When the concept of resilience comes up, it often conjures the image of individuals going through harrowing or tragic events. While these events may be outside of their control, their tenacity and determination bring them through and they come out the other side stronger for the experience.
But the truth is, resilience doesn’t have to be a foreign attribute that only those who have gone through hard times can possess. It can be actively cultivated and fostered, as well — if one is willing. Here are a few ways that individuals can go about developing and strengthening their own individual resilience in order to round out, deepen, and improve their character.
What Is Resilience?
In a nutshell, resilience can be defined as your ability to “bounce back” from a difficult situation. Opportunities to demonstrate resilience come in the form of adversity, strife, trauma, tragedy, aggressiveness, and stressful situations. This diverse set of conditions means everyone is given the chance to demonstrate their resilience from time to time.
6 Ways to Build Resilience
Whether you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, a stressful situation at work, a broken relationship, a personal failure, or any other challenge, having a well-rounded sense of resilience can do wonders in helping you navigate through each scenario. Here are several different ways that you can develop a stronger sense of resilience in order to help you deal with the difficult experiences you encounter throughout life.
1. Develop Your Drive
One of the key elements of fostering your resilience is learning how to be driven. Some people are born with an inherent sense of drive and passion, which they channel into everything they do. Others, though, need to work a bit harder in order to tap into that same sense of self-motivation.
One way to practice this is by working towards long-term goals. It’s easy to feel focused on a subject for an hour or two, but sustaining a genuine passion and drive until you succeed is another matter altogether.
If you’ve tossed around the idea of starting your own business, for instance, you may want to take that leap of faith and see where it takes you. While you may succeed and you may fail, one thing that is certain is that you’ll experience adversity at nearly every step. Everything from logistics to figuring out a good business plan, to launching the company and then building and sustaining it all takes an incredible amount of commitment. And, of course, that drive and tenacity in the face of resistance is an instrumental way to grow your overall resilience, too.
2. Learn About True Self-Care
Self-care is a hot topic these days, but often it’s misconstrued as nothing more than an excuse to do what you want. The truth is, genuine, responsible self-care should consist of an awareness of your own needs and desires, only acted upon after due consideration.
For example, if you find that you’re unhappy with your job, self-care would have you consider why that is. If you’re simply disconnected because of your own apathy, you may want to reconsider your attitude. If, on the other hand, you find that you’re amongst the 40% of American workers who feel burned out by their jobs, self-care would push you to consider changing occupations.
If you decide that this is, indeed, the course of action you must take, it can lead to a very challenging time of life as you switch jobs and, possibly, even careers. However, stepping out in boldness in pursuit of your own physical, mental, and emotional health can be an excellent way to both do what’s best for your own situation and develop your resilience through the experience.
3. Prepare Financially
A good follow up to the previous point is a more practical resilience tip: try to prepare for a rainy day. While the personal resilience that you can develop during the stress of changing jobs is good for you in the long term, it’s also helpful to foster a certain level of financial resilience to help get through the short term, as well.
It’s been reported that 60% of Americans claim that they couldn’t weather a $1,000 unexpected expense without resorting to increasing their debt. If you can take the time to rework your budget, save more, and set aside a rainy day fund, you’ll not only be ahead of the majority, but you’ll be developing your very real financial resilience as you go along, as well.
4. Learn From Your Failures
Resilience can often be fostered by simply taking the time to learn from your own failures. Rather than excessively judging them, use your past failures to inform and fuel your future successes. This will give your personality flexibility that will help it to bounce back from challenging scenarios … even if they go wrong. In short, when you’re willing to learn from the past, you’re always more likely to succeed in the future.
Exercise is an iconic part of a happy and healthy life. But the truth is that not everyone is wired to strap on those sneakers and go for a jog. In fact, if you struggle with certain forms of exercising, chances are you avoid most types of exercising as well.
However, if you’re looking to develop your resilience, you may want to give your exercising habits a second thought. While the physical benefits of a daily jog or a trip to the gym are well-documented, there’s another benefit that often goes unnoticed. Tough exercise regimens help develop your resilience.
When you’re confronted with the fact that you have one more mile to run and you feel like you’re about to give out and collapse on the side of the road, you’re given a choice. Give up, slow down to a walk, and hobble the rest of the way, or dig deep, grit your teeth, and soldier on until you cross that finish line. The best part? If you succeed, it isn’t just a cool success story, it directly affects your sense of resilience, as well.
6. Practice Active Listening
Finally, it’s important to practice active listening. This may sound foreign to the subject of building resilience, but part of that pursuit is that you must strive to understand others as much as do yourself. If you can only focus inwardly during times of stress and change, you’re likely to collapse in on yourself in no time.
However, learning to focus on others, hear what they have to say, and be discerning of their own challenges and struggles can provide a powerful sense of empathetic resilience that can uplift you in times of trial.
Whether you’re exercising, developing your self-esteem, learning to hear others better, or working on that rainy day fund, there are plenty of ways to build your resilience. Some methods are more practical in nature while others are deeper, internal lessons. However, all of these things can help you develop your character, strengthen your resolve, and turn you into a more resilient person as a result.
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