Explore the many different things that contribute to resilience.
In life, we all face stressful experiences. But, each of us is very different in how we cope with these experiences. Some of us cope well and may even grow and improve because of stress. Others struggle and may even develop mental health issues in the face of stress.
Resilience is the set of personal qualities that enable us to thrive in the face of adversity. It may involve being calm in difficult situations, implementing effective coping mechanisms, and handling criticism well.
Why is Resilience Important
Ongoing stress can be hard on our mental and physical health. Personal resilience can buffer us from these effects, shutting down the stress cycle and HPA-axis, enabling us to better fight off illness and other negative outcomes. But resilience can mean different things to different people. For example, to someone who is extroverted, resilience may mean spending extra time with friends. To an introvert, resilience may mean spending more time alone. Although each of us may cope with struggles by using different strategies, the key is to know what works for us and in which circumstances.
How to Be More Resilient
So much pain is created from our tendency to fight the things we cannot change. But the more time we spend getting upset about the uncontrollable situations in our lives, the more time we spend stressed or angry instead of focusing on how we can make the future better. Perhaps this is why acceptance is linked to positive well-being.
Strive for Self-Knowledge
Take Care of Yourself
Burnout is a very real phenomenon that includes emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Research has shown that there are several causes of burnout including too much work, not enough control, not enough pay, social issues, and a mismatch in values . If we’re burned out, our resilience is at an all-time low. This is why it's so important to prevent burnout before it gets to this point. If possible, try to get out of jobs or roles that are not a good fit for you. Take breaks whenever possible. And be sure to relax during your time off.
Self-love (or self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem, etc...) may be a crucial part of what it means to be resilient. Positive self-views are closely linked to positive outcomes like happiness and well-being. This may be because if we feel bad about ourselves, it colors every other aspect of our lives. We set ourselves up for disappointing situations and then we blame ourselves for them. By cultivating self-love, we can hopefully respond to stress in healthier ways.
Build Social Connections
No matter what we're doing, we feel better when we're doing it with others. That makes social connections a crucial component of resilience. In fact, one of the most reliable ways to boost well-being is by developing high-quality social relationships and by feeling socially connected to the people in your life.
Take a Step Back
Sometimes when we're going through something difficult, we get so immersed in it that we can't see straight. Our emotions overwhelm and our perspectives narrow. That's why resilience often means being able to take a step back to look at our situation from outside ourselves. More specifically, if we look at our situation as if we were “a fly on the wall” or "a passerby on the street", we can get some much-needed objectivity that can help decrease our negative emotions. This strategy is known as emotional distancing, and it can help us feel better during difficult times.
It's human nature to try to make meaning of our challenges. We often create explanations in our minds for why things happened to us and why they happened the way they did. This can help us cope with loss and other stressful events. That's why meaning making can be a key part of resilience. If we instead think that bad things happen for seemly no reason, we can end up feeling lost or out of control.
Power of Positivity Practices
Here are some practices that can help you increase your positivity:
Write a Self-Compassion Letter
Practice Positive Reappraisal
Experience a Positivity Meditation
When Positivity Might Backfire
For example, putting pessimists
into a positive mood not only hurts performance, but it can also actually make
them feel more anxious. Sometimes we use worry and other negative outcomes to
help us. Also, suppression and other forms of emotional avoidance are not good
So, if positivity doesn't feel right for you, or doesn't feel right in a specific situation, that's okay.
How to Boost the Power of Positivity
What positive qualities do you have?
What strengths do you have?
What are you grateful for?
What do you have to look forward to (or what can you create so you do have things to look forward to)?
In Sum : Capitalizing on the Power of Positivity
- Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1994). Positive illusions and well-being revisited: separating fact from fiction.
- Wadlinger, H. A., & Isaacowitz, D. M. (2008). Looking happy: The experimental manipulation of a positive visual attention bias. Emotion, 8(1), 121.
- Shapira, L. B., & Mongrain, M. (2010). The benefits of self-compassion and optimism exercises for individuals vulnerable to depression. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5, 377-389.
- Norem, J. K., & Chang, E. C. (2002). The positive psychology of negative thinking. Journal of clinical psychology, 58(9), 993-1001.
If you are passionate about helping others deal with life’s challenges in a more resilient way, this masterclass is for you. Because not only will you master the 6 most important pillars of resilience, but you’ll also learn to explain and implement them. All the materials you need to confidently apply the science behind resilience in a time-tested way are at your disposal.