We are not immune to adversity.
Human beings, regardless of their background, face challenges in their lifetime. Hardship and heartbreak are, more often than not, inevitable. The silver lining? We can combat adversity through resilience. Resilient people tend to exhibit specific patterns in their lifestyle that set them apart from others, effectively keeping them afloat during increasingly challenging times. Keep reading for useful, practical tips to help you be more resilient.
For your daily dose of inspiration, you might call a friend or re-read lines from your favorite book. But, if you have not tried already, Ted Talks are also a powerful way to boost your inspiration while learning something fascinating. For resilience, I highly recommend watching Dr. Lucy Hone’s spectacular Ted Talk “3 Secrets of Resilient People” which reveals three strategies that everyone can work on implementing in their daily life to become more resilient in the face of adversity.
Dr. Hone, a researcher who specializes in resilience, reveals in her Ted Talk that there is still light within undeniably dark and tragic experiences. She outlines some information and research strategies that increase resilience during difficult times. I’ve highlighted a few ideas below.
Secret #1: Understanding that Hardship and Adversity are Part of Life
Hone explains that we first must understand that bad things happen. This is a part of human existence. We often cannot anticipate the tragic experiences that come our way. They tend to sneak up on us, taking us by surprise, leaving us feeling blindsided. We expect the neutral norm when in reality, life is a unique story, riddled with plot twists.
Understanding that life is filled with inconveniences, hard times, and even traumatic experiences, helps us process the bad things that happen to us and build resilience through the skills needed to conquer them.
Secret #2: Focus on the Positive and Learn to Accept the Negative
Hone’s second strategy is choosing where to direct attention. What happens in life falls into two categories: things we cannot change and things that we can. Resilient people focus on the changeable aspects of life and have learned to accept the things they cannot change.
You might be thinking easier said than done and that is absolutely valid. These tactics are not meant to be easy, they are, however, proven to be effective and are backed by scientific evidence.
Here are two simple ways to get started on helping shift a negative thought to a positive in your daily life:
- Focus on three positive things you can be grateful for. Hone shares a well-known experiment by Martin Seligman and colleagues (2005) which found that people who thought of three good things that happened to them each day showed higher levels of the positive emotions such as gratitude and happiness while also showing lower levels of depression, over the six months of participation in the study.
- Find a Mantra. Start by thinking of a few simple words or sentences you can repeat to yourself throughout the day to correct your mindset through directing attention toward the positive. It is as easy as a keeping a sign in your home, an inscribed bracelet on your wrist, or even a sticky note on your mirror. This is a great way to reintroduce a more helpful and positive perspective in your life.
Secret #3: Make Decisions Conscientiously.
Try to ask yourself the question: is what I am thinking, saying, or doing helping or hurting me? Thinking conscientiously adds a sense of awareness and control over the factors in your life. As Hone says: “it puts you back in the driver’s seat.” You have power over your own decisions. Each choice you make has specific effects on your mental health, especially when battling with depression, anxiety, loneliness, grief, and the many other challenges humans live with each and every day. Making purposeful decisions takes back the control in your life. Choosing a helpful path rather than harmful can alter your perspective, change your life, and lead to significant personal growth.
Reaching For Potential.
With time, patience, care, and kindness with ourselves and our loved ones we find our way to a new normal. Sometimes overcoming struggles from adverse life experiences can result in personal growth and improved mental health. This process is termed Post Traumatic Growth and can be defined as “the experience of positive psychological changes that result from individuals’ struggles with a highly stressful event(s)” (Hall et al., 2014, p. 16). The key is to adapt positively and consciously. From this, we know that you can, and will, get through the tough times with the right mindset!
Putting it Into Practice.
Although these simple tips can be implemented in everyday life to build resilience, they are not a catch-all solution. They will work for many, but often, there are extraordinary challenges that require the help of a professional. Therapy can help you create a new narrative, collecting meaning from hardships and promoting growth, self-understanding, and acceptance.
You can start to take these steps today to build your resilience. Share this article with your friends and family to spread awareness of the tools available to conquer life’s greatest challenges. If you are experiencing hardships and believe therapy is right for you, you are welcome to call (760) 930-0886 to set up a consultation with me, Rakefet Benderly PH.D, a psychologist in San Diego.