The resilient people not only recover from their setbacks but also often find meaning in their suffering. As a result, they grow from it.
How To Build Resilience: 10 Proven Tips
Resilience is our mental ability to handle hardships and recover from them. There’s something native and deep-rooted in us that makes us resilient. We can make ourselves more resilient by practice.
Here are 10 science-backed tips to build resilience:
- Find in your life a sense of purpose
- Have positive beliefs in your capabilities
- Update your skills. Build your core strengths
- Foster a supportive social network
- Accept negative emotions. Embrace change
- Nurture yourself – eat, sleep, exercise well
- Stay hopeful and optimistic
- Set up meaningful and realistic life-goals
- Focus on what you can control. Let go of the things you can not
- Take bold actions to solve problems
Some other factors that can make you more resilient are:
- a positive attitude/mindset
- optimism and hopeful attitude
- ability to regulate our emotions
- ability to see re-frame failure as feedback
Resilience is more likely to be mastered when:
- one can avoid strong, frequent, or prolonged stress
- the ill effects are buffered by supportive relationships
We have to change our following beliefs about resilience:
- First, we must realize resilience is a learnable quality.
- Second, it is not that only some of us are blessed with resilience. Research shows we all have it in us, and we all can build it.
The 3 Sources of Resilience
1. Personal Factors
The following personal factors all evidently contribute to resilience:
- Personality traits — openness, extroversion, and agreeableness
- Mastery, self-efficacy, self-esteem
- The positive interpretation of events, positive self-concepts, and mindset
- Optimism and Hope
- Intellectual resourcefulness
- Psychological flexibility
- Social attachment and adaptability
- Emotional regulation and internal locus of control
- Positive emotions
Some other personal factors that influence resilience are age, gender, race, ethnicity, and stage of life.
2. Biological Factors
Findings from recent research on biological factors in resilience reveal harsh environments in early ages (as children growing in war-ravaged Syria) can affect the development of brain structure and function.
There can be changes in the brain size, the nerve networks, the sensitivity of receptors, and the production of neurotransmitters.
These brain changes in younger years can reduce the capacity to regulate the negative emotions, and lower their resilience to adversities.
Studies also show past and current life and social experiences can lead to sizable and long-term changes in genes. Later on, one can transmit these genes to the next generation. So, resilience as a trait can be genetically inherited.
3. Environmental Factors
The factors in one’s environment can sufficiently increase or decrease their ability to show resilience.
- Social support, including family, teachers, and peers
- Stable family, good parenting, non-abusive father/mother
- Depression or substance abuse in the parents
- Good school and supportive community
- Sports and artistic opportunities
- No exposure to violence near home or neighborhood
The 6 Attributes That Help Build Resilience
According to The Resilience Institute, here is a shortlist of attributes when we seek to recover from serious adversity, in approximate order of impact:
- Strong relationships of respect, love, and trust
- Impulse control and positivity
- Physical fitness, good sleep, and nutrition
- Capacity to stay calm under pressure
- Ability to focus attention and be situation-aware
- Ability to plan and execute effective solutions
We can learn to improve each of these, and can measure how we fare.
How To Build Resilience At Work
According to Paula Davis-Laack, M.A.P.P. , resilient employees do these seven things differently: They…
- Develop high-quality connections.
- Manage their stress and avoid burnout.
- Are authentic, and work their values and strengths.
- Take care to pursue their passions.
- Stay, and try to keep themselves, inspired.
- Have mental toughness and flexibility.
- Manage changes and setbacks.
Example of Psychological Resilience
Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian freelance foreign correspondent, was kidnapped while reporting in Somalia in 2008. She was just 27 then.
Amanda was held captive for 15 months, and subjected to every form of torture, including rape. What we’re experiencing right now, isolated in our homes in self-quarantine, is nothing compared to hers.
She wrote about the harrowing experience in her 2013 bestseller A House In The Sky.
The normal trajectory of human experience is that life will bring you to your knees at some point, if it hasn’t yet.
We try to ready ourselves for what life might throw our way, but I know that not everybody is building that muscle of resilience, and it is that which carries you through.— Amanda Lindhout
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy – a medical doctor, psychology writer, happiness researcher. Founder of Happiness India Project, and chief editor of its blog. He writes popular-science articles on positive psychology and related medical topics.
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