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10 Ways to Become More Resilient

10 Ways to Become More Resilient

Build Your Resilience and Coping Skills With These Tips

Resilience can often mean the difference between handling pressure and losing your cool. Resilient people tend to maintain a more positive outlook and cope with stress more effectively. Research has shown that while some people seem to come by resilience naturally, these behaviors can also be learned. The following are just a few of the techniques you should focus on in order to foster your own resilience.

1  Find a Sense of Purpose in Your Life

After her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Candace Lightner founded Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Upset by the driver’s light sentence, Lightner decided to focus her energy into creating awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. “I promised myself on the day of Cari’s death that I would fight to make this needless homicide count for something positive in the years ahead,” she later explained. In the face of crisis or tragedy, finding a sense of purpose can play an important role in recovery. This might involve becoming involved in your community, cultivating your spirituality, or participating in activities that are meaningful to you.

2  Build Positive Beliefs in Your Abilities

Research has demonstrated that self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments. Becoming more confident in your own ability to respond and deal with crisis is a great way to build resilience for the future.

3  Develop a Strong Social Network

Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of crisis. It is important to have people you can confide in. While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one will not make troubles go away, it allows you to share your feelings, gain support, receive positive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to your problems.

4  Embrace Change

Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Resilient people often utilize these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. While some people may be crushed by abrupt changes, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.

5  Be Optimistic

Staying optimistic during dark periods can be difficult, but maintaining a hopeful outlook is an important part of resiliency. Positive thinking does not mean ignoring the problem in order to focus on positive outcomes. It means understanding that setbacks are transient and that you have the skills and abilities to combat the challenges you face. What you are dealing with may be difficult, but it is important to remain hopeful and positive about a brighter future.

6  Nurture Yourself

When you’re stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation. Focus on building your self-nurturance skills, even when you are troubled. Make time for activities that you enjoy. By taking care of your own needs, you can boost your overall health and resilience and be fully ready to face life’s challenges.

7  Develop Your Problem-Solving Skills

Research suggests that people who are able come up with solutions to a problem are better able to cope with problems than those who cannot. Whenever you encounter a new challenge, make a quick list of some of the potential ways you could solve the problem. Experiment with different strategies and focus on developing a logical way to work through common problems. By practicing your problem-solving skills on a regular basis, you will be better prepared to cope when a serious challenge emerges.

8  Establish Goals

Crisis situations are daunting. They may even seem insurmountable. Resilient people are able to view these situations in a realistic way and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what is before you. Brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.

9  Take Steps to Solve Problems

Simply waiting for a problem to go away on its own only prolongs the crisis. Instead, start working on resolving the issue immediately. While there may not be any fast or simple solution, you can take steps toward making your situation better and less stressful. Focus on the progress that you have made thus far and planning your next steps, rather than becoming discouraged by the amount of work that still needs to be accomplished.

10  Keep Working on Your Skills

Resilience may take time to build, so do not become discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events. According to Dr. Russ Newman, “research has shown that resilience is not an extraordinary thing but is rather ordinary and can be learned by most anyone”. Psychological resilience does not involve any specific set of behaviors or actions, but can vary dramatically from one person to the next. Focus on practicing some of the common characteristics of resilient people, but also, remember to build upon your existing strengths.

By Kendra Cherry    May 10, 2016 
source: www.verywell.com 

Characteristics of Resilient People

Why are some people better able to cope with crises than others?

While people vary dramatically in the coping skills they use when confronting a crisis, researchers have identified some key characteristics of resilience. Many of these skills can be developed and strengthened, which can improve your ability to deal with life’s setbacks.

Resilient people are aware of situations, their own emotional reactions and the behavior of those around them. In order to manage feelings, it is essential to understand what is causing them and why.

By remaining aware, resilient people can maintain control of a situation and think of new ways to tackle problems.

Another characteristic of resilience is the understanding that life is full of challenges. While we cannot avoid many of these problems, we can remain open, flexible, and willing to adapt to change.

Here are some other characteristics of people who have strong coping skills.

A Sense of Control

Do you perceive yourself as having control over your own life? Or do you blame outside sources for failures and problems? Generally, resilient people tend to have what psychologists call an internal locus of control. They believe that the actions they take will affect the outcome of an event. Of course, some factors are simply outside of our personal control, such as natural disasters. While we may be able to put some blame on external causes, it is important to feel as if we have the power to make choices that will affect our situation, our ability to cope, and our future.

Strong Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills are essential. When a crisis emerges, resilient people are able to spot the solution that will lead to a safe outcome. In danger situations, people sometimes develop tunnel vision. They fail to note important details or take advantages of opportunities.

Resilient individuals, on the other hand, are able to calming and rationally look and the problem and envision a successful solution.

Strong Social Connections

Whenever you’re dealing with a problem, it is important to have people who can offer support. Talking about the challenges you are facing can be an excellent way to gain perspective, look for new solutions, or simply express your emotions. Friends, family members, coworkers, and online support groups can all be potential sources of social connectivity.

Identifying as a Survivor, Not a Victim

When dealing with any potential crisis, it is essential to view yourself as a survivor. Avoid thinking like a victim of circumstance and instead look for ways to resolve the problem. While the situation may be unavoidable, you can still stay focused on a positive outcome.

Being Able to Ask for Help

While being resourceful is an important part of resilience, it is also essential to know when to ask for help. During a crisis, people can benefit from the help of psychologists and counselors specially trained to deal with crisis situations. Other potential sources of assistance include:

  • Books – Reading about people who have experienced and overcome a similar problem can be both motivating and good for ideas on how to cope.
  • Online Message Boards – Online communities can provide continual support and a place to talk about issues with people who have been in a similar situation.
  • Support Groups – Attending support group meetings is a great way to talk about the challenges you’re facing and find a network of people who can provide compassion and support.
  • Psychotherapy – If you are having trouble coping with a crisis situation, consulting a qualified mental health professional can help you confront the problem, identify your strengths, and develop new coping skills.
By Kendra Cherry   October 03, 2016


This One Shift Will Change The Way You See Yourself (& Others!)

  • The Challenge: We often assume our abilities and behaviors cannot (or are too hard to) be changed.
  • The Science: You are, indeed, capable of change! It’s all about the way we look at it!
  • The Solution: Cultivating a growth mindset can create positive change and new opportunities in your life!

We are often taught from a young age and through a variety of influences that ability is fixed. Either we’re smart or we’re not.  We’re athletic or we’re not. We’re artistic or we’re not. And certainly, we all differ to some extent in the types of things that seem to come more naturally to us.

Sometimes we’re standing in our own way

The problem is, this way of thinking can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if a young child does poorly on a math test and thinks “I failed this test because I’m not good at math,” she is less likely to study as much for the next test (thinking it’s not worth the effort, since she’s not good at math).  Consequently, she also does poorly on the next test, which reinforces the belief in her lack of mathematical ability.

However, if this same child, after doing poorly on the first math test thinks instead, “I must have failed this test because I didn’t study enough, or didn’t have the right kind of help” then she is more likely to seek out the help she needs the next time, and spend more time studying – thus increasing her chances of doing better on the next test.

What is your type of mindset?

This example illustrates the difference between what Carol Dweck calls a “fixed” mindset and a “growth” mindset. People who have a fixed mindset tend to believe that abilities and talents are fixed traits, and that that they are stable over time. In other words, people are born a certain way and don’t change.

People who have a growth mindset, on the other hand, tend to believe that with dedication and intentional practice, we can improve our abilities and learn new skills and behaviors.  In other words, people can change.

Believe you can develop new skills

What seems like a simple and perhaps inconsequential distinction has big implications for what we can achieve. Research shows that students who believe (or are taught) that intellectual abilities can be developed (as opposed to being characteristics that are fixed) are more likely to succeed in challenging classes, and show high achievement through challenging transitions. In sum, if you believe that your abilities can be developed, you’re more likely to develop them.

Your mindset in the workplace

Not only does a fixed or growth mindset influence our personal behavior, but it also influences the way we see and treat others. A 2008 study of managers found that those who assumed personal qualities to be fixed traits (i.e. a fixed mindset) were less likely to recognize positive changes in the performance of their staff. They were also less likely to coach their employees about how to improve performance. However, managers who received an intervention designed to cultivate a growth mindset subsequently provided more useful coaching to their employees, and more accurate performance appraisals.



How our mindset also affects our relationships

Mindset affects our friendships and romantic relationships as well. A 2012 study of romantic couples revealed that people who do not think their partner is capable of changing (a fixed mindset) are much less likely to notice their partner’s genuine efforts to improve the relationship when these efforts do happen. People who believe their partner can change (a growth mindset) and recognize that s/he is making efforts to improve (even small efforts) are more likely to feel happy and secure in their relationship.

These kind of interactions happen every day. For example, think of that friend of yours who never follows through on what he promises. If you have a fixed mindset, then you likely believe this person will never change (i.e. “that’s just the way he is”).  Because of this mindset, the research shows that you are less likely to engage with him, to give him feedback that might be useful, or to help him find strategies that might make follow-through easier. Perhaps most importantly, you are much less likely to notice any improvements in this person’s behavior if he makes them.  In other words, because you think he can’t change, you’re not able to see changes when they happen, even if they’re right in front of your face.

What you can do:

1) Don’t write yourself off! Catch yourself making blanket statements about your own abilities, and try to reframe them.

  • Instead of saying, “I’m not athletic,” reframe by saying “I haven’t spent a lot of time playing sports.”
  • Or try adding the word “yet” onto the end of those blanket statements, and open the door of possibility. For example, “I’m not a good artist…yet” or “I can’t speak well in front of people…yet.”

2) Notice change and effort. Be on the lookout for positive changes in others’ abilities and behavior, no matter how small these improvements may be. Point them out and show appreciation and encouragement for people’s effort; noticing and appreciating the changes people are striving to make will strengthen your relationships.

3)Cultivate a growth mindset. Believe that we all can further develop our abilities and skills with dedication and practice. We can learn new things if we work at it!

The moral of the story?

Adopting a growth mindset has the potential to open up new opportunities in your own life. It will also allow you to see other people differently (and often in a more positive light), and open up possibilities for new and improved relationships. Start noticing your mindset today!

Katie Conlon, M.A., MAPP is a Trainer, Coach, and Consultant. She works with the Center for Leadership and Organizational Change at the University of Maryland and runs her own private practice, The Phoenix Nest. She is an Assistant Instructor in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania, and a member of the faculty of the Flourishing Center’s Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology. Katie also develops curriculum for George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. She earned a master’s degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in counseling and personnel services from the University of Maryland.

By Katie Conlon             July 1, 2014


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15 Lies Nobody Should Believe

What you believe and what you don’t believe are intricately connected. Sometimes it’s easier to look at the things you definitely do NOT want to believe in order to find what it is that you DO want to believe. Believe the opposite of these 15 lies, and the truth will set you free!

1. Five more minutes of sleep will help me.
The snooze button seems like a good idea while sleepy, but you’ll get much more benefit from going to sleep earlier and not interrupting the last 30 minutes of your sleep every five minutes. In fact, the science suggests that using the snooze buttons does more harm than good.
2. I need ____ to be happy.
The only word that fits in that blank is “contentment.” The idea that you need anything else isn’t true.
3. All [type of people] are [attribute].
Stereotypes don’t just hurt other people, they hurt the ones who make them. If you assume, for example, that all men are jerks because you know a few of them, you’ll miss out on the ones who aren’t.
4. I’m better or worse than other people.
We can sort people by height, income, weight, race, and favorite football team, but we’re all human; we’re all important and valuable. We have different attributes, abilities, and skills, but no person should be defined (for better or worse) by those alone.
5. I can’t change.
Change is possible if you go about it the right way. Most people try to change everything at once, which doesn’t work. Change must be done methodically: it takes time and repetition for the subconscious to process and accept it. Aim for consistency, not quantity.
6. Trying is futile.
Trying is everything! Stephen King was rejected dozens of times before he became one of the world’s best-selling authors. When other authors would have stopped trying, he didn’t. If you’re not trying, then what are you doing? Trying is everything!
7. The world is against me.
Generally speaking, the world is neither for or against you. Remember that you teach the world how to treat you. Think again about Stephen King being rejected so many times. The world wasn’t against him, it just hadn’t noticed him yet. Keep trying.
Happy Thoughts
8. My dreams are dead.
As long as you’re alive, so are your dreams. That’s the most logical way to look at it.
9. I’m too young or too old to make a difference.
If you look throughout history, you’ll see that people of all ages have shaped it. Don’t use age as an excuse. Use it as extra motivation, if anything.
10. If I’m not motivated, I can’t take action.
Motivation doesn’t precede action — it follows action. When I realized and applied this, I changed my life. I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m reading and writing daily, and I’m a best-selling author; it’s all directly a result of not believing this lie anymore.
11. I’m stuck.
This isn’t a lie, actually. Because if you believe it, then you’ll be it. Don’t believe it though, because the present moment is neutral, and an opportunity to move forward.
12. People don’t like me.
It may be true that some people don’t like you, but there are 7 billion of us on Earth. Find your people.
13. I’m not talented enough.
Talent isn’t nearly as important as practicing. Natural talent helps, but it’s hardly ever a make or break factor.
14. I want candy.
Your taste buds want candy and your brain probably wants the sugar-triggered reward. But your body wants broccoli. You only want candy on a superficial level. Deep down, you want broccoli and you want it raw. Mmm!
15. I am a victim.
It’s not correct to say that you are a victim in the present moment. Maybe you were a victim, but if you’re currently free, you’re no longer a victim. It’s best to avoid the “victim mindset.” Victims have things happen to them, while non-victims are free to create their own path. No matter what has happened to you before, you can begin a new path and a new life today.
BY STEPHEN GUISE      JUNE 30, 2014 

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6 Excuses Holding You Back (And How to Overcome Them)

“He that is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

Your brain is a conundrum: better processing capability than any supercomputer, yet at times frustratingly impulsive and temperamental. We engage in fleeting and meaningless thought patterns yet are able to concentrate for long durations of time. It is fair to say that the brain is sometimes on ‘autopilot’ – doing its own thing without any voluntary interaction.

Something that the brain does when on ‘autopilot’ is make excuses. While you certainly may not ‘feel’ up to the task, you know that you’re more than capable. Whatever this task may be – studying, cleaning, a project, etc. – you just can’t seem to stop making excuses for bucking down and doing it. In the end, you just feel more frustrated, nothing is accomplished, and the task is still staring you in the face.

Don’t fret. Excuses are just another auto-response generated by that complex circuitry of neural networks called your brain. Let’s examine a few of the more common excuses.

Here are 6 excuses that may be holding you back (and how to overcome them):


1. “I don’t have the time.”

To be fair, many of us are short on time because of work, family, kids, etc. Indeed, this is a legitimate limitation for many of us. This doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, however.

First, consider your priorities. You innately understand that family and work comes first; perhaps followed by housework, school, or something else. What about the remaining time in your day? Understandably, this time is perhaps limited…but it’s still there. Are you taking full advantage of this time, whether its 5 minutes or an hour?

Second, consider the possibilities. Consider the time that you spend on procrastinating, being anxious or absentminded. Instead of using up that hour catching up on your favorite show, can you record it and watch it on the weekend? If your kids demand your attention for something that can wait, will you ask them to occupy themselves for a period of time?

Be creative and don’t underestimate the power of small chunks of time.

2. “I don’t have the ability.”

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

While there may be inherent differences in ability from one person to another, brain research is finding that our brains adapt much faster than previously thought. Neuroplasticity – the changing of neural pathways in the brain due to changes in behavior, environment, thinking, and learning – has shown that it’s possible to evolve intellectually.

You can become smarter, more resilient, and happier while pursuing your dreams. Don’t allow the illusion that you’re somehow incapable of achieving the goals that you’ve set for yourself.

3. “I’m just too busy.”

As with “not enough time”, this is an excuse that has some legitimacy. As a society, we’re overworked and overscheduled, distracted and off-balance. We’re not here to challenge this fact – doing so would be dishonest.

Not only is this excuse counterproductive, it induces unnecessary stress. The constant feeling of busyness directly increases our stress levels. We can only increase the stress hormone cortisol before it initiates a “fight or flight” response. Over a period of time, this leads to a state of chronic stress. Busyness often manifests itself in other ways as well – bad concentration and memory, impulsive behavior, lethargy, headaches, and feelings of malaise.

The solution is to simply be present. Concentrate on one thing at a time. When you have angry or impulsive thoughts, simply allow them to fade.



4. “I don’t have the money.”

The truth is that money is simply a tool; a method of exchange. However, economic statistics continue to show that wages continue to flatten while the cost of living increases – this can certainly become a problem.

There exists a movement called minimalism, where one lives with the basic necessities of life and nothing more. Minimalism is not well known in the Western world because of the materialistic consumerism mentality to economics that has permeated our society.

But the fact of the matter is that we don’t need to live this way. Study after study continues to show that material possessions and the accumulation of money do not correlate to happiness. Perhaps this is because we become susceptible to the lies that success equals money and money equals possessions.

The first step involves making the conscious decision to not live beyond your means. The second step is to determine what constitutes a want versus a need. You need food, water, shelter and electricity. You want the flat-screen TV, luxury car, cable package and cell phone. The third step involves minimizing or eliminating the wants in your life.

Of course, whether or not minimalism is a desired lifestyle is completely your choice. There is nothing wrong with having nice things in moderation. Rather, it is the constant desire to buy and have more that creates unnecessary and toxic excess.

5. “It’s too late…”

   It’s too late to pursue my education.
It’s too late to change careers.

   It’s too late to fall in love.

It’s too late to start my own business.

It’s too late to leave an impact on the world.

The great writer Richard Bach once said:
“Here is a test to find out whether your mission on earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t”

As a prior college counselor, I had the distinct honor and privilege to interact with people interested in pursuing their education. From recommending and enrolling in courses to watching students walk across the stage to receive their diploma, the experience was touching.

One such student was Robert Titus, a former salesman from Houston, who received his Marketing degree at the age of 80. His reason for this was simple: he promised his mother a long time ago that he’d achieve a college degree.

Whether your goal is a college degree, writing a novel, traveling the world or something else, the only limitations are the ones that we place on ourselves. If there is still air in your lungs and desire in your heart, there is no reason to stop.

6. “I’m too tired.”

It’s impossible to examine this excuse without thinking about time and busyness – excuses two and three on this list. After all, if we didn’t feel busy or deprived of time, we’d have no reason to be tired. As with time and busyness, there is some merit to the fact that we get indeed feel lethargic from time to time.

You must simply inspect your daily activities and what is causing tiredness. Are you rushing throughout the day from one place to another? Are you getting adequate amounts of sleep (minimum 7-8 hours)? Are you staying out or going to bed late during the weekdays? All of these reasons – along with a multitude of others – will undoubtedly result in fatigue.

The solution is making some lifestyle changes to counteract this tendency. Stress or poor time management are likely the culprits, both of which are easily rectified. Make it a priority to feel energized throughout the day by discarding the bad habits that lead to tired feelings. Try to implement a short nap into your day for some added benefit.

Break free from these excuses right now.  Make the declaration “I release the roadblocks to my abundance. I am victorious!”