Resilient in life?
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presented an unprecedented challenge to public health, education, businesses & career, etc. People have lost their jobs; many enterprises have closed. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating. All of it has to lead to emotional disruption within, the uncertainty and insecurity have engulfed the whole existence. The threat of the Delta+ variant is looming large in the minds of people. The mental health of people has taken a toll. People are stressed, depressed, fearful, agitated, sleep-deprived, and taking resort to unhealthy coping strategies such as avoidance, isolation, suicide, etc
In such a situation one can hone the greatest virtue of resilience.
Now let us understand what resilience is, why is it important during such times, and how we can inculcate this virtue in our lives.
What does it mean to be Resilient?
Psychological resilience is a person’s emotional ability to stand strong in the face of crisis and bounce back with greater strength. A resilient person chooses to move forward by utilizing their inner resources to adapt to the threatening situation and emerge stronger than ever. Now don’t be mistaken with the fact that people easily walk through and bounce back from emotional upheaval just like jumping on a trampoline. It is more of a trek; it requires patience, endurance, and that inner voice saying “ I can get through this and I will”. Do you hear that voice too in a crisis?
If not, then don’t worry! Now let us learn the qualities of a resilient person and see which ones we need to add to ourselves.
How does a resilient person respond to adverse situations like Covid-19?
Acceptance: “ This is what it is, let us focus on what can be done now.”
A resilient individual does not dwell on “what happened” or “why it had to happen to me” line of thinking. Rather they indulge in “ what can be done to make things better”. Accepting adversity helps you fasten the process of recovery and allows your mind to think rationally about the steps to be taken next. You can’t reverse what is done, but you can control the magnitude of the possible damage.
Positive Attitude: “I feel this situation has taught us the power of gratitude. Things could have been worse than this.”
A person high on resilience can find a lesson and an opportunity in every sort of situation. A mantra that resilient people follow is “ failure is a stepping stone to success”, learn and grow from it. In a state of self-awareness, resilient people can seek the hidden good meaning in an adverse situation.
Problem solver: “ Let’s lay out a plan for what can be next and how to recover faster.”
A resilient person quickly switches the focus from problems to all the probable solutions. They save time by not cribbing and simply thinking in the right direction.
Reaches out to social support system: “ I think I should call him and let him know that I am stuck here. He might be able to help me.”
Ask for help! Yes, a resilient person can put their ego aside and reach out to their loved ones for support and new perspectives. Self-awareness and understanding help resilient individuals to discriminate between what they can do and what they can’t do by themselves. The power of identification when they need help makes them stronger. So if you are hesitant to seek help, just know that you are a human after all. We all need a hand or two in the midst of chaos.
Spiritual: “ God has a plan, I should keep the faith and do what I can do. Maybe something good can come with all of it.”
Faith in God or spiritual energy is powerful and makes it easier for a person to keep striving in the time of hardships. Praying, meditation, yoga or chanting empowers your spiritual sense of being and keeps you calm in the storm.
Lives in Present: “ Accept & forget what happened, focus on now. ”
A psychologically resilient person doesn’t carry garbage from the past, rather chooses to discard it and create space to reload the good stuff. They hold the capability of letting go of the dark memories of the past at the right time and breathe in fine in the present. Being mindful of every action & reaction gives them the power to redirect the attention in the present.
·Surround themselves with positive people and self-help tools: “ I think the book I read the last time helped me get through such a situation. I will read that again”
Resilient people keep themselves motivated by watching & reading inspirational books, quotes, movies, videos, and stories of great leaders, businessmen, and celebrities who have overcome challenges in life. They maintain a good distance from toxic people and vibes, which helps their minds to be in a persistent state of positivity.
· Self-esteem: “ I can and I will get myself out of this. I won’t let this thing break me down.”
Highly resilient people never allow themselves to lower their self-esteem in their own eyes. They trust their ability and tap into their inner resources to harness the strength to beat the odds and power through. They don’t indulge in self-doubt; rather they channelize power from criticism and turn the threats into opportunity by keeping their head held high.
How to Nurture Resilience?
Nobody is born with a fixed degree of resilience. It varies from person to person. Resilience is a trait that is partly genetic, partly cultural, and partly learned. In the process of becoming resilient, one may have to change their attitude, beliefs, and behavioral patterns. This includes strengthening oneself at the physical, mental, psychological, social, and economic levels. Resilience is not a permanent state of mind. A person may feel equipped to manage one stressor and be overwhelmed by another. It involves a combination of inner strengths and outer resources. Here are a few tips to nurture resilience. You can take small steps each day to build your resilience muscles.
Acceptance of Duality in life: Our life consists of opposites. In our childhood, we are told about day-night, pleasure-pain, victory-defeat, success-failure, hot-cold and so many others. We live in the world of dualities but unfortunately, we keep on seeking uniformity in life. Hence, fear, self-doubt, and insecurities start to creep in. We are not adventurous enough to move into unknown territory and seek full control of life. So we can try to accept the nature of life and know that we cannot master every single thing at all times. A resilient individual can adapt to the dynamic aspects of life by upgrading their perspective and understanding of life.
Positive attitude: Resilience is an internal positive virtue. It is an attitude to see life events from the correct perspective. It’s difficult to maintain an optimistic outlook when the future feels so uncertain, but positive thinking helps to focus on hope and visualize better times ahead. When you feel flooded with negative thoughts, own them. State your negative thoughts, think about where it stems from, and offer three positive alternative thoughts against them, gradually they will lose their power.
Emotional Regulation: One should build self-regulation skills. The more a person is emotionally intelligent the more he is resilient. The capacity to manage potentially overwhelming emotions helps people maintain focus when overcoming a challenge. Stress-reduction techniques, such as positive visualizations, breathing exercises, and mindfulness training, can help individuals regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. One should develop an attitude of an onlooker and be mindful of what is happening.
Developing & Strengthening life skills: Resilience is rooted in self-confidence and self-esteem. Individuals gain confidence by demonstrating competence in real-life situations. Besides it, a strong character, skill to make sensible choices, sense of self-worth instills confidence, and this automatically builds up resilience.
Develop Self-awareness: Understanding how you typically respond to stress and adversity is the first step toward learning more adaptive strategies. Self-awareness also includes understanding your strengths and knowing your weaknesses. Being in a state of awareness allows you to make smarter choices, keep you calm, and helps you tackle the mess in a sorted way.
An Attitude of Gratitude: A resilient individual has an attitude of gratitude. Such individuals can find the good even in the worst days of life. The ability to recognize the good empowers you to combat the challenges coming your way. It is better and wiser to embrace vulnerability instead of cribbing over them. One should develop a sense of gratitude as it increases patience and tolerance.
Sense of Purpose: Community-oriented people who have social purpose are more resilient than people who limit their life to just a few loved ones. Have a broader vision of life and enjoy every arena of what life has to offer you.
Learn coping skills: This includes journaling diverse situations, reframing thoughts, exercising, spending time with nature, socializing, improving sleep hygiene, playing indoor games, etc.
Realistic Planning: Be realistic about your goals, plans, vision, and capability during a crisis. Don’t set unrealistic expectations and standards for yourself. Learn about the situation at hand and chase the best possible solution.
When to Seek Help?
At times we can feel the need to seek help and talk to a professional. A state of crisis for a long time can break us down from within and leave us feeling hopeless. So it’s okay to reach out to a psychologist who can help lend an ear and empower you to deal with the situation at hand.
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"She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails." - Elizabeth Edwards
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