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Building resilience: The road to bouncing back


Have you ever wondered how some people cope so well with difficult and challenging times while others seem to fall apart at the seams as soon as something unexpected throws a wrench in life’s plans? The answer is simple: resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope with the unexpected as it is happening and learn from it to come out the other side even stronger. It’s adapting well in in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, obstacles, challenges, or any other significant source of stress. And the best part is that resilience can be developed in everyone since it involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions.

We can’t always control what happens to us — but the one thing we can control is how we react to it. This is where building resilience can be extremely beneficial. Have you ever heard the quote “There is nothing either good or bad except thinking makes it so”? It’s true. Negative thoughts can lead to negative feelings, which can lead to negative behaviors. The same goes for positive thoughts leading to positive feelings and positive behaviors.

So how can you get started? We have a few tips to get you well on your way to learning the art of bouncing back.

  1. Practice optimism: Having an optimistic outlook can help you maintain healthy expectations and create an image of positivity in your life. Try visualizing what you want with the expectation that good things will happen, rather than worrying about what you fear (which may not happen at all).
  2. Maintain perspective: It can sometimes be hard to stay in context when in the midst of a stressful situation, but keeping the long term in mind can really help to avoid blowing small things out of proportion.
  3. Evaluate control: Take a look at your current situation and ask yourself if you have the power to change the outcome. Resilient people look at a challenge and ask themselves what they can realistically change. Then they focus on that part.
  4. Accept change: Change is inevitable. Being able to look at circumstances and decide whether or not you have the ability to impact them can shape your expectations into more attainable goals and focus on areas you have the power to change.
  5. Get support: Social support is the single biggest thing you can do for your overall health and resilience. Support comes in all forms and doesn’t require a long conversation or face-to-face visit daily. It can include faith-based groups, community connections, or even family. It’s also important to accept support from those who care about you when in need.
  6. Have confidence: Being aware of your strengths helps develop your confidence. Also being aware of your weaknesses can help to build a realistic expectation of what you can accomplish. Knowing both will lead to an ability to believe in yourself as well as manage expectations.
  7. Challenge your thinking: Believe it or not, your thoughts matter more than you may think. Resilient people have a life view that things will work out and then act in that manner. Negativity can bring you down and cause self-doubt, anger, and feelings of hopelessness.
  8. Pay attention to you: It’s important to pay attention to yourself and how you are thinking, feeling, and being. When you take care of yourself it’s going to be easier to have a more positive and happy outlook. Pay attention to when you feel run down, overwhelmed, or tired.
  9. Be SMART: Having goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely can set you up for success and increase self-confidence. Use small goals to fuel your happiness and desire to achieve greater one step at a time.

Building resilience or bouncing back after an adverse situation doesn’t magically happen overnight. It requires thought about what is important and a plan for putting goals into action. The next time you are faced with adversity, pick one of these areas that are applicable and work on it.