Fall down seven times. Stand up eight. (Japanese proverb.)
Resilience is one of the greatest survival skills. It helps you both psychologically and physically in the long-run. While it can’t make your problems go away, it can help you endure any sort of hardship – like traumatic events, loss, illness, disaster, the death of a loved one, or any other setback or challenge.
Resilience is about enlisting your inner strengths, and harnessing your healthy coping mechanisms so that you keep functioning without getting over-anxious, depressed, overwhelmed or apathetic.
Here are 8 tips to help you learn how to bounce back when some misfortune strikes, or when you are faced with a challenge:
Maintain your hopefulness. Even though the picture may look grim for now, think back to all the challenges that you have encountered and overcome in your life so far, to gain hope and optimism that a solution will be found and remember that any wound, no matter how big it seems right now, will heal in time.
Learn to be more stoical about life. Accept that unwanted events, sudden changes in circumstances are a part of life, and instead of clinging to your belief of how things “ought to be” learn to adapt, tolerate and even welcome your problems. Sometimes, problems are teachers and help us grow and become harder and wiser.
Take some distance from the event, misfortune or challenge and try to view it as happening to someone else. How would you help that person cope? What would you advise him/her to do? Follow your own advice. There are many angles from which you can view a situation. Taking some distance, becoming an observer rather than a participant may give you the strength but also the problem-solving resources to overcome your challenge. Resilience requires flexibility, not holding onto rigidly to only one point of view.
Reach out to your friends or other support groups. You don’t have to go it alone. A friend’s advice, help or even willing ear or shoulder to cry on may help you re-organize better your inner resources. Feeling connected helps empower people in times of hardship. Offering help to others does the same. Help others in need, you will get empowered as much as they!
Take appropriate action. You don’t have to know the whole solution, you don’t have to examine all the parameters before you take some action in a positive direction. Small steps can help you greatly to feel that you are gaining control of the situation. Play it by ear for a while, test what works and what doesn’t.
Remember to laugh. Every challenge, every misfortune has its comical side. Use humor to lighten up. Think of how comedians can describe a tragic situation in ways that make you laugh. It’s a great coping mechanism, a relaxing break from serious thinking, worrying or grieving.
Don’t neglect yourself. Take good care of your nutrition, sleep, and home environment. Create relaxation time, see friends, do things that please you, like relaxing hobbies, or going to the gym.
Maintain your vision and sense of purpose. Setbacks create havoc, sometimes, emotional upheaval and tend to require all of our attention. We tend to obsess about our problem as if it’s the only thing going on in our lives. It’s good to continue to keep in mind your long-term personal goals, visions, the things that make your life meaningful and focus back on all these areas that provided joy, hope and a sense of accomplishment before the upsetting event. It will help create a sense of balance in your life.
Finally, remember that “this too shall pass”. Repeating this often to yourself will have a soothing and healing effect and boost your resilience.