Resilience is a complex skill to develop. It combines inner strengths and outer resources, and it’s not easy or natural.
A person’s ability to manage emotional pain and stress is a major determinant of resilience and mental health. It’s important to practice self-compassion and build a strong support network.
1. Practice self-compassion
One of life’s most important skills for building resilience is practicing self-compassion. This is because it can help us deal with moments of stress, frustration, and disappointment.
People who are compassionate toward themselves do not beat themselves up, which can lead to a heightened sense of self-worth. It also allows them to acknowledge their mistakes and take steps to correct those errors.
Self-compassion can also boost your motivation to improve in life, which in turn helps you achieve your goals. It can also encourage you to work towards your true self, which may help you find a career that better aligns with your values and beliefs.
There are a number of ways to practice self-compassion in daily life, including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking time to relax. It can also be useful to spend time with a friend or family member who is compassionate and supportive.
Another way to build self-compassion is by writing a letter to yourself. This simple exercise can help you develop the ability to respond compassionately to your emotions and challenges.
When you write your letter, try to focus on the experience as a whole and follow a specific sequence designed to move you away from self-criticism and towards compassion. Start by acknowledging the situation, focus on common humanity, and practice mindful awareness.
There are many resources available to help you cultivate self-compassion, including courses offered online by psychologists such as Steven Hickman. You can also find audio guides on the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion website that will teach you self-compassion basics.
2. Build a strong support network
A strong support network is essential if you are trying to make changes in your life or are chasing big goals. It can help you to cope better and improve your chances of success.
Building a good support network takes time and effort, but it is worth it for its benefits. Your network can include people in your family, friends, colleagues, and professionals, such as therapists or school pastoral leaders.
Your network should be diverse, with a variety of life perspectives. This helps you to see the situation from different points of view, ensuring that you don’t over-rely on one person for support and exhaust them quickly.
In addition to friends and family, meeting new people who can provide support is also important. This can be done through attending events, such as career fairs and community meetings.
It is important to be open about your support needs and offer help when you can. It can be uncomfortable to ask for help, but it is necessary if you want to improve your mental health.
If you find that some members of your support network are not providing the kind of support that you need, it is OK to end the relationship. It can be difficult to let go of relationships, but walking away from them when they are causing harm is essential for your mental health.
Developing a strong support network is important to living a healthy and happy life. It can help you to build resilience in the face of stress, anxiety, and depression. This can make you more resilient in the long term and reduce the chance of relapse in the future.
3. Practice positive coping skills
If you’re looking to build resilience in your life, it’s important to practice healthy coping skills. These strategies help you deal with stress in ways that strengthen your mental health and decrease your risk of developing anxiety or depression.
Coping skills include behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that you use to manage stress and re-focus on positive aspects of your life. You can practice these strategies on your own or with the help of a mental health professional.
The most effective coping strategies are adaptive, which are intended to reduce stress levels and increase feelings of well-being and control over your emotions. Maladaptive coping, on the other hand, often leaves you feeling worse and even harms your mental health.
Practicing coping strategies is essential to building resilience in your life, but you should also take the time to evaluate which strategies are working for you and which aren’t. This can help you improve your coping skills in the future and make sure that you’re using the most helpful strategies.
Try new coping strategies regularly to keep them fresh. It’s also important to learn how to use them effectively so that you can avoid using them in unhealthy ways.
One of the most common positive coping skills is expressing gratitude. Finding something to be grateful for, whether it’s a loved one or the sun shining on your face, can really help you feel more energized and less stressed.
If you find that you’re struggling to cope, reach out to a mental health professional for support. They can help you identify the best coping skills for your situation and provide resources to enhance those skills. You can also try to learn from the experiences of others who have faced similar challenges.
4. Find a sense of purpose
A sense of purpose is a big part of resilience, as it can help you overcome challenges. Ideally, your sense of purpose blends with what you enjoy doing and brings you joy. In Japan, this idea is known as ikigai, or “following your bliss.”
Research shows that a strong sense of purpose can improve your mental health and overall well-being. It can reduce chronic stress and inflammation in your body, helping you stay healthy and avoid developing serious health problems.
Researchers also find that people with a sense of purpose tend to be more engaged in their communities and family relationships, enjoying more satisfying interpersonal connections. Moreover, they may be more resilient in the event of a job change or other major life events.
In the process of finding a new sense of purpose, it can help to reflect on moments in your past that have made you feel fulfilled. This might look like thinking about a class you took years ago that still holds meaning for you or remembering a life event that has stayed with you over time.
Then, try to define the dos and don’ts of your purpose, pointing out what you want to do and what you would prefer to steer clear of. This is an exercise that takes some work, but it can be a great way to get clear on your values and goals.
Ultimately, finding a sense of purpose is a very personal thing. It is important to understand that your sense of purpose will differ for every aspect of your life. For example, your career purpose might be to find a job that promotes mental health and provides a steady source of income. Your relationship purpose might be to create positive and supportive relationships with your family, while your spiritual purpose might be to connect to something larger than yourself.
5. Embrace change
One of the most important things you can do to build resilience in your life is to embrace change. This can be difficult, but it’s something that you must do if you want to have the ability to overcome setbacks and thrive in your life.
Embracing change is important for so many reasons. Not only does it help you to deal with adversity better, but it also allows you to get closer to your goals and learn new skills along the way.
The best way to make embracing change a habit is to do it regularly and consistently. You can do this by setting SMART, achievable goals that are relevant to your life and embracing change as a normal part of reaching them.
As you do this, you will see that change isn’t so bad after all. Rather, it’s a learning opportunity that will make you stronger and more capable in the long run.
Another good way to embrace change is by looking back at your past experiences and learning from them. This will help you recognize your strengths and the coping strategies that worked for you.
You can even use these strategies when facing a difficult situation. If you notice that you’re struggling with a particular emotion, like fear, try giving it a name and exploring what’s behind it.
Doing this will allow you to identify your fears more clearly and work through them more deliberately. Then, you’ll be able to choose productive responses that will improve your situation for the better. This is a great strategy when dealing with change or any other type of adversity.