Resilience can be learned and makes you stronger.
For decades, stress was viewed as bad and damaging. Then we began to see the power of resilience. Whether you are coping with adversity, bouncing back from setbacks, or feeling the overwhelming weight of today’s uncertain world, these experiences do make you stronger. When you rise to a challenge, you reveal your hidden abilities, strengthen your capacity to suffer through setbacks and build character.
Adversity and resilience also make you more sensitive and empathetic and open to other people’s challenges. Your difficulties have a way of changing your priorities and perspectives about the present, giving you a kind of wake-up call that tells you to stop and smell the roses.
Fortunately, there are six simple steps you can follow to ease anxiety, increase emotional stamina, and build resilience.
Six Steps to Boosting Emotional Stamina
1. Anticipate – Survey your world to pinpoint where the biggest changes are coming from. Are they economic? Personal? In work relationships? Sketch out best and worst-case scenarios for possible dramatic change. Devise responses for each, plus backup plans. Chances are you’ve been there before in one way or another. Stay confident and courageous and keep your perspective.
2. Monitor Yourself – It’s easy to get wrapped up in external events, especially when there is a crisis. This is precisely the time when you must be aware of your emotions. Are you panicked? Passive? Overconfident? Confused? Your emotions can hijack you. Your emotions affect not only you but everyone around you. Being aware of them can help prevent you from being hijacked.
3. Enlist a Strong Support Network – You can’t withstand change and build resilience by yourself. Not only are you going to need help in terms of getting things done, but your support network will be essential in giving you realistic feedback on how you’re doing and where adjustments need to be made.
4. Sink Deep Roots – Continually nourish and develop your emotional values. Decide what is fundamental to your belief system and sink these beliefs so deep that nothing can upend them. Weave them through your work and your home. There is frequently no single core emotional value but a complementary collection, such as loyalty, honesty, courage, confidence, and fairness. Embrace and enhance whatever is important to you. Ask yourself: Am I aligned with my values and who I aspire to be? This will ground you in trying times.
5. Resilience Can Be Learned – The brain learns to adapt by repeated exposure to hard times or crises if you can get through them. Studies have shown that resilience can be learned, and, like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Even if it seems hard, give it a try.
6. Practice – How do you practice handling anxiety and withstanding unpredictable forces when all is calm? Seek out unfamiliar situations and new ventures. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Be a beginner at something you want to learn.
Falling Down and Getting Up
We learn about resilience from repeated exposure to life’s trials. The more we fall down and get up, the better we are able to navigate through uncertainty. By practicing the Six Steps to Resilience, we can learn to weather the storm and bend with the wind and be ready for the sunshine when the storm passes.