We are living in the world where resilience becomes more and more of a vital skill. It has been argued, that some people were born with a stronger 'resilience power' than others, however research has shown that it can be learnt. So, what is resilience and how could we build it amidst continuous pressures and problems?
You most probably have examples of people who stay positive, engaged and surprisingly calm during many crises – personal and professional. And initial suggestion – is that either "they don't care" or "they have a thick skin". Both expressions above can sound quite negative, however the first one is mostly wrong, whereas the second is true. Resilient people care, however they manage their stresses accordingly and react to them in a constructive way.
Authors published on Fast Company (which I personally like a lot for thoughtful articles) offer the number of techniques to develop resilience:
1. Make connections and seek social support
People who bounce back tend to have a network of supportive people around them, says Michael Ungar, Ph.D., co-director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. For some people, that's a close-knit family, but for others it's a carefully cultivated group of friends, colleagues, mentors and others who actually care and are willing to help. Ungar says he's seen the tendency to seek out support sources in children as young as five years old: When the family unit isn't functioning in that way, children tend to reach out to coaches, teachers or other adults as a support network. Similarly, resilient adults seek out others who care about them who can offer emotional, professional or other assistance when times get tough.
2. Have Multiple Identities
If you get most of your self-worth from your job and you get fired, you've suddenly lost both your source of income and a big part of your identity, says Ungar. Resilient people often have a number of areas from which they get their sense of self-worth, says Ungar. They may have deep friendships or family connections, strong faith, or a leadership role in the community. They're better able to bounce back, because even if one goes away, they still have a sense of connection and being valued from those other areas, he says.
3. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems
You can't change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.
4. Accept that change is a part of living & accept failure
Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
5. Have sense of purpose and keep things in perspective
Paul LeBuffe, a lecturer on resilience at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (in Villanova, Pennsylvania), says resilient people have a sense of purpose that helps them analyze their situations and plot the next moves. This stems from a set of values that is unique to each individual. When you know what's important to you, whether it's family, faith, money, career, or something else, you can prioritize what needs your attention most immediately to help you get back to where you want to be. That goes for organizations, as well. When everyone knows the ultimate goal, they can make meaningful contributions. When they don't, they're mired in indecision.
Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.
6. Move toward your goals
Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, "What's one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?"
7. Take decisive actions
Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
8. Look for opportunities for self-discovery
People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.
9. Maintain a hopeful outlook
An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
10. Nurture a positive view of yourself and take care of yourself
Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in their life. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.
The key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal strategy for fostering resilience.
You can check your resilience levels – here