It’s a New Year and on a psychological level, it’s a clean slate with new beginnings. It’s time when hope is highest and we feel we have the ability to make a difference. Hopefully, the last year has taught you something valuable and you will be able to go forth into a New Year with more wisdom. It’s important to start as you wish to continue and this means avoiding extremes – slow and consistent is the key.
It’s unrealistic to believe that life will always be easy but there are ways for you to cope with adversity without it flooring you completely.
Six Ways To Be More Resilient
1) Be Self Aware
Know your strengths and weaknesses and do your best to maximise your strengths. Remind yourself regularly of all the things you like about yourself and always (always!) talk kindly to yourself as you would a best friend. Love starts with you. Resilient attitudes follow. People never give themselves enough credit for all that they have achieved and managed to survive. Pat yourself on the back for making it that far.
2) Remember Past Victories
Remind yourself of how far you have come and of past victories in life. There will be times when you have been down in the dumps and you managed to pull through. Remember this inner strength and know that it is still there even though it might feel as if it is hiding. You are often stronger than you think and many of us tend to focus on what isn’t good and forget about the skills we have learned along the way. Life skills that will help us in the future. Believe that you can cope with whatever comes your way and keep perspective by asking yourself what is the worst that could happen.
Enter the New Year believing that you have all the tools and psychological skills to find a way through. Focus on what is good in your life rather than defaulting to the negative.
Our brains are wired to look for threat and forcing yourself to think in a different way (what is going well – gratitude for the little things) will immediately give you a mood boost.
Always remember that in the moment, events can seem overwhelming. The truth is that the intensity dies down. Ask yourself how you might feel about the current distress next week, next month, or next year. Hang in there – it will get better, or at least..less intense. One thing that is sure is that life never stays the same. Like the tides of the sea, washing in and out and the moon – waxing and waning, so it is with life and our moods.
Keep hope alive and sit tight when you feel overwhelmed. Try not to catastrophise and make sure you know the difference between real and imagined problems. Your mind is constantly working over time to keep you safe but at times you aren’t even in real danger.
Take deep breaths, get back into your surroundings and remind yourself that you are safe. Your fears in your mind may never come true.
4) Watch Your Thinking
Don’t buy into, or believe all of your thoughts. Many fearful thoughtsare triggered from past events and your own insecurities. They are laden with negative emotions. Often they are fear-based and unreasonable. When you feel upset, remember that you are not thinking rationally. Bide your time, distract yourself and let time pass before making any decisions where possible. Nurture optimism. The best thing you can do is: Stop And Think.
When you take a pause, you give your rational brain time to engage and help you out of your immediate stress response where you aren’t thinking clearly.
5) Build a Support Network
It always helps to have someone to talk to. Someone who has your best interests at heart and who will support you through tough times and offer objective advice. In fact, social support is one of the strongest antidotes for stress and anxiety. It’s very true that a problem shared is a problem halved. When we sit alone with our thoughts we can’t always see a way out. The objectivity of someone else can help you see a way forward. it’s a sign of strength and resilience to be able to open up to others. We all need social support at times in our lives and the wise ones seek it out. You don’t have to go through life alone.
6) Develop Problem Solving Skills
Research suggests that people who are able to think up solutions to a problem are better able to cope with problems than those who cannot. Individuals who are less resilient tend to have a negative problem orientation. This means that they don’t believe they are adept at solving their problems. This belief leads them to feel even less resilient and more powerless.
Whenever you encounter a new challenge, make a quick list of some of the potential ways you could solve the problem. Experiment with different strategies and focus on developing a logical way to work through common problems. Creating an action plan is one of the best ways to feel empowered and gain resilience.
Resilience may take time to build, so do not become discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events. According to Dr. Russ Newman, “research has shown that resilience is not an extraordinary thing but is rather ordinary and can be learned by most anyone”.
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