Resilience isn’t really about ‘bouncing back’. And it’s not rare. And it’s not a place we ‘arrive at’. In fact, we are born with it and we use it every day.
These were words shared with us earlier this year when the Institute for Positive Psychology hosted a webinar for our community. We thought that now, more than ever, these 12 tips can help as it is the ability to adapt successfully in the face of stress, challenge, and adversity, that defines resilience.
Although we sometimes forget, we all have resources available for us to cope:
- External – your family, a supportive club, a teacher, an old friend (the tools outside of our body that enable us to cope. The more powerful they are the better we can cope).
- Internal – our minds, our brains, our bodies – these we can most easily control. But how do we develop and optimize resilience through these elements?
When internal and external are combined, we have the package that allows us to be resilient in the face of adversity. This webinar focuses on the internal resources, and on what each of us can do to strengthen them.
12 EVIDENCE-BASED TIPS TO HELP OPTIMIZE RESILIENCE
Printable Summary (PDF)
- Greet Each Day as an Opportunity. Engaging with life is the best predictor of mental health. Young kids who are engaged have higher prosocial behavior and academic success. We become engaged if we see each interaction as an opportunity.
- Set Yourself a Goal. We know humans are a goal-oriented species. When we have clear goals, we become solution-focused. It energizes us in a meaningful way and helps us have adaptable thoughts.
- Exercise Your Mood. We know that exercise metabolizes stress. It eats away stress. And we optimize the brain for learning. The right neurochemical cocktail.
- Eat Well. Nutritional science is the most under-utilized resource. We are starting to understand that eating well makes us perform well and do good. Refined sugars cause immune responses that are not helpful to our body or brain.
- Learn How to Rest and Sleep Well. Diet and nutrition is the easiest hack. But sleeping is right up there. Massively related to resilience. About restoring and regenerating our resources.
- Learn How to Quiet Your Mind. Referencing the concept of prayer or meditation, this is the practice of being still with your thoughts.
- Believe in Something Bigger Than Yourself. Meaning and purpose are directly linked to resilience. Victor Frankl, psychiatrist and holocaust survivor stated, “Those who have a WHY to live for, can bear with almost any HOW”. We can draw on resources when we have connectedness with something bigger than ourselves.
- Develop a Sense of Gratitude. Practicing gratitude is “an antidote to negative emotions.”
- Learn the Art of Good Communication. The better we can listen to others the more resilient we become. Remove the elephants from the room, the unspoken.
- Be Around People. The more support we give to others, the more we receive. Reach out, be open to others.
- Learn and Grow from Adversity. When we see adversity as normal and part of pursuing a meaningful life, we are able to change the narrative. We can start to view adversity as not pervasive (everything is wrong), not personal (only me), and not permanent (will last).
- Go Easy and Be Kind to Yourself. Don’t speak poorly to yourself. Connect with the common humanity. We all go through it.