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How to be Resilient & Positive & all that other good stuff

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, a hardiness. It’s built up over time, usually with age, but we can speed up that process. Although it’s easier to be resilient if you’re naturally optimistic, resilience can also be learned.

Research tells us these are the TOP 6 WAYS to become resilient:

Positivity

A small word that can make a big difference.  Try to learn to experience both positive & negative emotions in a tough situation. Acknowledge the pain or frustration but do also try to see any silver lining, which ultimately will help you get out of bed the next day. If you lack resilience, then your emotions around a rough patch become negative and overwhelming. It’s important to note that resilient people don’t ignore their negative feelings, they recognise them and see them as manageable and then shift focus to the more positives ones.

Learn from the Experience

It may be a cliché, but we tend to learn more from the hard times than the easy. Using adversity we face to grow or to change makes what we’ve gone through meaningful. If we find ourselves in a painful or disappointing situation, we need to ask ourselves “how do I feel better, what can I change so this doesn’t happen again and if it does, what can I do to hurt less next time?” Life lessons & silver-lining spotting from one trauma can be used again & again, thus building resilience. If you draw comparisons to other difficult times you’ve overcome, instead of making you feel that life isn’t going your way, can actually remind you of your strength & resilience in the face of past adversity and thus enable you to overcome the current issue.

Giving Back

Giving back, in any form, improves resilience & positivity. Seeing someone else’s difficulties and hearing how they are struggling yet surviving, forces us to review our lives and be thankful for what we have. Practice the attitude of gratitude or random acts of kindness. For instance, a small act could be to give someone the change to make up their lunch bill, or to offer to do the office coffee run (also a sneaky way of soaking up some sunshine and much needed fresh air). Remember to Give Back to yourself too; self-esteem plays a role in resilience. The better you feel about yourself, the more equipped you are to deal with challenging events. So be kind to yourself as well as others.  

Having a purpose

Having a purpose in your life builds resilience; you have something to strive towards. It’s important to be in a job you enjoy and find fulfilling as this too contributes to feeling purposeful. Having a purpose outside of work is also crucial. Find something that you enjoy doing and try to do some everyday. It could be reading, running, photographing, knitting, etc. However, don’t do something passive like watching TV or checking social media.

Healthy body, Healthy mind:

Being fit; having enough sleep, not consuming too much fat, salt, sugar, alcohol, actually plays a bigger role than you think. Your mind can get foggy if you’re over-tired or suffering from a sugar/caffeine crash. It’s not that you get depressed when you’re not fit and healthy, more that you’re less able to fight off the negative stuff. You hear about people taking up running or yoga as a way of clearing their mind or to battle anxiety and there’s a reason for that. Apart from the endorphins and headspace, it’s about valuing yourself enough to look after your body – which is a temple, after all.

Connectedness also increases our resilience and it’s not just being able to vent with your friends, it’s the ability to not talk about the bad stuff too. Having a laugh, going to the cinema, out for dinner, coffee, etc does wonders for us.

Live, love, laugh

Laughing at ourselves or the situation we find ourselves in helps us be more positive, resilient and all that other good stuff. People who work in harrowing conditions are often described as having black humour. If these people didn’t find humour, no matter how black it is, they wouldn’t be resilient enough to last a week. Humour also gives you power over the situation which otherwise you might get suffocated by.

If you are not naturally resilient, it is a lifestyle change, but a very manageable and positive one!  Well worth taking the first few steps to help yourself become more resilient.