How to Build Resilience

First of all, what is resilience and why is it something that we need? Most simply put, resilience is what helps us to bounce back from adversity. Resilience is the process of adapting effectively in situations such as trauma, tragedy, or significant stressors such as loss of a job or the death of a loved one. This does not mean that a person who is experiencing such circumstances will not experience emotional distress; in fact, emotional distress is often a part of the resilience process. It is important to understand that resilience is not a trait. It is not like freckles, either you have freckles, or you do not. Resilience is made up of thoughts and behaviors that can be learned by all.

Here are 4 ways that you can build your resilience:

Make connections with others. Trauma is something that leaves individuals fragmented in their minds and in their social circle. By making connections through asking for the help and support of others, those fragmented pieces slowly come back together. Accepting the support of loved ones not only strengthens resilience but is an essential component of the healing process as well.

Radically accept change. Radical acceptance is about completely, fully, without judgment, accepting the present moment for what it is. We often try to protect ourselves by denying the reality of our present situation if it is too painful. Ironically, this resistance can often cause us more pain in the end as we struggle against something we cannot change. To strengthen our resilience, we need to radically accept that change is a part of life. We may not like these changes, but we can accept that they are out of our control and stop fighting and start living again.

Maintain a positive self-image. Having a positive opinion of oneself can be challenging as it is; in the wake of a crisis, it can sometimes feel impossible. Practice being kind to yourself. Know that you are going through a difficult time and your emotions are valid, and that these emotions do not reflect on who you are as a person. Recall times that you were able to effectively solve a problem or a time when you fully trusted yourself. Recall how you thought and acted during those times and integrate those principles into your current situation. Increasing your trust in yourself and in your effectiveness at problem solving will help build your resiliency.

See your problems as conquerable. When we are going through a crisis, we can become so bogged down in our emotions and negative thoughts that we do not see a way out. We cannot change what has passed or the fact that we will encounter future stressful events, but we can change how we respond to them. Be mindful in noticing the subtle ways that you feel relief as you go through your difficult time. Note how these changes come about and adjust your actions to allow for more. Let this relief be a signal of hope to you that you will conquer your obstacle.

These are only a few suggestions for how to build resilience there are many other methods that are equally as effective. Remember, it is always okay to ask for help. If you are struggling with a problem that you feel is out of the realm of your resiliency, seek professional help from a counselor or mental health professional and remember that you do not have to go through this alone.

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