Building Resilience And Why It’s Important
Do challenges and setbacks make you feel anxious or helpless? Do others seem to bounce back from disappointment quicker than you? By building resilience, you will feel more equipped to tackle any problem and be more successful in dealing with future challenges.
Life is not all smooth sailing and success is not linear. We all experience obstacles, rejection and disappointment; it’s all part of the human experience. It’s how we choose to respond that determines the key to our success.
Whether it’s coping during a global pandemic, dealing with failure or working through stressful and difficult circumstances, building resilience is vital to overcoming these situations in the long term.
Building Resilience – Examples
Can you think of a time when you have dealt with a challenging or stressful situation?
If the answer is yes, then you have probably already developed some capacity for resilience. Here are just a few examples of resilience in action:
- Failing your driving test but preparing for the next test
- Adapting to changing deadlines at short notice
- Developing coping strategies and allowing time to heal after a traumatic experience
- Learning to ask for feedback when you didn’t land your dream job
Didn’t get that job you really wanted? An unattained goal or shattered dream may seem like the end of the world. But remember that failure can create life lessons which can ultimately lead to a renewed sense of achievement.
The key to this sense of achievement is building resilience. This essential skill provides you with the adaptability you need to take the next step forward and will help you through many of life’s challenges.
“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.” – Jodi Picoult
Resilience in Art
In Japanese Zen Philosophy, the concept of Wabi Sabi recognizes beauty in the imperfect or unfinished. In particular, the art of Kintsugi draws attention to imperfections in pottery by highlighting the cracks with gold. (Kintsugi literally means to join with gold). The intention is to embrace the historical flaws and highlight the strength of the renewed piece.
This example highlights the importance of building resilience and illustrates that failures can lead to greater things.
“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
Building resilience is not just bouncing back from setbacks but it is also the practice of perseverance. Be aware of life factors that may impact on your personal levels of resilience and seek to address them one at a time.
Ways of Building Resilience
Accept that change is inevitable and some factors are out of your control. Focus on what you have the power to change.
Change your perspective. You may not be able to change the situation but you can control your response to it.
Keep a realistic view. Keeping a realistic perspective will avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety and allow you to focus on what you need to do next. For ways to avoid stress, read our article on ways to live stress-free.
Connect with others. Reach out to those in your support network and ask for help. Offer to help in your local community, you may discover that others have experienced similar difficulties.
Trust yourself. Trust your instincts and know that you are doing your best. This will build your confidence and help you solve problems more effectively. A key factor in achieving this is by developing self-awareness.
Be kind to yourself. Keeping yourself emotionally and physically healthy is important and contributes to your ability to stay resilient. Acknowledge your feelings and make time to engage in activities that you enjoy, such as meditation, reading, exercising or extreme disco dancing! (It’s important to keep a healthy sense of humour too.)
Look for learning opportunities. Practice self-reflection and learn more about yourself. Recognize your growth despite setbacks and discover a new-found appreciation for the things that have gone well. Identify areas to build on that can develop coping mechanisms for the future.
Stay positive. Focus on what could potentially happen in a positive context rather than dwelling on negative thoughts. Challenging or reframing negative thoughts will help you clearly see what is possible. Remember there is more in you than you think. (Find inspiration in our article on limiting beliefs.)
Set realistic goals. By identifying clear and realistic goals, you can move forward. Building resilience helps you to stay focused and see that goals can be achieved.
Take action. Mulling things over too much does not drive you forward, even the smallest action can make a positive difference. So take that first step!
Identifying Your Resilience
Building resilience not only benefits your personal wellbeing, it can also increase your performance potential. Resilience ranks as one of the top skills that employers look for in prospective employees. The good news is that resilience is an adapted mode of thinking which can be developed over time and circumstances.
When faced with challenging situations, ask yourself these questions:
- Is it permanent?
- Is it personal?
- Do I have the power to change this?
- Does this impact on other aspects of my life?
- Who can support me?
The answer to these questions can help you to focus on the next step towards future success.
Keeping a reflective journal may help to capture your thoughts. These reflective questions and answers could also be useful for your next interview to exemplify your aptitude for resilience to prospective employers.
Kids Are Resilient Too – With Good Guidance
There is no age limit to dealing with adversity. Growing up can be stressful and children are constantly faced with new problems without the knowledge or experience to know how to deal with them. Their capacity to cope with these situations can affect their behaviour and wellbeing. There are many ways in which adults can guide them to build resilience and tackle these situations effectively:
- Develop supportive relationships. Children benefit from strong bonds and supportive social relationships which can develop their wellbeing and self-esteem.
- Remind them that it’s ok to ask for help. Whilst resilience can be perceived as being strong or brave, it’s important that children know that they can always ask for help.
- Be a role model. Show children how to deal with difficulties by modelling resilient behaviours.
- Create space for children to develop their wellbeing, for example, through mindfulness activities or exercise.
- Acknowledge and encourage their attempts to show strength or mastery in building resilience. This can boost their capacity to develop coping strategies of their own.
Just as plants can survive the harshest winters to bloom again in future seasons, adults and children alike have the capacity to show resilience and learn how to navigate a way through difficult times and beyond.
Building resilience is an on-going process that may take time. But with each challenge you will strengthen your existing skills and improve your wellbeing. Remember that every cloud has a silver lining!
How have you developed your own resilience through stressful times? Please share your ideas in the comments below.