resilience

7 Ways to Build Resilience and Handle Challenges

When times get tough, it’s sometimes hard to see anything positive about the future.  By building resilience you make yourself stronger and less vulnerable to stress making yourself more resistant to the situations life throws at you.

Resilience helps you through those tough times by changing the way you look at things.  

What is Resilience?

Life is not a smooth paved road.  It comes with twists, turns, and potholes.  Resilience is how we navigate these obstacles in the road. There are three types of obstacles you can experience on your journey through life.

Speedbumps- These are the small things that will slow you down, but don’t change your direction.  You don’t have to do anything differently to reach your goal.  For example, your flight is grounded because of the weather and you have to wait until the next day to leave in order to get home. 

Detours- These are things you have to go around.  You may have to shift direction a little, but you can get back on track after you go around or solve the problem.  An example would be, you want to buy a house, but housing prices have risen so you need to wait 6 months or get a second job so you can save the extra money for the down payment. 

Roadblocks- Roadblocks are obstacles or problems that cannot be changed and make reaching your goal impossible.  For instance, you played basketball in high school and started playing in college, you injure your knee and the doctor tells you, you can’t play basketball anymore or your injury will get worse. 

This is where reliance comes in.  It’s your belief or attitude about the problem or obstacle that determines what happens on your journey.  Resilience helps you turn those roadblocks into detours.

Resilence allows you to be disappointed and frustrated, but see the roadblock as temporary.  For instance, you may not be able to have that career you wanted as a basketball player, but you can certainly become a basketball coach.  Resilience is your ability to adapt to adversity. 

resilience
Resilience of a tree

How Do You Build Resilience?

There are several ways to build resilience or make it stronger.  Here are easily achievable ways to build your resilience.

Take Care of Yourself

Your health and wellbeing are important to the way you handle stress.  Make sure you are practicing self-love by:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising
  • Find me time for sanity breaks
  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep
  • Manage stress

Eating a healthy diet helps you have a healthy immune system and exercise not only strengthens your heart but puts you in a better mood.  Care about your whole self both mind and body.

Practice Gratitude

Keep a gratitude journal.  Make a habit of writing down 3 things that happened during the day that you are grateful for even if it’s small. 

Practicing gratitude helps push out feelings of negativity.  When you practice gratitude it helps change your thought processes and it fosters hope.  It helps your brain release those feel-good chemicals that give you a sense of wellbeing. 

The key to gratitude is to be consistent and practice it every day.

Helping Others

Helping others helps with building resilience.  You benefit in several ways:

  • Helps with longterm health
  • Makes you happier
  • Can be contagious
  • Relieves stress
  • Gives a sense of satisfaction

Helping others gives you a sense of purpose and helps with mental wellbeing.

Connect with Family and Trusted Friends

Humans are wired for connection.  We are social beings.  Having someone to lean on takes the burden of trying to solve everything yourself even if the other person does nothing. 

Connecting with friends and family is not only good for your mental wellbeing, but it also improves your physical wellbeing.  As a matter of fact, science has determined that the lack of social relationships, as well as quality relationships, increases the risk of death. 

The bottom line is if you’ve been a little complacent about your relationship with friends and family lately, then start to reconnect, your body will thank you!

Intentions

Your intentions help shape your attitudes and beliefs.  Intentions make you see the world as wonderful or as an evil and unfair place to be.  Positive affirmations can help set or reset your intentions.  Write them down and repeat them throughout the day or record them and listen to them. 

Here are some intentions you can start with:

  • “I have everything I need today”
  • “All is well”
  • “I step into this opportunity with courage and conviction”
  • “New doors open up all the time”
  • “One door is closed, but another one will open up”
  • “I can rise above difficulty and see my path clearly”

When you set intentions it changes the energy around you and your mindset. 

Accept Change

Change happens.  Most of the time you can’t control the things that change.  You can’t keep a loved one from getting sick, you can’t control other people’s behavior, you can’t control a job loss.

Instead of ruminating about what it should have been or could have been, accept what you can’t change it.  Lots of things happen in our lives that we can’t control.  It’s how we handle them that counts. 

If you look at the change in a positive way, even though it may bring on stress, you can see other opportunities hiding in the fog. 

Cultivate a Meditation Practice for Resilience

what is resilience
Diagram of Resilience

Meditation is geared to help you meet life’s challenges making you more resilient.  Meditation teaches you to come back to the present and stop going over the past in your head repeatedly.

Meditation enhances the skills that make you more resilient.  Here are some of the skills that meditation fosters that help builds resiliency. 

Focus

Meditation helps you to increase focus so you can concentrate on your goals and what lies ahead instead of wandering back to the past.  One study showed that participants in an 8-week mindfulness meditation course had an increased attention span.  This attention span allows to stay focused on the positive and let the negative go.

Creative Problem Solving

Meditation can also help with insight problem-solving.  A study done in China had participants problem solve 10 questions before and after a break.  After they answered the questions the first time, they were asked to either rest or meditate.

 Researchers found that the participants that meditated were able to solve more of the problems they had missed before.  In addition, those who were told to count breaths and raise their hand after so many breaths (creating awareness) were able to solve even more problems.

Meditation helps reduce your tendency to overlook adaptive ways to solve problems from past experience.

This demonstrates meditations ability to help you problem-solve and turn that roadblock into a detour.    

Anxiety

Meditation helps reduce anxiety.  General anxiety disorder is characterized by constant worry and physiological stress.  In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychology participants had lower stress and anxiety levels after learning a meditation program. 

Having lower anxiety levels means reduced stress which allows you to concentrate on positive thoughts instead of negative ones. 

Self-Awareness

Knowing yourself better allows you to grow and change.  Meditation gives you a better understanding of who you are and how you relate to others. 

Studies show that those who meditate regularly are more self-aware and have a more positive outlook about themselves and those around them. 

Meditation helps you learn to accept yourself without judgment. This changes your thought process.  When you reach a level of self-awareness it helps you become more resilient.

Emotional Health Helps You Build Resilience

The biggest part of building resilience is how you perceive problems.  Meditation helps improve your emotional health to help with the positive thought process. 

One study that used Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to help treat anxiety disorders, followed up with participants 3 years later.  Researchers determine the not only were participants still practicing meditation, but their depression and anxiety were also reduced giving them a better outlook on life. 

Meditation has been found to also trigger biological processes.  A study published in 2003 took healthy employees in a work environment and did an 8-week clinical mindful meditation training. 

They found there was more activity on the left side anterior portion of the brain which controls positive thoughts.  They also found that the participants had a greater production of antibodies when given the influenza vaccine. 

Not only does meditation help with positivity and optimism, but it also helps boost the immune system. 

Building resilience helps you weather any storm that comes your way.  As you travel down the road of life it will be a bumpy ride.  Resilience will help you navigate the journey so you don’t come to a complete halt in the middle of the road. 

Meditation is an easy way to help you:

If you would like to cultivate your own meditation practice to build resilience, MindTastik can help. 

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