Resilience is our ability to withstand life's challenges and bounce back. It's a child with a disability not giving up when solving a puzzle. It's a nurse serving patients with a smile despite struggling with depression himself. It's a patient with advanced cancer choosing to find gratitude every single day. It's cleaning the house, paying the bills, doing the laundry, going to your job, and finding time to laugh with your family and friends even in the moments when you don't feel like it.
Resilience isn't a fixed trait that you have or don't have; it's something you grow and work on. And there are certain skills that help you do so, explains Everyday Health Advisory Board member Amit Sood, MD, the executive director of the Global Center for Resiliency and Well-Being and creator of Resilient Option.
Nine of those skills that make us resilient, and elaborates on how to develop each one.
Why It Boosts Resilience A surprise diagnosis, a stuck elevator, a flat tire, a lost wallet — life offers countless scenarios that throw our equilibrium off balance. These situations (particularly the disturbing ones) can shift our thinking patterns from rational ones to reactive ones.
How to Get Better at It To be more resilient, stop, recognize the disruption, and take a minute to think about how you want to respond. Opt for solutions that represent your values and protect your interests. A few deep breaths can help too, by stemming the adrenaline surge.
Why It Boosts Resilience Listening is an art that tests our patience, especially when the other person shares something we don't want to hear or when we'd rather be the one doing the talking. Patience is a marker of resilience.
How to Get Better at It Giving others our full attention when they're speaking, delaying judgment, and letting others complete their thoughts uninterrupted makes us better listeners — and therefore more resilient. Remember that listening to others helps them feel happier and worthy — your two ears are your most powerful organs of healing others.
Why It Boosts Resilience Hope is the expectation of a better tomorrow. The hopeful are happier, healthier, and even live longer. While it's certainly easier for most of us to feel optimistic on days when the world is good to us, it's just as important to stay positive on the darker days.
How to Get Better at It To get better at seeing the bright spots in tough times (and stay resilient), remember happy moments, the people who support you, your strengths, your purpose, and what you believe in. Hope is partly innate, but to a great extent, is a matter of choice.
Why It Boosts Resilience Gratitude is like pizza toppings. We don't need it, but its presence makes the experience a whole lot more enjoyable. An attitude of gratitude strengthens our relationships and overall well-being.
How to Get Better at It To get better at being grateful, you need to practice it in both the big and small moments — to savor your successes and find extraordinary within the ordinary. Be thankful for something simple, like a deep breath, a glass of water, a creative insight, a smile, a hug, or something that arrives on time.
Why It Boosts Resilience Most of us love control, but so much of life is out of our control. You have a choice: Either get rattled by uncertainty or embrace the reality of uncertainty. (Hint: The latter will boost resilience.)
How to Get Better at It Embracing the uncertainty means engaging creatively with the unknown. Do it by being open and accepting of what comes your way. You're saying yes to life ― to the good, but also to the unpleasant.
Why It Boosts Resilience We choose to be kind — and it takes considerable willpower to do so. Physical illness, fear, losses, insecurities, and most energy-depleting experiences decrease our capacity to act kindly toward others and ourselves. (Think of your temper when your back is aching or you're stressed at work.) Not treating one another with kindness, however, stands in the way of coping, healing, and problem-solving.
How to Get Better at It Commit to being kind to others and to yourself (even when it takes more effort). Remaining kind during difficult times might initially need a little extra effort, but eventually becomes effortless.
Sense of Purpose
Why It Boosts Resilience Recognizing our purpose helps us focus our energy, keeps us engaged, makes it easier to be hopeful, fills us with courage, and — you guessed it — bolsters resilience. Purpose can come from a pursuit to help other people or to abide by a set of values.
How to Get Better at It To identify what gives your life purpose and meaning, think about it. Write it down. It might be one big thing. It might be a whole lot of little things. You'll know you've landed on it if it makes you smile, fills you with courage, and prompts you to experience the day feeling inspired.
Why It Boosts Resilience No matter how wonderful your friends, loved ones, and colleagues are, you will have misunderstandings and they will disappoint you. You have a choice: Fester the resulting hurt or find healing. Forgiveness decreases the load of your hurts, which frees up your brain to focus on the things that make your life meaningful and bring you joy.
How to Get Better at It To be resilient, take back the power from the person who hurt you by letting go of the grudge, at least for today, and spend your energy toward actions that fulfill your life's purpose.
Why It Boosts Resilience Loneliness doesn't mean we don't have people around us or we don't have people to do things with. We can feel lonely in a party of a hundred people or feel deeply connected in the company of one or two good friends. Loneliness is a lack of true connection to others, and it's harmful to our minds and our bodies.
How to Get Better at It Build resilience by cultivating strong relationships with at least a few people. They will help you nurture hope and courage — and they can boost physical health and longevity, too.
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.
We do not offer, recommend or refer for abortions or abortifacients, but are committed to offering accurate information about abortion procedures and risks.