7 Ways to Become a More Resilient Person

Resilience is the ability to manage and adapt to life’s challenges without inappropriately activating a chronic stress response.

Why are some people easily overwhelmed by seemingly modest problems while others can ride out crises by calmly and adeptly switching into crisis-management mode? Stress is often subjective. It’s not just the events in your life, but also how you perceive and react to them that can turn challenges into stressors. Sometimes, we perceive something as a threat when it’s really not. If we repeat these inaccurate thought patterns, the stress response can become chronic, eventually affecting our physical health.

determined woman

Resilient people have learned to perceive genuine stressors as a test of their tenacity and ability to adapt and persevere. This attitude can have a positive effect, making us stronger.
 What if you’re not quite there yet? How can you learn to develop resilience so that when adversity hits—which it inevitably will—you’re ready? Here are some tips from resilience experts to help you deal with negative stress more effectively:
1. Build a strong community and solid social support. Friends, family, and loved ones provide the foundation we need to make it through the tough times. if you don’t have a strong social-support network, going out and meeting friends or reconnecting will take some effort and maybe even professional coaching or therapy.2. Keep perspective and maintain a positive attitude. Looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty seems to have a significant impact on our ability to manage stress.

3. Believe in yourself (or fake it ’til you make it). Every time you survive a crisis, whether large or small, you build confidence in your ability to overcome difficult challenges. This in turn builds resilience.

4. Confront your fears. Avoiding problems altogether, planning to never experience unhappiness at work, for instance, is a poor strategy. When you confront your fears, you nurture resilience in yourself.

5. Change and trauma are a part of life. If you look at change that is beyond your control—for example, having to bid goodbye to adult children relocating for work—as inevitable, you can reach acceptance sooner and react from a place of wisdom and strength. There is, perhaps, no better embodiment of this truth than the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

6. Rely on spirituality. Meditation and spiritual practices have been shown to help people reduce their stress levels and recover more effectively. This could include yoga, nature walks, and meditation.

7. Exercise regularly. Researchers have found that those who exercise regularly tend to bounce back more effectively from stress. To get off to a successful start, I recommend setting an exercise routine that makes sense for your schedule.

Of course, exercise is a relatively easy way to build resilience. Other skills, such as meditation or spiritual practice, may take time to incorporate into your life. Still others, such as confronting your fears, may initially feel impossible.

There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for this journey—you need to seek your own path, experimenting, testing, keeping what works, and rejecting what doesn’t. Tune in to your individual needs and find ways to reduce the overall burden of stress in your life.


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