To develop resilience, you don’t really need to do the tough stuff.
So, what does it take to actually get some extra resilience?
Well, here are four ways to build some up, and all of them involve finding peace in yourself.
Always look on the bright side, especially in stressful situations.
This is a key, underlining aspect to it all. It makes a lot of sense, because, for example, if someone were to react to a stressful event by thinking it was the worst thing in the world, it will seem as such. But were they to somehow remain positive, to see the silver lining in it, then it will seem less overwhelming, and as such they will be more resilient.
So it is important to remain positive about the past, present and future.
The world appears to us as we imagine it to be, and the real trauma is not the event itself, but our emotional reaction to the trauma.Stay connected with someone supportive.
One unifying factor, in a recent study, of the most resilient children is that they had a support structure. They had parents, guardians, or a teacher that had their back.
All you need is someone who wants to see you succeed and is willing to help you do so. To children it can be a parent, guardian, or teacher. But for you, having a group of good friends or even regular contact with a good therapist can be very effective.
Do good to make people feel good.
Studies have shown that doing good increases production of Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, in the body. Low levels of serotonin are often found in people suffering from depression.
So, doing good makes you feel good.
Doing good can also help put things in perspective if you are faced with people who are suffering tougher challenges in their lives than you.
Some have also suggested making an effort to note when kindness is done to you, perhaps by creating a gratitude journal or blog. People are more likely to remember when they have been mistreated, so having a reminder of the many times you have been treated well may help cancel out negativity.
Take very good care of yourself.
With this I don’t just mean keeping active and eating well (which can’t hurt), but paying attention to your mind. Stress can accumulate, which by extension can have a lasting impact on your mood and make you react severely to stressful situations, ultimately exacerbating them.
A setback, you might easily be able to take, might knock you down if you already have a lot of stress in your life. To counter the effects of this cumulative stress, you should make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and rest.
Even when you are just relaxing, parts of your brain are working on overdrive, especially when stressed. Rest and sleep can counteract this.
Practicing all of the above could greatly improve your resilience and ability to stand tough against setbacks and trauma, as well as be better equipped to handle stress and feel good while doing so.
This poem: “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley proved a great benefit to Nelson Mandela during his 25 years in prison. I think the last stanza of the poem summarises resilience in a great way.
“It matters not how straight the gate
How charged with punishment the scroll
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.”