How to Improve Your Resilience

Have you ever met someone who always seems to overcome or bounce back from life’s challenges? Someone who is authentically optimistic about the future, even when setbacks and failures occur? In light of COVID-19, I recently attended a training that focused on trauma and resilience and one of many takeaways was surrounding resilience. While there are building blocks that set the stage for someone to be resilient – confidence, purposefulness, adaptability and social support – there are ways we can improve our resilience.

Build relationships. The goal is to create a support system for yourself among family, friends, faith-based organizations, civic groups. Doing life is easier with social support.

Look beyond the present crisis. My father would always say, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” It may feel overwhelming – like it will never end, but it will. You can’t change the negative and stressful events that occur, but you can change your reaction to these events. Try to think ahead – beyond the present.

Embrace (or at least accept) change. The only constant in life is change. At some point, an area of your life isn’t going to go as planned. Face that reality. When change comes and you aren’t in control, focus on areas of your life you can control.

Set goals and work toward them. You don’t have to move mountains, but set realistic goals for yourself and get in the habit of doing something that gets you closer to achieving those goals.

Search for the silver lining. When we face challenges, we often learn something. It isn’t always easy to shift your focus to opportunities for personal growth, but try to do just that – how will this make you stronger?

Avoid what-ifs. It’s tempting to take a crisis or challenge and blow it out of proportion. Try to keep it in perspective and not let your mind wander to what could be, instead focus on what is and nothing more. Better yet, spend time envisioning what you hope for, rather than what you fear.

Make your wellbeing a priority. What are your needs? Are they being met? Make sure you routinely make time for exercise and other activities that you enjoy. Taking care of your physical and mental health ensures you’re in the best place to deal with whatever challenges are on the horizon.

As you consider these action items – are there some that feel more natural than others? Make a note of those things that feel like more of a challenge and set a goal to start working toward personal growth in those areas. Better yet – save this post for the next time you’re facing a professional or personal crisis that feels overwhelming.