5 Strategies for Becoming a More Resilient Person
Life does not come with a road map. It is filled with twists and turns, from everyday challenges to traumatic events such as the death of a loved one, a life-altering accident, or a serious illness. We all handle these life stressors differently, so resilience is a very personal process for each of us. Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress such as family or relationship issues, serious health problems, financial strain, etc. Becoming more resilient not only helps you get through difficult circumstances, but it also empowers you to grow and improve your life along the way. Here are five strategies for adapting to life-changing situations and emerging even stronger than before.
- Build Connections – Connect with empathetic and understanding people who will remind you that you are not alone and who will validate your feelings. The pain of traumatic events might make you feel like isolating, but it’s important to accept help and support from those who care about you. Along with one-on-one relationships, you may find that being active in a civic group, faith-based community, or other local organization can provide social support and help you reclaim hope.
- Foster Wellness – Stress is just as much physical as it is emotional. It may be tempting to mask your pain with alcohol, drugs, or other substances. Focus instead on giving your body resources to manage stress rather than seeking ways to eliminate the stressful feelings altogether. Promoting positive lifestyle factors like proper nutrition, enough sleep, hydration, and regular exercise can strengthen your body to adapt to stress. Additionally, mindful journaling, yoga, prayer, or meditation can help you build connections and restore hope, which in turn can prepare you to deal with situations that require resilience.
- Find Your Purpose – A sense of purpose is essential to resilience. It can help you find meaning in life’s challenges. Instead of being discouraged by your difficulties, you’ll be more motivated to learn from past experiences and keep going. Helping others can give you a sense of purpose, foster self-worth, and connect you with other people, all of which can empower you to grow in resilience.
- Look for Opportunities for Self-Discovery – It’s helpful to acknowledge and accept your emotions during hard times, but it’s also important to foster self-discovery by asking yourself, “What can I do about a problem in my life?” If the problems seem too big to tackle, break them down into manageable pieces. Taking initiative will remind you that you can muster motivation and purpose even during stressful periods of your life.
- Embrace Healthy Thoughts – How you think can play a significant part in how you feel—and how resilient you are when faced with obstacles. Try visualizing what you want rather than worrying about what you fear. Identify areas of irrational thinking and adopt a more balanced and realistic thinking pattern. Accept that change is part of life; focus on the things that you can change rather than the things that you cannot control.
Sometimes people struggle with resiliency. In these instances, getting help when you need it is crucial in building your resilience. St. Luke’s Penn Foundation can help. Learn more at www.PennFoundation.org.