Along everyone’s journey there are stumbling blocks that trip us up – but some people stay down for the count while others bounce back and go on their merry way. The difference is resiliency: the ability to recover quickly from difficult conditions. But it’s not like you either have resiliency or you don’t. Bouncing back is a skill that can be practiced and improved on throughout your lifetime.
Whether you are struggling now or have difficulties ahead (which is everyone), there are concrete, proactive things you can do in order to become more resilient.
5 Steps to Developing Your Resilience
- Use your fear as a tool to help you avoid denial. Is there a certain situation in your life that makes your chest tight when you think about it – so you don’t? Mounting debt, a failing relationship, or unexplained health issues can be so scary that many people prefer denial to action. But by facing that feeling of fear, you can proactively begin to deal with hard times before they happen. You won’t be blindsided when they do, because you’ll already be on a course correction. What is terrifying you lately? Say it out loud. Don’t turn away from your fear – it’s a tool.
- Become your own #1 fan. Having a solid support structure of family and friends telling you how amazing you are every day would be fantastic. But even if you are lucky enough to have this, the voice inside your head is far more important than your fan base. Do you tend to beat yourself up for mistakes large and small, including the natural “flaws” you were born with? Do you get mad at yourself because you were not able to predict the future? Every time you catch that little voice criticizing you, stop and think of three things that you love about yourself instead.
- Recall times in the past when you did bounce back and don't spend too much time reflecting on the past. What didn’t kill you made you stronger – but sometimes it’s easy to forget how tough we really are, especially when we feel so fragile and weak. Visualize a negative experience that you bounced back from, like a job layoff, a bad breakup, or that ugly high-school haircut. If you’re having trouble bouncing back from a bad situation, you’re probably ruminating and spending too much time in the past.If you can get over bangs, you can get over anything. That’s just science. Focusing your mind on the present moment can help you learn to quiet the intrusive worries that hold you back. One easy way to snap yourself into the present is to take a survey of your five senses right now. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel, taste, and smell?
- Control your thoughts and actions – and let go of everything else. Channel your inner stoic and realize that crappy people and crappy situations are absolutely powerless without your reaction. And you control your reaction 100%! Imagination causes far more suffering than reality, and having power over yourself is the greatest power of all.
- Have fun. Enjoying the moment with a play-break informs your brain that hey – you’re already bouncing back! You may not feel like hitting the playground after a loss or tragedy. But even a couch slug can pop on a slapstick comedy. Blow some bubbles, bust out your crayons, or ride your bike to the park – and remind yourself that everything is okay right now.
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