Learning To Be Resilient

At some point of time, something bad is bound to happen to us. And the year 2020 is a whole package of a variety of adversities and mishaps. Every adversity affects every individual differently, and the emotions felt and the flood of thoughts is unique and subjective. Even if we cannot change the mishaps, we can surely change our negative attitude towards it, perhaps more importantly, how we bounce back or in other words being "resilient".

So, what exactly is resilience?

The American Psychological Association (APA) has defined resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress- such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors.” In a nutshell, it can be said that it is the ability or tendency of an individual to recover and bounce back from the adversity and the pain associated with it and not dwell upon it.

We should focus on the things that we can control, and try to get through things that we cannot control. Being resilient not only helps you to get through problematic circumstances, but also involves profound personal growth. Being resilient doesn’t imply that an individual won’t experience any sort of difficulty or distress, rather an immense amount of emotional pain is felt by individuals facing major adversity or trauma. In reality, the path to resilience involves and requires considerable emotional distress, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Resilience is not an inborn personality trait, on the contrary, it involves behaviour, actions and thoughts which can be learnt and developed by anyone. Metaphorically it is like building a muscle, it takes time and intentionality.

Let’s look into a few ways of building your resilience:

· Be kind to yourself: The process of healing is not the same for everyone. Whilst you are finding the time and way to heal and bounce back, be kind and cherish yourself.

A few people will be more resilient than others, but it doesn’t make anyone a smaller person. We should avoid comparing our healing process with others.

· Don’t isolate yourself: Surround yourself with people who make you feel good and safe. Connect with people who are empathetic, understanding and who remind you that you are not alone in the midst of hitches.

The agony caused due to the trauma can lead to isolating and drifting away from people, but it is important to accept the help and support from those who care about you.

· Practice self-care: It might be a widespread catchphrase, but is an authentic practice for mental health and resilience building. Stress is just as much as physical as it is emotional, so experiment with various activities which you feel will make you feel the best physically and mentally. So definitely kick it up a notch during a rough patch.

· Practice mindfulness/meditation: Yoga, mindful journaling, prayers, meditation etc; help individuals to restore hope aiding them to deal with stressful situation requiring resilience. It helps an individual to focus on giving the resources to your body to manage stress, rather than seek means of eliminating the feeling of stress.

· Believe in your abilities: If you believe and trust your abilities to meet the demands of the challenge, you will perform better in a stressful situation and help in building resilience. Remind yourself of the instances wherein you had been resilient before and then push yourself to do the same again.

· Move towards your goal: Set a realistic goal for yourself and do something regularly to achieve it even if it is a baby step, enabling you to move forward towards something that you want to achieve. View your goal as an active choice and focus on keeping your motivation high and less on what you have been missing out.

· Accept the change: Accepting the things that cannot be changed and controlled will help you to focus on the things that you can control and alter. Being adaptable and flexible is significant part of resilience. Being introspective and flexible in reckoning what’s next.

· Seek help: At times, individuals might get stuck or have difficulties in building resilience. A licensed professional will be able to assist you in developing appropriate coping strategies to move forward. It is important to seek professional aid if you feel that you are unable to function properly as a consequence of the adversity.

Jodi Picoult has rightly said that “the human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”

The idea is to not let the adverse event determine the outcome of your life. Hope this helps. Thank you for reading.



Bhargavi Mangudkar

Sports Psychologist

Member of Emotional Well-Being

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