Resilience as a learned concept

resilienceThere are a lot of people in this world who, for whatever reason, have depleted levels of resilience. You may not have been filled with a bucket of load and enthusiasm as a kid. Or you may have been, only to have life slowly tip the contents on the floor.

It sucks to lose resilience for any reason because it’s like the padding against the blows of life.

However, you can turn things around if you want to.

I am far from an expert on this subject, but I do understand the principle of learned resilience because I (try to) practise it with myself.

Resilience comes from fostering a level of protection or growth that helps you deal with the body blows and bounce back. It comes from disrupting your own thoughts and injecting realism into perception.

It’s about looking at a situation not from what is being done to you, but from the position of mitigating circumstances and seeing the whole picture on less a personal and more an open minded level. It’s about practising those things that give you something else to carry you through when one of the strands of your existence collapses.

You can practise resilience by:

Understanding you can’t change everything.

Sometimes. you have to accept rather than change things in life. You don’t always have the ability to control what happens. In these instances, a little learned ambivalence can work wonders when something or someone wants to get under your skin.

Not externalising your fate to the point where it’s controlled by outside forces.

Giving your life over to the universe as a passive player or seeking external forces to blame for your misfortune can aid in your own victimisation. Instead of looking for something to provide you with the answers or to be something you can blame, focus on honing your abilities and efforts towards positive outcomes.

Applying creative problem solving.

Seeking the smart ways out of situations and looking for new ways to improve our lot helps us cope when things don’t go our way. Taking action and having a plan helps us feel less powerless when we need it the most.

Eliminating the “what if”.

It’s far more enjoyable to try your guts out and skin your knees to pieces than to not try for fear of failure. You can learn from failure and gain joy from trying. But playing possum gets you nothing but a big fat zero.

Being realistic with optimism.

Sticking pictures of a Ferrari on your fridge will not get you a muscle car. There are indeed no free lunches served at the carousel. Only hard work. But that’s great because it means you have a certain amount of power over what you will be served.

Having a healthy respect for your emotions.

Dwelling on stuff is something we all know is not good for us. But it’s not good for us to gloss over what we feel or pretend that life is one big happy parade, either. We have a range of emotions for a reason. Anger, sadness, envy, fear, annoyance- they exist to be expressed in a healthy manner. Bottling them up, repressing them or over-indulging them doesn’t do you any favours. Don’t resent them, but use them as fuel to drive you to improve and take action.

Avoiding stress through skilful conflict resolution.

One of the worst gut hurts we have as human beings is when we’re fighting with someone. It’s important to recognise conflicts can and do occur. Taking the reaction out of the equation and working through situations effectively can do a lot to reduce your stress while building resilience at the same time. You’re not responsible for how people react to you, but you can train yourself to grow into a better responder.

Mindfulness and peacefulness.

Working all the time, always being available for phone calls, not taking breaks, constant social media and email notifications- all of this eats away at your resilience. In fact, it even eats away at your ability to hold a steady thought. You need peace and time to recharge in order to stay healthy physically and mentally. Look for the quiet moments to recharge.

Resilience as a lifestyle

Like anything in life, no one gets this perfect 100% of the time. However, it can make a huge improvement to learn resilience and apply it to the everyday and tough situations in life.

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Photo By: Danka & Peter

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