Sunlife Building Resilience
What is Resilience?
Life has constant ups and downs. We are faced with hardships in different areas of our lives– health, career, family, relationships etc. that challenge us. When you are resilient, you are able to more easily “bounce back” or adapt to life stressors or challenges.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resilience as “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.”
With resilience, you will still experience feelings of sadness, worry, anger, or grief. However, you’re more likely to recover and even grow from the experiences.
Can you think of a time when you were resilient?
Why is Resilience Important?
Resilience is helpful when it comes to handling the stressors of life and decreasing the risk of many medical problems. Long-term, stress has been associated with inflammation, a common factor in many diseases.
How to Build Resilience
Below are some ways to improve resilience. You might want to try one or more of them - see what works best for you.
Connect with Others
Building a strong social network and social support through one-on-one and community relationships helps to improve resilience. Increased social support is also protective against physical and mental health problems.
When you experience hardship, your initial reaction may be to withdraw - i.e. keep to yourself. This can actually hurt your overall well-being and make it more difficult to recover.
There are many people and places you can reach out to for support:
Friends and family
Your church, temple, or mosque (if applicable)
Local or virtual social or support groups
Your Goodpath coach
Need some ideas for where you might seek support and build social connections?
Try a support group or club. There are many websites that offer gatherings and events based on common hobbies and interests. Make sure it feels right for you.
Perform random acts of kindness. Along with making someone else’s day, acts of kindness can also enhance your well-being.
Checking in on a friend or giving someone a compliment can help build connections, improve happiness, and support mental health.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself and your needs is crucial in managing stress, building resilience, and improving your overall health. If you feel “burnt out”, it is much harder to recover from challenges or setbacks. Let’s look at a few ways to enhance self-care:
Practice Mindfulness and Self-compassion
The benefits of mindfulness are wide-ranging. When you practice coming back to the present moment (mindfulness), you are able to deal with uncomfortable emotions - this is an important part of being resilient.
To get into the present moment right now, you can tune into different senses. For example, listen to noises in your environment or focus on what’s touching your skin. Your Goodpath program provides you with mindfulness exercises.
Another technique that incorporates mindfulness is practicing self-compassion. Do you judge yourself when going through a difficult time? While it might be easy to show compassion for others, you may forget to have compassion for yourself.
Self-compassion is an effective method of self-care. When you practice self-compassion, you’re able to come from a place of kindness and non-judgment.
Here’s a way to practice self-compassion: Imagine you are supporting a close friend who is going through a tough time. How would you speak to them? What would you tell them? Speak to yourself the same way you would speak to your friend.
Find Your Spiritual Practice
Religious and spiritual practices like attending services, meditation, prayer, or yoga can create a sense of peace and self-reflection. Spirituality looks different for each person. Maybe you feel most spiritual when you are in nature. Find what feels right for you!
Moving our bodies benefits both our mental and physical health. When you're ready, stick to exercises provided by your doctor and/or physical therapist. Goodpath can also provide suitable exercises for you to do.
Change Your Perspective
Humor can help you cope with negative or traumatic experiences and reduce your stress. It can help to increase positive emotions, even in the most difficult situations. What makes you laugh? Here are a few ideas:
Watch a funny movie/TV show
Listen to a funny podcast or read a funny book
Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and feel good. Call that friend who always brings a smile to your face!
Look for The Positive
In difficult times, a positive outlook (optimism), can help you feel more hopeful and also move forward and grow. People who have positive expectations for the future handle life stressors with more ease than those who have more negative outlooks. This leads to positive physical health outcomes, improved emotional well-being, and helpful coping skills.
In what ways can you change your way of thinking to a more positive one?
Gratitude is an appreciation for what you have. Having feelings of gratitude can shift your mindset. Practicing gratitude has health benefits like improving depression and stress and even reducing inflammation.
As always, contact your coach if you have any questions or would like to talk about other ways to enhance your resilience.