Intentionally set habits that help build your resilience, one day at a time.
What is resilience?
Resilience is the process of adapting in the face of adversity or significant stress. It is a set of skills that can be developed by intentionally changing thoughts and behaviors.
How To Build Resilience
Resilience does not look the same for everyone. It’s important to experiment with different strategies and find what works best for you. Here are some of the top recommendations and strategies for practicing resilience.
Boundaries determine what you allow and don’t allow to have presence in or control over your life. It’s often difficult to say no to things like new projects, hanging out with friends and more. But when you don’t have clear boundaries for your time, emotions and body, it’s easy to stretch yourself too thin or stay in relationships that affect you negatively.
You can’t pour from an empty cup; boundaries are an important part of making sure you keep your cup full.
Showing compassion for both yourself and others is a vital part of resilience. When we get knocked down or experience a failure, we need to be understanding and compassionate with ourselves. Acknowledging and accepting our difficult thoughts and feelings is the first step in moving past them.
Building practices of gratitude for what you have in life is a great way to improve your resilience. When you create a habit of finding the positive things in life every day, it’s easier to remember them when things get difficult or some of the positive aspects are taken away. It has also been shown that people who regularly show gratitude are more creative, open to challenges and likely to seek help and support.
When faced with adversity, having a growth mindset is an important part of being able to accept the challenge and persist through setbacks. Having a growth mindset means believing that intelligence and ability are not static, but can be developed. When you’re faced with a challenge that seems beyond your intelligence or abilities, if you have a fixed mindset — which is the opposite of a growth mindset — you don’t persevere because you believe you can never overcome it. A failure is heartbreaking because you believe it is an unchangeable part of yourself, a negative characteristic. With a growth mindset, each challenge and failure become a learning opportunity that you can gain new experience and skills from.
Mindfulness has been shown to decrease stress and negativity while increasing satisfaction, patience, focus and resilience. There are many ways to build mindfulness into your daily life, whether it’s a 10-minute meditation before bed or paying attention to your surroundings on a daily walk.
Resilience is not all about individual “toughness”; it’s also important to have a solid support system. Having someone to reach out to in times of need greatly improves resilience. Positive relationships throughout life improve overall well-being, contributing to one’s ability to bounce back.
Being aware of your strengths, weaknesses, values/beliefs, motivation, emotions and needs helps you understand the way you move through life, and makes it easier to know how to pick yourself up during bad times.
Self-care is doing things by you, for you. Building the habit of taking care of yourself when you are at your best helps you know what to do when you need a little extra care or have trouble finding the time or motivation to take care of yourself. When facing difficult situations, it’s easy to pour all of attention and energy into solving the problem or worrying. But it’s important to make sure you build in self-care to create a healthy body and mind, laying the foundation for you to overcome challenges.
Tips and Resources
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- Identify fulfilling activities that you enjoy and that benefit you emotionally, mentally and/or physically.
- Brainstorm how you can engage in these activities organically and throughout your daily life.
- Discover your strengths.
- Set goals to increase engagement gradually.
- Practice mindful gratitude. One of the best ways to start cultivating an attitude of mindfulness is to start thinking intentionally about things you’re grateful for.
- Write down what you’re grateful for in a journal, on your phone or even in the margins of a to-do list.
- When times are tough, ground yourself by finding an aspect of life that is positive. Identify one thing you’re grateful for each day and/or one thing you’re looking forward to.
- 40 simple ways to practice gratitude
Make It Routine
- Add self-care activities to your calendar, and follow through with them.
- Take a group fitness class.
- Sleep for 7-9 hours every night.
- Pack a healthy lunch and snacks for work or school.
- Drink water instead of drinks high in sugar.
- Take the long route. Walk the greenway, or walk the trails around Lake Raleigh.
Improve Your Environmental Wellness
- Limit fluorescent lighting in your space.
- Take screen breaks.
- Keep your work/study space separate from your sleep space.
- Have at least one item in every space you frequent that brings you joy.