Having looked in my last post at the sort of situations that can require us to be more resilient I know want to look at some of the factors that can contribute to resilience. If you already possess them, that’s great. If you don’t, then it might be time to work on them. I know as someone who is currently looking for a new role as a Learning and Development Professional they are areas that I am very focused on.
Close Family and Community
Studies have shown that one of the primary factors in developing resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within the family, and outside of it as well. Solid role models you can rely on will help. So too will having a network of people you trust who will offer encouragement, constructive feedback and opinions without trying to smother you.
This kind of support gives you the self-confidence to bounce back when times get tough. It can also take you out of yourself as you care for others in return, being the strong one when circumstances present themselves and need to be dealt with calmly and practically.
Resilient people set goals for themselves, then take steps to achieve them. They follow through. They also tend to be good communicators who say what they mean and mean what they say.
They are practical, but also see the potential in situations and people. They don’t have tunnel vision, but rather, an image of what they wish their future to be like. That image drives them towards success and prevents setbacks from making them give up completely.
They accept that change is a part of living, and that even if one door closes, another will open. They aren’t afraid to make the most of opportunities that arise. Even if the make a wrong decision or “fail”, they learn from their mistakes and move on, usually stronger than before.
A resilient person knows the difference between things they can change and things they can’t, and applies their energy accordingly. They don’t stick their head in the sand, but face their problems head on. They don’t keep trying the same ineffective strategy over and over again hoping they will eventually get a different result.
Resilient people also tend to be emotionally aware. They are able to manage strong feelings and impulses without being overwhelmed by them. They often possess high emotional intelligence as well, understanding the thoughts, feelings and difficulties others are going through. They go out of their way to help people, confident in their own ability to give assistance to others in some way. They don’t just give a fish; they teach people how to fish so that they too can be resilient.
Resilient people have a positive outlook on life, not a negative one. They don’t see problems; they see challenges that can be overcome. They look forward to the future with confidence, secure in the knowledge that they have faced tough times before and will be able to do so again whenever they arise.
Studies show that those with a sense of humor also tend to be more resilient. They can find something amusing in even the toughest situations. The laughter removes stress and helps them soldier on.
Resilient people also practice good self-care. They don’t neglect themselves to the point where they are running on an empty fuel tank. They eat right, exercise, manage stress, and allow themselves some personal time and space.
They understand that if they don’t look after themselves first, they won’t be able to care for others. They want to be their best self and live their best life. They set themselves self-improvement tasks that they follow through with.
Able to Learn and Grow
Resilient people look for opportunities to learn and grow. They trust their instincts and visualize their actions as being a path to success. Many resilient people meditate, journal, keep a vision board, and tackle their to-do lists like pros.
They are good at time management and are dependable and responsible. This in turn means less stress and less difficulty because they are not causing themselves problems through, for example, procrastination and other bad habits.
In Control of One’s Life
Above all, a resilient person feels that they are in control of their life no matter what happens. They might not have a choice about what happens, but they do have a choice about how to react to it. They explore their choices in an effort to make smart decisions.
The modern world is full of stressful situations, both great and small. From being cut road on the road on our way to work, to the loss of a job or death of a loved one, events happen to us every day that we need to cope with. Freaking out will rarely help. Neither will burying your head in the sand and hoping it will go away.
Resilience is all about making an active decision and sticking to it. If someone cuts you off, you have two choices: get angry and perhaps make the situation worse, or decide it’s not worth getting upset about and not dwelling on it.
Similarly, the loss of a job can be devastating to some people, or a golden opportunity – depending on one’s perspective. If you were working long hours every day at the job and were never appreciated, being made redundant could be the best thing that ever happened to you. It can free you up for all new and even better opportunities. If you act like it’s a disaster and the end of the world, you will only be making a tough situation worse.
Similarly, we hate to see anyone we care about suffer, but you can either get upset, or get information about the situation and see what your options are. Your “Oh, no!” can become, “Yes, this is tough, but I am going to do my best to deal with this.”
In the next post in this short series I will take a look at how we can create a supportive network for ourselves and get the support we need.