Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulty quickly. If you lose your footing or tough times weather you down, it is the ability to get back up, fast. Note that resilience is not falling, it is not the ability to never face difficulties. It is how quickly you can recover from it.
So, if you are reading this, if times have been tough lately, and life has knocked you down more than once, don’t you worry. Life does that to all of us now and then. While the getting up part is largely something you’ve got to do by yourself, we are here to offer a helping hand.
If you just don’t know how to pull yourself up, start here. We’ve got you.
Accept the reality
First and foremost, let’s accept the reality. Let us agree that we have gone from the frying pan to the fire. Let’s not mince words.
Things are tough.
And while we are at it, let us also accept that they may remain so for some time. By accepting this as a possibility, we get to take back the sense of control. We can also work from here and make decisions based on it.
But there is also another reality that we need to accept. That while things will remain bad for some time, this too, shall pass. We will get through this, no matter what. Things will be okay again, even if it is in the distant future.
Develop a practice of gratitude
If you can do only one thing from this list, let it be this. If you can only practice one of these principles, then let it be that of gratitude.
Gratitude has a lot to do with resilience. Being grateful helps us look at the bright side of our lives. It helps in producing happy hormones and reduces the production of stress hormones, even if it's for a few moments. It helps us form an unshakable belief in the universe and in ourselves. That while most of our lives may be riddled with issues, there still are many little things working in our favor.
Start a journal
Just spend 5 minutes each day on it. Write down your prominent thoughts and feelings. Journaling has proven to release stress. The process of writing down our thoughts and feelings gives us a different perspective. This practice is also used by many psychologists over the years. If you don’t know how to start journaling, start with The Artist’s Way by Julia. Many renowned influencers swear by it, including Tim Ferris.
Once you have journaled for 30 to 60 days, track your progress, see how your notes and thoughts have changed. Have they become more confident? Are they more positive? Keeping a journal will give you a sense of progress.
Often times we give up during tough times because we think we are not moving the needle. When the progress is slow (most lasting progress is slow) we feel that we are not able to make the change we want. A journal will tell you how far you’ve come over time.
Let go of judgments
When we are going through particularly challenging times, we retreat into a shell. Be it a physical ailment, relationship issues, abuse, or financial issues. We are conditioned by society to clam up. We don’t talk about these even to our closest family. We are not just afraid of judgment, but we are judging the situation, too.
Letting go of our judgments and expectations will help in releasing the pressure to keep everything hush-hush. Reframe the situation you are in and look at it as a problem you must solve. A solution you have to find. Look at it as an opportunity to grow and serve. Maybe this is the opportunity for growth you’ve been looking for.
There are things that we just can't do by ourselves. We need the support of our loved ones. While being independent is good for the most part, we should also learn to ask for help when we need it.
Doing this has many advantages. We get the much-needed support to get through tough times. We also develop deeper bonds with our loved ones and open up space for them to reach out to us when they need help, too.
Know that sometimes we will need professional help. We accepted a lot of difficult things in the first paragraph of this article. Accepting that you can't do this on your own and that you need a professional to help you through it is also important. If certain issues are not addressed immediately, they can build up. Get the help you need and when you need it.
Having supportive relationships to rely on builds resilience by keeping us grounded. We develop faith in ourselves that we can get back up when life knocks us down.
Invest in learning
We hear you. You are barely able to keep your head above water and learning is the last thing on your mind. But this, what you are doing right now, is also learning. When you invest time to learn about coping methods, you are learning. Develop the skill set you need to get through the tough times. Learn about investing and getting out of debt if you are going through a tough financial situation. Learn about leading a healthy life. You don’t necessarily have to go to school to learn. You can learn from a book or a YouTube video or even from an article, much like this one.
Look for the silver lining
No matter where you are, remember life has a plan. Remember that when you look back, you will be able to connect the dots and understand why you went through what you are going through right now. Look for all the good that is happening right now in your life. Focus on it. And you will invariably attract more of it.
Looking at the silver lining will build resilience by giving you the fuel to go on. When things seem extremely dark, this silver lining will help you in getting back up.
You can get through tough times only when you take care of yourself. If you are not okay, nothing will be. Put yourself and what you need first, especially when you are dealing with stress and anxiety. Get the sleep you need, drink plenty of fluids and keep your body and mind relaxed as much as possible. Being resilient means having the resources to get through the winter. Preparation and self-care are a big part of what will get you through the tough times.
Find a purpose
Viktor Frankl once said that we can get through anything if we know "why". If we believe in our purpose, we remain focused and draw strength from it. We put too much pressure on ourselves when we are defining our purpose. Our purpose can be as big or as small as we want it to be. If your purpose is to raise kinder kids and grandkids, so be it. It's as important as reducing the usage of plastics. Only you get to decide your purpose. Whatever it is, keep your focus on it. Having a purpose, just like a silver lining, keeps us going when the going gets tough.
We don’t mean literally. However, that’s not a bad idea either. But if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Make the most of every situation. Try not to speed up the time and run away from it. Understand where you are and mindfully develop strategies to get out of it.
When things go bad, when we truly need to be resilient, we tend to panic. When panic and anxiety take over, it's hard to see through anything and it hampers our decision-making power. In times like these, taking a deep breath and focusing on what best we can do in the situation is the best way through it. Stay calm and make lemonade.
That also means staying away from negative media as well as people who bring you down. Things are tough and there will always be something out there in the world that is not fair and that makes no sense. Bad things happen to good people is what most news outlets write about. Tune them out. Be very mindful of what you expose your mind to. Hearing negative things tends to pull us down. It saps our energy and dims our resilience.
This also means that you not only distance yourself from well-meaning but also let negative people in your life. If avoiding them is not possible, try to limit your exposure. Try preparing for the encounters and have something positive to counter their negativity.