To be resilient is to “bounce back” from a significant risk, adversity, or stressor, and return to your relatively normal functioning life. When faced with adversity, safe coping methods are applied, and positive outcomes soon follow.
Research shows that there is no timeline and no set period for finding strength, resilient behaviours, and coping skills. These skills can be developed at any point in life, as there is always room for improvement when reacting and responding to a negative situation. Having faith for the future and the ability to perceive bad times as only temporary is an essential strength for enhancing resiliency.
An important contributing factor to becoming more resilient is having at least one supportive person in your life. This can be a family member, a friend, a teacher, or a guidance counselor to help talk you through the difficult time. One of the standout findings of resiliency research is that people who cope well with adversity, even if they don’t have a strong family support system, are able to recruit others to help them. This goes to show that people are “better together” when striving to overcome a negative situation. It is far better to share your troubles with someone, rather than battling it out on your own.
Setting goals and planning for the future are also strong factors in dealing with adversity. These actions may minimize the aftereffects of a negative occurrence by motivating you to bounce back quicker and come up with a useful plan for overcoming stress. In addition, actively planning and goal setting may minimize the likelihood of adversity itself.
This next point is probably the most important key to achieving resiliency: believing in oneself and recognizing one’s strengths. Psychologist Ernestine Brown (PhD) of the University of Alabama says,
“You pick yourself up, and give yourself value. If you can’t change a bad situation, you can at least nurture yourself. Make yourself a place for intelligence and competence, surround yourself with things that help you stabilize, and remember what you’re trying to do”.
I think many people need to be regularly reminded of this in order to heal, grow, and rise up stronger after experiencing any trauma or adversity. Teaching people such self-recognition should be a priority in our society that aims to help adults build a newly resilient approach to life. If this understanding is incorporated into schools, workplaces, and communities, consider how much better our mindsets, mental health, and life-perspectives would be.
If you’d like more information and practical tips on building resiliency, please read my article on Building Resilience.