With all of the difficulties that life can bring, one must learn to be strong. But strength doesn’t come naturally to most people. It’s something that must be worked on and built over time. Still, learning to build up that mental strength is no simple feat. It can feel like an uphill battle to improving that fortitude. To help you out, here are 6 easy ways to increase your resilience.
1. Get Some Emotional Space
When you’re close to a situation, it can be difficult to gain insight from it in a wholly rational manner. By nature, you can’t be unbiased towards your own situation, after all! As such, what you need to do is try to separate yourself from things that test you.
This doesn’t mean to avoid hardship, of course. Instead, when confronted with hardship, it means to step back from it and put yourself in the position of an observer. If you were on the outside looking in, how would this look to you? Studies have shown that distancing yourself emotionally from a situation makes things less intense, allowing for more positive methods of self-reflection.
You can apply a similar concept to memories that haunt you. When these memories crop up, watch them as if you are watching a movie. Separate yourself from the person in your memories. It’s not even a stretch to do, since you have likely learned, grown, and changed since that moment in time.
When performing this exercise of self-separation, you can help the process by asking yourself questions such as:
- Would an outsider looking in be able to see why this situation is negative for you?
- Would an outsider looking in be able to see the points of view of the others involved in this scenario?
- Could an outsider interpret a situation differently to you, or even be on your side at all?
- What would an outsider’s fair evaluation of what they witness be?
2. Break The Catastrophizing Cycle
Catastrophizing refers to the act of imagining all the worst-case scenarios instead of the more reasonable ones. For example:
- When you hear about a storm hitting your city, you immediately fear that your home will be destroyed.
- If you feel ill, you worry about having a life-threatening disease.
- When you lose a job or fail a pitch meeting, you feel your career is permanently over.
- If your partner breaks up with you, you think you’ll never find love and that you’ll die alone.
- When an electrical appliance breaks down, you worry that it’s going to explode.
Those examples may have been somewhat extreme, but catastrophizing can also involve more minor negative thoughts. Regardless of the severity, this kind of thinking is linked to decreased positive thinking and symptoms of depression, especially in individuals who are already in somewhat difficult circumstances.
It is somewhat important to be aware of multiple possibilities, including the bad ones, so that you can prepare for different outcomes. You certainly shouldn’t only ever expert the best, as that means you won’t be ready for the many times when the best outcome isn’t the one you’ll get.
But going too extreme into the negative territory is unrealistic and unnecessary, and you can’t be resilient while you’re fretting over those thoughts. Learning to control that negativity is incredibly powerful!
3. Learn To Forgive
Over the course of your life, many people will do you wrong. If you spend your time hating everyone who does something bad to you, you’re going to wind up being held back. In many cases, the act of bearing grudges and refusing to forgive can harm your mental and physical health, according to research.
Learning to forgive can be a complicated process, but it’s compelling to take control of your emotions and life in this way. Here are steps you will take in your journey towards forgiving others.
· Step 1
Acknowledge what happened and the pain that it caused, and recognize how it continues to affect your life till this day.
· Step 2
Commit to forgiveness. Forgiving someone is not something you can be wishy-washy over. You must decide to release ill will and resentment at the moment and commit to that.
· Step 3
Understand what forgiveness requires. You don’t need to let someone get away with their wrongs, speak to them, or make nice with them to forgive, so if that isn’t necessary, focus on forgiveness from a distance.
· Step 4
Find the opportunity for growth. This past pain has changed you. How has it made you better? How can it keep making you better?
Of course, forgiveness isn’t necessary for all circumstances. You may fully forgive a small number of people who have harmed you in excruciating and significant ways, and that’s okay. The recovery process from trauma and pain in those extreme situations can sometimes benefit from relieving yourself of the need to forgive.
But learning where a lack of forgiveness is holding you back is important. In almost all cases, forgiveness is going to have a more positive outcome for you. Learn to let go of grudges and move on with your life. You deserve better than to be held back by the pain of your past.
4. Have Lots Of Positive Thinking
Positive emotions and thoughts are crucial in becoming a resilient person. Life will throw all sorts of curveballs at you, and if you’re in short supply of anything happy or positive, you could wind up in trouble as you struggle to stay afloat.
This is based on a psychological concept called the broaden-and-build theory. This theory refers to positive emotions as adaptations that evolve over time to serve as mental and even physical resources for the body. The goal in life, then, is to gain more and more positivity to get rid of old negativity and become stronger through those endeavors.
There are other benefits to learning to increase your bandwidth of positivity, though. Longevity, good physical health, and more fulfilling life outcomes are associated with a higher level of positive emotions. This means that these good thoughts don’t just help you get stronger. They also help your entire life improve!
Sure, it’s difficult to stay positive in bad or disappointing times. But that’s a skill that you can sharpen and improve over time, so get started right away!
Mindfulness has become increasingly popular in the world of mental health over the last several years. Whether done in the form of meditation, in conjunction with a form of exercise, or brief few-minute bursts throughout the day, there’s no denying how commonly it’s spoken about and performed.