Everyone goes through something hard at times. It may be an unexpected setback, a medical incident, or a relational struggle. It could be any number of things depending on your definition of “hard times.” Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks or stand up again after getting knocked down. Resilience is like recovery. For example, after a medical incident, the greater your resilience, the faster you can recover. How do you bounce back better? Several things promote resilience in individuals, and you may have some control over some of those things.
Build a Good Support System – When you have positive relationships in your life, your loved ones or friends can help you by providing the support you need to face adversity. If your support system is lacking, just know there are things you can do to improve your skills and the way you relate to others. Sometimes seeking the help of a licensed professional counselor or psychologist can help you develop better relationships. Seek to make good connections and improve your relational skills to build a good support system. Positive relationships will enable you to help your friends when they need you and will enable them to help you when you are in need too.
Focus on the Positive – It is easy to feel like things are getting worse when you are focused on the negative. There is more likelihood of seeing improvement if your attitude is more positive. One way to refocus your attention towards the positive is to practice mindfulness techniques. For example, a simple breathing exercise can reduce your stress at the moment so you can refocus on the positive. If the present moment has you focusing on the negative, stop for a few moments and focus on your breathing. Doing so may give you enough capacity to remember the more positive things and to provide the opportunity to refocus on something more hopeful. Adversity is still stressful, but if you can find a glimmer of hope, use that to your advantage to set goals towards your recovery.
Build Better Health – When we are healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually, we have greater resources to face adversity. There are different ways to promote better mental, physical, and spiritual health through safe exercise, better nutrition, better sleep, and even faith development that can build up additional resources for you to use when you are knocked down in some way. You do not have to change your life entirely to encourage better health. A few simple changes can go a long way toward improvement. For example, consider starting a simple exercise program that fits your style and capacity. For some, this may be simply beginning to take a walk each day. Decide to start improving your nutrition by intentionally picking a more healthy meal option for one meal each day. Improve your sleep by planning a soothing pre-sleep routine. You may want to consider avoiding electronic devices before going to bed. Consider connecting with a faith community to enhance your faith development. Again, the goal is improvement and not perfection. Anything you can do towards better health will give you a greater capacity to handle adversity.
Find Your Purpose – Finding your sense of purpose can have great benefits that encourage resilience. Some find their purpose in helping others. Some find their purpose in discovering something more about themselves and using that self-discovery to grow. For example, what are your passions? Or, what talents do you have? These discoveries can help you find your sense of purpose, especially when you seek to grow your passion or develop your talent. When you discover your sense of purpose, it will help you set goals and maintain a healthy perspective so you can keep moving forward.
Ask For Help – Adversity can sometimes be hard to overcome, especially alone. There are times when we have the capacity and resources to bounce back on our own. But there are other times when we need the help of others. If you find yourself stuck and unable to bounce back as you would like, it may be helpful to seek some help from a psychologist or licensed professional counselor to get back on track. An outside perspective can help you identify your next steps for enhancing your resilience.
William Arthur Ward once said, “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” The difference between these two is your capacity to bounce back instead of being sidelined by the problems. Some things are outside of your control. However, each person has some ability to promote resilience in themselves. To bounce back better, you may try focusing on the positive, relying more on your support, working to enhance your health, finding purpose, and when all else fails - ask for some help.