When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That is what a resilient person does. He meets the challenges and emerges stronger and wiser. It’s an important virtue because we all face tragedies and crises in life—they’re unavoidable. But how we react to them is the important thing.
So here are a few suggestions for building a life of emotional resilience:
- Be self-aware. When you are in touch with your psychological and physiological self, you are more likely to understand when you are under stress. And to understand what will cause you stress so you can avoid it. You know what you need to maintain a healthy life and you take steps to ensure that you have it.
- Know hard times are temporary. When you go through the inevitable difficulties in life, you understand that this, too, shall pass. You don’t believe you are defined by bad times. Yes, suffering is part of your story, but not the whole story. The bad stuff in life is not who you are.
- Embrace ambiguity. It’s okay to say you don’t understand. Or you don’t know why something unfortunate happens. You don’t have to figure everything out all the time. Stuff happens. Trust that you will eventually work your way out of a bad situation and have peace once again.
- Accept hard times. They are inevitable. Pain is part of life, and you must accept a certain amount of it. When you repress it or deny it, you might be unwittingly prolonging the pain. Let the healing process begin, and know that the process takes time. Be patient with yourself.
- Take care of yourself. Develop good life habits like getting enough sleep, exercising, eating healthy foods. But more than that, understand what you need to do as individual. Take time off for a vacation. Get away for regular quiet time. Meditate. Do what you need to do to keep physically and mentally strong.
- Have stress strategies. There will be times when you can’t avoid stress. But you can distract yourself by writing out your problem in a journal. Or by baking a pie. Or by going for a walk. Whatever works for you to take your mind off the situation for a bit—to give yourself a break until you can face the problem again.
- Let others help. Surround yourself with supportive friends, whom you can count on during bad times. These are people who do not take energy from you—they are the ones who boost your emotional well-being. Sometimes all you need is just one positive person to be there for you during adversity. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.