How to develop resilience

This will help to withstand losses, psychological trauma and other vicissitudes of life. Most people face a traumatic experience at least once in their lives , such as the death of a loved one or a dangerous situation. However, not always trauma can be associated only with issues of life and death. A difficult separation from a loved one, the loss of a job or the collapse of one’s own business, a serious illness can also cause acute stress, which is very difficult to cope with.

Resilience is the ability to survive such situations while maintaining efficiency and internal balance . Traditionally, there are three components of resilience:

  1. Engagement – satisfaction with one’s life, the ability to make decisions independently.
  2. Control – the ability to avoid helplessness, understanding the cause and effect relationships between events.
  3. Risk acceptance.

Lifehacker has collected five basic principles, adhering to which it is easier to endure stress and adversity.

How to develop resilience

  1. Not everything in life can be controlled.

Most people have the mechanisms necessary to cope with the effects of traumatic events. So, 65% of Americans interviewed by psychologists, who in one way or another suffered from the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, coped with stress six months later.

So you are probably more resilient than you think.

However, when faced with adversity, some people fall into a vicious cycle: feeling pain and stress, they painfully think about what they did wrong and what they should have done, which only worsens their condition. This kind of behavior will do nothing to improve the situation and will not contribute to the development of your resilience.

To get out of this situation, you need to figure out what depends on you right now. You cannot change the past, but you can act in the present. And even if you are at a dead end and are not able to influence the circumstances, you can still change yourself. So, for example, thought the Austrian psychologist and prisoner of the Nazi concentration camp Viktor Frankl.

  1. Keeping social connections is vital

Not only are many of the events that occur beyond our control, but also some of the factors that affect our ability to endure the storms of life. Among them are our past experiences, such as childhood experiences. However, one of the most important factors of resilience depends largely on us: it is communication with other people.

When you’re under pressure from problems , the pain of loss, or any other negative feelings, social contact becomes especially important. Often, in difficult moments, you want to withdraw into yourself and isolate yourself from the whole world: do not communicate with anyone and see no one.

Remember that not only will this not help you cope with your feelings, but it can also exacerbate stress.

Social support is one of the most important factors that allows you to maintain composure in any situation and overcome problems more easily. Therefore, meet, call up or at least correspond with loved ones, especially with those with whom you can share your experiences, from whom you are ready to ask for advice or help.

  1. There is no shame in talking about your pain.

This principle is largely related to the previous one, because in order to share your pain even with a loved one, sometimes you have to make a huge effort on yourself . However, according to another study in which Bonanno took part, the most resilient individuals are not afraid to speak up about what bothers them. The psychologist and his colleagues came to this conclusion after studying how people cope with the grief of losing a spouse for a long time. The researchers spoke to them twice: six months later and one and a half years after the tragedy.

It is important not only the opportunity to share your pain and get support, but also the ability to accept the negative, come to terms with it. A clear understanding of what happened, returns a person a sense of control over his own life. This, in turn, sends us back to the first principle: to think only about what is under our influence.

  1. Surviving a problem is easier if you perceive it as a test.

An effective strategy for coping with difficult circumstances can be to change your perspective on the situation. It’s called cognitive reappraisal. For example, an illness or injury that requires a long recovery can be viewed as complete darkness and the end of the world, or as a test.

Understanding what a difficult situation can teach you can not only help you cope with stress more easily, but also better deal with negativity in the future. The main thing is that it should really be a conscious practice, and not empty optimism .

  1. A person exists only because he knows how to adapt.

There is no strategy that is equally applicable to get out of any problem situation. Some people can easily endure economic troubles, but suffer hard from troubles on the personal front. Others are the opposite. Still others do not cope well with these and other difficulties.

Therefore, Bonanno calls adaptability an important skill that distinguishes a resilient person . If something doesn’t work out, then you need to try to do it differently. At the same time, it is not at all necessary to be a universal soldier: resilient is not someone who comes out of any situation with a straight face. Sometimes it is the one who is able to overcome the problem with the least loss.

In addition to the factors listed above, Bonanno also highlights the craving for self-improvement, the presence of positive emotions and regular laughter . Together, this can help you get through a difficult period in your life. But if you feel that you are not getting better, you are visited by suicidal thoughts and there is a feeling of losing control over yourself, be sure to contact a psychologist or psychotherapist .


Leave a Comment