Resilience is an important skill in life. It is unfortunate that not everyone develops or can use it to their advantage for more happiness in life.
In the simplest terms, it’s one’s ability to bounce back (stay poised and level-headed) during adversity.
Resilience is your ability to overcome and win over any unavoidable challenges, setbacks, and problems that you encounter in your life. When you’re resilient, you’re able to come back bolder, fiercer and stronger.
But take note, resilience isn’t only about overcoming enormous challenges, or even small ones. It is about drawing on our reserves of resilience on a daily basis as the situation calls for it.
What makes resilience? To develop the skill, you need certain things. The crucial skills necessary are as follows:
- BECOME AWARE: You need to know and observe what’s going on inside your head, as well as around you. It is about noticing what’s going on, not neglecting the surroundings or the situations in which things happen.
- REACH OUT: It is how you seek and call upon other people to help you in meeting and facing the challenges. It is because resilience is also about when you really need to ask for help. You don’t always use this ‘ingredient’ to become resilient. There are certain situations that you need to face and problems that you need to solve on your own.
- BE FIT: It isn’t easy to be resilient, because not all are physically or mentally fit. You need to be fit in order to cope with the struggles so that you won’t fall ill as a result of dealing with them.
- THINK RATIONALLY: You must be able to interpret an event or situation in a rational way, not in a subjective manner. You must use your head to think objectively, to look into logic and reasoning, and not be overwhelmed by the emotions that might block you from seeing things clearly.
- Also, acknowledge and accept that CERTAIN THOUGHTS CAN LEAD TO EMOTIONS.
- I’ve hurt my loved one – shame, anxiety.
- I’ve lost my passport – sadness, worry.
- I feel threatened – fear, anxiety.
By recognising how those thoughts lead to emotions, you will be able to recognise any subconscious thought patterns that you have. With it, you can address a particular problem better.
To develop resilience, however, you need to avoid falling into a thinking trap; an assumption made about the situation or yourself. It is made without basis or evidence and is commonly unhelpful. A few examples include:
- I just cannot do the long jump.
- I’ve never tried it before so that it could be hard.
Be mindful when you’re falling into a thinking trap because it can prevent you from moving ahead and acting effectively. A thinking trap can stop you from developing resilience.
EFFECTIVE WAYS OF IMPROVING RESILIENCE
Now that you understand the key elements of resilience let’s discuss ways to develop it. A few useful techniques include:
LEARN HOW TO COLLECT INFORMATION
Engage your brain’s logical side to analyse a particular situation. To do this, you should collect more information so that you can later make a decision. One of the best ways to gather information is to think about any possible explanations for a specific situation. Based on your belief system and experience, your brain will offer you what it thinks is an obvious explanation.
By coming up with alternative explanations and checking those alternatives against reality, you will be more likely to react to the situation appropriately.
RECOGNISE ALTERNATIVE SCENARIOS
Humans always think of the worst (catastrophising). This is quite normal, but you don’t have to worry, because you can deal with it by coming up with alternative scenarios. You don’t need to stop your imagination. Instead, you should set it free.
What might have happened? What did I possibly do wrong?
Then, think about the alternatives. What are the best possible outcomes?
You can think about the most likely outcomes then, instead of panicking, you should create a plan on how to respond to the situation.
By learning how to collect more information and thinking about alternative scenarios, you can learn how to be resilient.
This process helps you to become aware of what’s going on inside your head and in your surroundings.
Then, this information will help you apply objective and rational thinking to a specific situation, eventually allowing you to get out of the thinking trap that you might have fallen into earlier.
In the process, you will also be able to understand and rationalise how you can react to a challenge or situation.