by Julie Furlong
Regardless of our age, challenging experiences are ALWAYS upon us. Our ability to roll with the punches will determine how well we cope with these times in order to keep moving forward and functioning effectively. The one thing I often do when I am in this situation is to maintain a clear sense of what I am trying to achieve and remind myself that I am a fighter, not a victim! Thoughts like these are the ones that help me practice resilience… the inner mind strength within us all (Mental Strength) to help us bounce back, whilst continuing to develop along the way.
As we get older, more and more challenges come along in life. We lose a job, our relationships break down, someone close to us passes, friends move away. I have experienced all of these, and learnt that the more resilient I am, the more I grow, the stronger I become and the less overwhelmed I am about the situation. This does not mean that we experience less stress, loss or anxiety. It just means that dwelling on the problem solves nothing, and we have recognised that fact.
So, my advice is simple: instead of falling into despair or avoiding the situation… face the music, practice some resilience and become stronger in the process. Next time something goes wrong, don’t fall apart, think about the strategies and skills you can develop and put into play to pick yourself back up again (and again, and again).
Here are some of my personal strategies…
- Nurture your relationships with the people who will support you through tough times (Best Friends). Make sure you continue to build, communicate and engage with a strong network of positive people to help build your resilience. Ask for help if you need to. In fact, being able to reach out to others for support is a key component of being resilient.
- Work out what your next small step will be in order to overcome a problem, then do it. Don’t move too quickly and please remember to manage your emotions along the way!
- Keep your eyes on the prize. Focus on taking the time to make a realistic plan and STICK TO IT! Consider the long-term perspective and don’t blow the issue out of proportion.
- Learn from your mistakes. Resilient people will look (and sometimes you have to look hard!) for all the lessons that are able to be derived from an experience.
- Be flexible. Know from the start that you will have to change along the way. Change is about living, so adjust and be practical about it.
- Nurture a positive and optimistic view about yourself, your life and your ability. Positive self-talk (Self Talk) and an optimistic view will only lead to an upward path. Acknowledge that the situation is an opportunity to grow and teach you something… then good things will happen. At the end of the day, it’s about how you respond to the situation.
- Keep developing a thick skin and increase your confidence. There will always be people around who will criticise and put you down. Remember: their opinion is only theirs (not yours). Focus on the positives and strength within yourself and trust your own instincts. Get excited about all the good things you have done in your life. (Good Life Habits)
- Take care of yourself. Relax, exercise, laugh, socialise and keep an active, productive and open mind.
We live our lives full of situations that are impossible to avoid if we want to grow and have a fulfilled journey. Plenty of these challenges can remain unresolved problems if we are not prepared to adapt to change and face difficulties head-on. We are not born resilient – we need to put actions and thoughts in place in order to develop it. Once you put this practice into place, being resilient will help you adapt and effectively manage the situation. When you have resilience you connect with your inner strength that helps you rebound, giving you the ability to see past your problems and manage them to move forward.