How to build resilience amidst life’s tough times

Additional ways to build your resilience. Infographic/Changeyourlife.
Additional ways to build your resilience. Infographic/Changeyourlife.

We live in challenging times, in faltering moments of life where anyone can easily lose focus, break down and cease being at their best.

At a time when the world seems to lurch from one crisis to another, lessons on how to build resilience when confronted by these uncertain days have never been as required before.

Whether you are battling a global, family, or personal crisis, be it deteriorating health, draining work environment, loss of a loved one, divorce, trauma, unemployment, and depression, resilience is an essential and strong pillar reliable in helping you spring back to shape after all the threatening wind has passed.

Resilience is “Your ability to withstand adversity and bounce back and grow despite life’s downturns,” says Dr. Amit Sood, Global Center for Resiliency and Well-Being Executive Director.

It is not a one-day event of being shattered today and turning ecstatic tomorrow, but a journey guided by no specific map.

When battling such emotional upheavals, suffering and scary moments of life, these tips can help you navigate through issues, build resilience and find yourself back, gather up some courage, work through the emotional pain and successfully shape back after heartbreaking seasons.

i. Adjust your goalposts and expectations: While the human mind is designed to live by the expectations of others, it should not bother you when things seem not to work in your favor.

When the seasons change, the focus turns on you; you must know how to pull yourself out of the adversity bedeviling you, not what others expect of you.

This becomes easier when you lower your expectations and adjust your mind to bag smaller achievements first, on your way to the culmination, and prepare for a slightly longer time to get to your destiny.

At such moments, amending your goals, doing away with some and having new others may play the magic and keep you on the move.

As in the immortal words of Joseph Campbell, an American writer, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

ii. Carve out some ‘alone time’: Spending time alone helps us reflect on our lives and see where to make amends, how to initiate them, and with what effects this may come in handy.

Normalize spending quality time with yourself and visualize your future.

It may be easy to break into tears and be gripped by overwhelming emotions when alone; a little crying would also help ease your feelings and calm you down.

During your time alone, forget about everyone else for some time. Focus on yourself and mind your life first.

iii. Bolster your self-esteem: Traumatic moments tend to smash us and make us feel like empty, lonely failures.

It is vital to remind yourself that these moments are inevitable and cheer yourself up.

Facing a draining challenge does not mean you are weak and fearful, but it means you have a chance to work through the challenge and emerge victorious.

Tell yourself that you can. Be your own fan and intrinsically motivate yourself, no matter what life offers.

Mention to yourself others who faced such emotional turmoil but held on firmly to their resilience until they made it through.

Examining your previous successes can also help you see beyond your current crisis.

It is not easy; a reason why you should keep on nurturing and replenishing your spring of self-esteem.

iv. Embrace emotional awareness and regulation: Emotions are an overflow of our feelings.

Sometimes, they run too deep to be expressed verbally, especially when battling family or personal crises.

Everyone has a different level of emotional control.

No matter how hard we try to stifle them, we cannot avoid them.

Therefore, it is paramount to smell the coffee early enough when our emotions start threatening to go overboard and effectively regulate them.

Meditation, observing a quiet time, reading a book as well as having social interactions with others when necessary can help us be ourselves amidst emotional turmoil.

v. Remain confident and optimistic: Though it sounds pedestrian to imagine gaining anything good from your traumatic events, embracing practical approaches on how to build resilience would help you see the positives hidden within your current difficulties.

Remaining optimistic would awaken your strengths and rekindle the hidden potential within you to face any setback and remain in shape.

Stay motivated. Focus on things within your control.

Take heart and have a clear vision that, with time, things shall click into place. It may not sound realistic now, but optimism overrides all doubts.

vi. Anticipate hardships and willingly adapt to change: There is no guidebook on how to completely avoid sorrow, distress, or adversity in life.

Having realistic anticipation of uncertain days will go a long way in helping you adapt to changes and quickly bounce back to normalcy after the storm.

The post-life may be better or slightly lower than the previous.

In any case, Elizabeth Edward puts it better: “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it is less good than the one you had before.”

Don’t stay in denial. Accept the reality of life, stop kidding yourself about things you find hard to control, and take action.

Surviving hard times deepens your empathy, strengthens your resolve and helps you grow as a human being.

vii. Be kind to yourself: A draining time is no chance to look down upon yourself.

Emotional awareness, a problem-solving approach and self-belief are some of the pillars of resilience. ILLUSTRATION/Bang Oland,

It’s not a period of reminding yourself of past failures.

Criticize not your coping skills. Be self-compassionate and gentle with yourself.

Eat healthy, exercise, take walks, enjoy the charming sunset, get into various escapades, enjoy social time and stay mentally afloat.

“Finding ways to focus on yourself and introducing some self-care will help strengthen your resilience,” advises Andrea Hussong, a Carolina-based psychologist.

When facing an emotional breakdown, remind yourself of the past successes, moments of ecstasy, and celebrations, take courage and soldier on.

All through, intentionally treat yourself well because you’re facing a challenging season and self-love is essential.

viii. Seek help regularly: In as much as the mind might push the narrative that nobody is concerned about you, seek help regularly.

Knowledge of how to build resilience can be practically earned and practiced by being close to those willing to offer a warm shoulder to lean on.

Accept what you’re facing and with an open mindset, share your adversities; open up to others for help.

A mentor would be the best choice, but if you don’t have one or yours isn’t the best fit for the season, anyone who is reliable and available to you would be of much assistance.

A psychotherapist, a counselor, or a spiritual leader may offer reliable help.

Intentional sharing brings a sense of hope and relief to the heart and a feeling of refreshment to the mind.

ix. Remain grateful: You may wonder why anyone can afford to tell you to be grateful when you are suffering.

Nevertheless, have you suffered since birth? Haven’t you had times of joy, fulfillment, achievements and positive energy?

Be grateful for them because “Once you begin to take note of the things you’re grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack,” posits Germany Kent, an American journalist.

Resilient people usually have a higher tolerating power over the emotional upheavals generated by life’s crises.

The more knowledgeable you are on how to build resilience, the more resilient you turn and the better you become at tolerating stressful feelings, anxiety and the pain of traumatic events in life.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Nine personalized remedies to put depression at bay

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Mr. Makau holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, Media & Communication from Moi University, Kenya. He is a Columnist and Editor with Scholar Media Africa, with a keen interest in Education, Health, Climate Change, and Literature. His contact:



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