Resilience is that inner strength that enables someone to get back up after they’ve been knocked down, to put on a smile on their face even though their world may be falling apart. Resilience is the ability to move on from misfortune and use bad luck as a chance to do better next time.
What makes some people resilient to the changing tides of life while others find it hard to keep afloat? Psychologists agree that some people are born with a higher degree of resilience but also say that resilience is a trait that can be learned.
So how do you do it?
Top researchers have identified five ways to increase your resilience and get more out of life.
1. Stay Positive
Resilient people find a silver lining in every cloud. When bad luck occurs, they don’t dwell on it and feel worse. Yes, they acknowledge the misfortune, but they also have the ability to find the good in it too. For example, a friend of mine found out that her partner had been cheating on her just days before their wedding. She consoled herself by imagining how she would have felt if she had discovered the truth after she was married. The situation would have been so much worse. It wasn’t much of a bright side, but at least she could find one and that helped her through the worst of it.
2. Learn More
Every challenge, every setback, is an opportunity to grow and learn. A resilient person takes a problem and tries to find a solution, rather than wallowing in the difficulty or ignoring it in the vain hope it will go away.
If you have a problem, try using non-judgemental questions to find a way through it and learn from the experience. Questions like, ‘what are my choices here?’ are much more helpful than questions like, ‘who can I blame?’
Learning questions are empowering and help increase your ability to connect with others.
3. Help Others
Helping others helps to increase our own serotonin, the chemical in our brains that makes us feel good. It doesn’t have to be as formal as volunteering regularly in a soup kitchen. Even just smiling at a stranger or saying something encouraging to somebody else can be enough to give a boost to our day.
Gratitude for your blessings is just as important. We all have at least five things we’re thankful for. Enough food in the cupboards, someone who loves us, a roof over our heads. Remembering and feeling grateful for what we have, can help stop us obsessing over the things we don’t have.
4. Health is Wealth
I should know. Prior to my life threatening accident I didn’t value it the same way as I do now.
Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle will give your body the reserve it needs to get through tough times. Getting regular exercise and keeping a healthy diet along with plenty of sleep will help increase your resilience levels. It’s important to keep your mind healthy too. Meditation practice can help control racing thoughts and give us a profound sense of peace and calm. Spending time in nature and with the people you love will also add to our health bank.
Having a good belly laugh relieves tension and pain, I do it regularity. Sometimes all you can do in a bad situation is look for the funny side. And once you’ve done that, you’ll find it easier to work through the problem.
Increasing your resilience is the best way to get through life. Once you’ve learned to ride the storm, you’ll find the calm beyond.
What other ways work for you?
Doug Wright, is a transformed survivor of a head-on near death vehicle collision.
Passionate about helping people overcome their inner most fears, especially when recovering from trauma, Doug has survived to share his courageous story … his motto is “never give up”.
Away from his everyday activities, Doug invests his spare time playing his electric guitar, knocking out an eclectic mix of Eagles hits and fishing for coral trout in Airlee Beach, Northern Queensland.