RESILIENCE
master the ability to bounce back

Those who master resilience tend to be skilled in preparing for emotional emergencies and adept at accepting what comes at them with flexibility rather than rigidity. Although times are tough they know things will get better: they bend rather than break. Or, even if they feel like they’re broken for a time, there’s still a part of them deep inside that knows they won’t be broken forever. Here’s how they do it.

Above: Being resilient doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means one is adept at accepting what comes at their way with flexibility.

They know their boundaries. Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary suffering. The stress and/or trauma might play a part in their story, but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

They have a set of self-care activities. They have a mental list, or perhaps even a physical list, of positive activities that support them when they need it most. We can all become self-care spotters in our life by recognizing those things that recharge our batteries and ways to nourish your body, mind, and soul. Take the time to do things you enjoy: read, meet a friend for lunch, book a massage appointment. These activities bring short, welcome moments of peace, calm, and contentment during a stressful time.

They keep good company. Resilient people tend to seek out and surround themselves with other resilient people, both for fun and when there’s a need for support. Supportive people give us the space to grieve and work through our emotions. They know how to listen and when to offer just enough encouragement without trying to solve all of our problems with their advice. Good supporters know how to just be with adversity, calming us rather than frustrating us.

They have a purpose. Everyone has a reason for being, their “why.” Take the time to determine your purpose, then use your purpose as a reason to motivate yourself to get up and going every day. Identify what interests you: supporting an arts organization, learning Spanish, working with children, etc. and find time to incorporate these interests in your weekly schedule.

They cultivate self-awareness. Being “blissfully unaware” can get us through a bad day, but it’s not a successful long-term strategy. Self-awareness helps us get in touch with our psychological needs: knowing what we need, what we don’t need, and when it’s time to reach out for some extra help. The self-aware are good at listening to the subtle cues their body and their mood are sending.

They have a positive attitude. Simply said, be grateful for what you have. Having a positive attitude can be extremely difficult when times are tough, but resilient people see the glass as half-full.

They practice acceptance. Resilient people understand that stress and pain are a part of living that comes and goes. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with the truth of the pain than to ignore it, repress it, or deny it. Acceptance is not about giving up and letting the stress take over, it’s about leaning in to experience the full range of emotions and trusting that we will bounce back.

They don’t have to have all the answers. The psyche has its own built-in protective mechanisms that help us regulate stress. We can find strength in knowing that it’s okay to not have it all figured out right now and trusting that we will gradually find peace and knowing when our mind-body-soul is ready.

They consider the possibilities. We can train ourselves to let go of the things beyond our control and focus our time and energy on what is within our control. Ask yourself which parts of the current story are permanent and which can possibly change. For example, you can’t control the global pandemic. Rather than feeling hopeless, focus your energy by following safety standards, self-care and staying active.