Life will always throw you curveballs, but even though we can’t control the events that happen in our lives, we can control how we respond to them. How easy it is to ‘bounce back’ from these events depends on how resilient we are. Some people appear to be more resilient than others and you may feel dismayed that you seem to have got the short end of the stick! Sadly many of us have not been taught appropriate coping mechanisms for stressful times in our lives or we may not have been nurtured in a way that gave us bags of self-confidence or we could suffer from recurring bouts of depression. However the good news is it’s never too late to cultivate some resilience! Resilience is a life skill that we can teach ourselves and so here are some suggestions on how you can start to build some in your own life:
Focus on Strengths
Focus on your strengths and nurture them. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of what our strengths are, take some time to reflect on some things you are good at or situations you have handled well and identify your strengths. Focusing on your strengths will increase your self-confidence and help you to feel like you can overcome setbacks and that you have some control over your situation and life.
Keep your Perspective
Try to change your perspective when things go wrong. If something doesn’t go to plan try to view it as a challenge (that you can overcome with your strengths!) rather than an obstacle or catastrophe. Obviously sometimes things really are terrible, and it is okay to be upset about those, but sometimes we need to take a step back, a deep breath and think whether there is another path, or whether this will really be important in a years time.
Enjoy the Journey
Focus on the journey, not the destination. One problem in focusing on goals is that if we fall short, we can beat ourselves up and feel terrible about it, or we can spend our time ‘waiting’ for things to be perfect, instead of living our lives right now. If you focus instead on the journey towards your goal and celebrate the little victories along the way then you are feeding your brain with little bursts of happiness that will be a fabulous cushion to land on if you stumble and fall somewhere along the way. This will help you to feel happier generally and also help to keep you motivated to moving towards your goal, even when things go wrong.
Look for the Positives
Look for positivity in every day. Even on bad days there will be something that wasn’t terrible. Look for those things on bad days, find those silver linings and appreciate them. Our brains are hardwired to look for the negatives so sometimes we need a bit more of a push to find the positive things, write them down if it helps you to remember them.
Turn Down Negativity
Limit the negativity in your surroundings. Try to find positive people and pages to follow on social media to help inspire you, remove or ‘hide’ those people who only bring you down or make you angry. Try to spend time with people who bring out the best in you, rather than your worst. Build up a support network that you can rely on when the going gets tough (and be there for them too!).
Try to be fully present and mindful. It’s all too easy to get caught up dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It can help to try and work some mindfulness in to your routine to help quiet your brain. Meditating is something that can really help, even just 5 minutes a day can help you relax and re-train your brain. Or you could try a mindful walk in nature, really listening to the sounds and noticing your surroundings. Another idea is to really enjoy some food or drink (especially your favourite!), focusing on the flavours, smells and textures or another popular choice is colouring in! If all that sounds like too much effort, even just sitting and doing breathing exercises has been shown to be helpful.
Build your Worth
Build up your sense of worth outside your job title or main role. Many of us end up with our sense of self and worthyness tangled up with our job or role. It can be hard if you have a job that you hate, or that you think isn’t ‘good enough’ if that also makes you think that it is LIFE that you hate or that YOU are not ‘good enough’. Try to realise that you are not your job or role. You are MORE than a checkout worker, MORE than ‘just a Mum’ etc. Find something that you enjoy or are passionate about and make time for it on the side. You could try volunteering somewhere and helping or inspiring others, or blog about your passion. Doing something like this could mean you might make new friends, help other people (which will make you feel fuzzy, happy feelings) and mean that you can find self-fulfilment outside your main job or role if that isn’t giving you the satisfaction that you need. Also when you meet new people, instead of asking them what their job is, you could ask them ‘how do you spend your time?’ or ‘what are your passions?’ – I think if we all begin to change how we instantly judge everyone we meet based on their job title we will all be happier!
You don’t need to try and do all these things at once straight away. There may be some of these things which you are already doing, and some others which you feel are not for you, but hopefully if you try to implement some of these things you will begin to notice a positive change in yourself. A change in how you view yourself and your place in the world and that as these views change for the better, your ability to cope with setbacks will also improve. Remember awesome resilience abilities are not just for magical, happy unicorn people, they are for YOU too. ❤