Health tips: Resilience: learn to overcome difficulties

Resilience means being able to adapt to life's misfortunes and difficulties. Test your resilience level and get tips for building your own resilience.

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Man pulling curtain of darkness to reveal a new better world. Conceptual change, two worlds, hell and paradise.
Man pulling curtain of darkness to reveal a new better world. Conceptual change, two worlds, hell and paradise.

Resilience means being able to adapt to life’s misfortunes and difficulties. Test your resilience level and get tips for building your own resilience.

When something goes wrong, do you tend to bounce back or break down?

When you are resilient, you tap into inner strength that helps you recover from a setback or hardship, such as the loss of a locksmith job, illness, catastrophe, or the death of a loved one. But when you are not resilient, you are likely to focus on problems, feel like a victim, become overwhelmed, or resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse.

Resilience will not make your problems go away, but it can give you the ability to see past them, enjoy life, and better handle stress. If your resilience is not at the level you would like, you can learn to be more resilient.

Adapt to adversity

Resilience is the ability to adapt to difficulties. When stress, adversity, or trauma strike, you can continue to function physically and psychologically, despite still experiencing anger, suffering, and pain. However, resilience does not mean enduring, being stoic, or going through the situation alone, but being able to seek support from other people, which is the fundamental component of resilience.

Resilience and mental health

Resilience can protect you against various mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, as well as help you compensate for factors that increase your risk for them, such as bullying or past trauma. If you have a mental illness, resilience can help you cope better.

Tips to increase resilience

If you would like to be more resilient, consider the following tips:

Connect.

Creating strong, positive bonds with your loved ones and family can give you the support and acceptance you need, both in good times and in bad. Build other important relationships by volunteering or participating in a religious or spiritual community.

Make every day meaningful.

Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals that help you see that the future makes sense.

Learn from experience.

Think about how you handled difficult situations in the past and think about the tactics that helped you get through difficult times. You may even want to keep a journal of your past experiences to help you identify positive and negative patterns of behavior to guide you in how to behave in the future.

Do not lose hope.

You cannot change the past, but you can always look to the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adjust to difficulties and view them with less anxiety.

Take care of yourself.

Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Get involved in activities and hobbies that you enjoy. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing, or prayer.

Be proactive.

Do not ignore your problems, but try to determine what to do, plan and take action. Even if it takes time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event, or loss, keep in mind that things can improve if you try.

When to seek professional advice

Building resilience takes time and practice. If you think you are not making progress, or don’t know where to start, consider talking to a mental health provider. With counseling, you can improve your resilience and mental well-being.

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