How to Strengthen Your Resilience
Resilient people face adverse situations rationally. They don’t get caught in that negative loop, and waste time blaming or brooding over circumstances that can’t be changed. Instead of seeing a situation as unbeatable, they reframe to focus on the small steps they can take to fix the problem and make helpful changes.
Instead of getting caught in the loop of negative emotions, they can see adverse events as opportunities to challenge themselves and develop new skills. Focusing on the positive steps you can take frees you from a negative mindset to move forward from them.
We all can strengthen our mental flexibility. In a nutshell, cognitive flexibility is the ability to deal with different situations in different ways. This ability is especially helpful when you want to respond effectively to new, complex, and uncertain conditions.
Mental flexibility enables you to view situations from several different perspectives to shift a course of thought or action according to a problem’s changing demands. It’s an attitude that allows you to adapt your behavior so you can achieve the best results.
When you increase your mental flexibility, you can adapt to change and learn from your mistakes. Taking risks will become less frightening to you. You will see things from different perspectives and better tolerate uncertainty. As a result, you will become a better listener and a keener observer. This enhanced know-how will make you a more skilled thinker and a more effective problem solver.
Mental flexibility will strengthen your Resilience.
4 Tips for Resilient Resources
Find Your Purpose
“You are here for a special mission. There is a purpose of your life. Find that purpose of your life, work on it, and live your life happily.” Raaz Ojha
Pain gives us a choice. The first choice is to give up. The second and better alternative is to take up a positive, proactive mission that converts aches into action. Deliberately locking into a cause that energizes and pushes you forward can transform agony into achievement and injury into innovation.
Your mission becomes the fuel that empowers your resilience. It can be either personal or public. Personally, you may want to get into shape, create more harmony in your family, or quit drinking. Publicly, you may want to mentor high school students, register people to vote, or start a soup kitchen in your community.
Having a purpose will increase your energy and passion. You will become more focused and determined! Finding your calling boosts your self-love, which encourages more self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others.
Choosing a meaningful goal fires up your energy! Your heart floods with passion! Not only that, connecting to a mission will enrich your life and fire you up!
The Science Behind Finding Meaning
Psychological studies reveal that having a crystal clear focus and fully committing to the purpose of strengthens resilience.
In fact, finding meaning is a basic human need. Because without purpose, we can become despairing and alienated.
Studies also show a difference between seeing your work as a job, career, or a calling.
- A job focuses on paying the bills, a necessity, not a pleasure.
- While a career focuses on career advancement, getting ahead.
- But, a calling focuses on the enjoyment of doing useful work.
The ability to see your work as a calling strengthens your resilience.
Find meaning in Trauma.
Trauma causes people to respond differently. Some eventually find value in Trauma. They become strengthened by it. As a result, they use it as motivation for growth.
Others seek out the meaning in the Trauma they’ve experienced. They use their tragedy as a catalyst to help others. They deliberately turn their atrocity into positive actions.
“Healing from trauma can also mean strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life – warts, wisdom, and all – with courage.” – Catherine Woodiwiss
Faith in A Higher Power
“You start to live when you commit your life to cause higher than yourself. You must learn to depend on divine power for the fulfillment of a higher calling.” Lailah GiftyAkita
Connect to a higher power. It doesn’t matter what it is. Your higher power should be something that inspires, motivates, and shelters you during hard times. Anything meaningful and powerful to you will work. Your higher power may be God, nature, or the concept of love.
On the other hand, you may connect to moral principles, internal drive, or your Pledge to serve others. Whatever you believe in, this should be one of your most important relationships.
If you’ve not identified something bigger than yourself, consider taking the time to do so. Life is a short but magnificent journey. Perhaps even more important than offering support during tough times, connection to something bigger enriches our short adventure on earth.
Resilience Requires Connection
Most of us believe there is something bigger than ourselves. But if you just can’t get there, consider believing in the concept of connection. The recognition that we are all connected can give you strength during difficult times.
That idea of connection can lead you to better opportunities and choices you’ve not considered. Seeing more positive opportunities or even relief from pain increases hope, and hope strengthens resilience.
Believing in something bigger than yourself allows you to rise above our everyday self. Fear, anger, and anxiety become weaker when we remember that connection. This connection changes our perspective. Our perspective shifts so that mistakes, disappointments, and failures don’t have the power they once did. This higher power helps us realize our lives have greater meaning that our current pain. We understand that there is a greater purpose for who we want to become.
“Purpose creates a belief in a higher power, directing you toward your goal on the best path possible.”
― Lawren Leo,
Funny Motivational Speaker Amy Dee calls you to “Take Action”
An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied. Arnold Glasow
Every day there is a situation where taking action is an option. Choosing to act increases resilience. There are great reasons to pick a goal and plan out the steps to reach it.
But too often, we get so caught up in the planning and forget about the action. The truth is, planning to achieve some mental satisfaction. For years I would plan to start a diet every Monday. During the weekend, I’d research diets, shop for healthy food, and make a meal plan. While planning satisfying, it wasn’t enough. One Monday rolled into the next Monday because planning isn’t an action.
Instead of sitting around gabbing about your next step, take the next step. Instead of planning for later, focus on the next minute. What can you do right now, in the next moment?
Action in the Next Moment
It’s challenging to keep your cool in the middle of an argument. Instead, decide to keep your cool for the next moment, then the moment after that.
Like it or not, fears, worries, and anxiety is part of being human. Instead of thinking about how to fix this in the long run, take action in the short run. Here’s a metaphor that may help.
Let’s say you’re a bus driver who has to complete a route. You make a stop, open the bus door, and anxiety steps into your bus as a jerky passenger. It’s not possible to kick anxiety off the bus, so you don’t waste your time. But you do have a choice. You can allow this nasty passenger to sit directly behind you, whispering horrors into your ear. Or, you can escort anxiety to the back of the bus and keep on rolling.
Resilient people recognize that anxieties, worry, and fear are unwanted passengers on everyone’s bus. Instead of wrestling with them, they accept them and continue to produce.
When I am fearful, an action makes me feel in control. Movement can be anything positive, do something.
Malachy McCourt once said, “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Forgiveness is voluntary. Sometimes we choose to forgive when we become ready to move forward. Then again, forgiveness may occur when our heart embraces more love than hate.
Let’s face it; revenge often feels satisfying and justified. It is commonly our immediate reaction to being hurt. While stories of forgiveness warm our hearts, these stories make the news because we consider them unique. In our world, the need for revenge feels pretty “normal” to us. It takes strength and courage to forgive. That said, it is important to realize that we pay the price for our desire to retaliate. Namely, revenge poisons our minds.
Carrying a grudge is a heaviness that weighs you down. When you hold onto anger and resentment, it gnaws away your ability to progress. Instead of concentrating on the next thing, you become stuck in the past thing. Bitterness blocks your power. For all these reasons, forgiveness is crucial to resilience.
Throughout our lifetime, we will all have lots of opportunities to practice forgiving each other. Like it or not, hurting each other is part of the human condition. For this reason, it is helpful to approach day to day forgiveness as an outlook.
If ahead of time, you commit to forgiving someone who hurts you, whether it is your co-worker, family member, friend, or stranger, you’ll be ahead of the game. Instead of clinging to anger, embracing an attitude of forgiveness, and you’ll become more resilient.
Funny Motivational Speaker Amy Dee’s Home page
Science and Forgiveness
“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” Oprah Winfrey
Fred Luskin’s forgiveness studies are pretty amazing. These studies show that the participants who learned forgiveness strategies had reductions in:
- levels of stress
- Received themselves as less angry, and
- felt a marked increase in confidence.
There were also significant improvements in physical health had substantial decreases in symptoms like:
- chest pain, back pain, and nausea
- headaches, sleep problems, and loss of appetite
Luskin said, “If you feel good but want to feel even better, try forgiving someone.” In fact, studies showed improved emotional and psychological functioning even in participants who weren’t depressed or overly anxious. Wow!
Perception Matters in Forgiveness
As an aside, it appears that our perception matters when it comes to forgiveness. According to the Baumeister study, there is something called the magnitude gap. To summarize, when we are the victim, we tend to remember the hurt easily and in detail. When someone hurts us, we tend to feel it is intentional and even malicious.
On the other hand, if we are the victimizer, the details are fuzzy. Even if we do remember it when we know our hurtful actions were not intentional. Because of this, we may believe our victims are overreacting.
The truth is, most of us don’t walk around trying to hurt people. Nonetheless, sometimes our actions are hurtful. We all know there are some jerks in the world. That said, most people don’t walk about intentionally trying to cause us pain. Even so, though, their behavior is sometimes hurtful. In fact, sometimes they aren’t even aware that they hurt us.
Once we let go of anger, we can move forward and become more productive. Instead of pouring our energy into the past, we can’t change; we can use it to empower a future we can change. Also, when you forgive others, you can better forgive yourself.
For this reason, next time someone hurts you, consider their intent.
Note: Forgiveness is not you are approving the wrong you’ve experienced. I was a psychiatric RN who worked in an acute care psychiatric hospital. Every day, I listened to stories from victims who’d experienced unbelievable horrors at others’ hands. Disgusting, irredeemable behavior is never okay. That said, forgiveness is not a gift to the perpetrator. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Because, once again, holding a grudge weighs YOU down, not the offender.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
— Lewis B. Smedes
Four Tips to dig into your resources
1. What is your mission or purpose?
Where are you feeling pain? How can you channel the problem into something that benefits you or your community?
It can be an inner mission, i.e., to take better care of your health. Or, it can be an external cause, where you convert your pain into helping your community.
Or, take advice from Viktor Frankl. Instead, searching for meaning by asking, “What is the meaning of my life?”
Ask, “What does life expect from me?”
You enter this world called with gifts that this world needs. Abilities that only you alone can give.
2. Higher Power
Who or what is your “higher power”? How can you strengthen this connection in your life? Can your higher power help you confront the weakness you are facing?
Consider beginning each day with positive readings. Perhaps end your day by writing down moments that made you smile. Small experiences often hold great magic.
What’s a task you’ve been avoiding due to a lack of experience, motivation, or resources? Do you tend to procrastinate tackling the task, waiting for the ideal moment that never seems to come?
Moore, Christian. The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action (p. 176). Greenleaf Book Group Press. Kindle Edition.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Do you need to forgive yourself?
Resilience Becomes You
You appeared on this earth, at this time and place, and with a unique set of skills and talents. You’ve had a particular set of experiences that you’ve interpreted from your unique perspective. Your job throughout your life is to learn the reason you are here.
In this world, you represent you. It doesn’t matter what you have. It matters what you do with what you have.
You are born with a character; it is given, as the old stories say, from the guardians upon your birth. Each person enters this world called. James Hillman
Resilient Resources, 4 Tips