Building Personal Resilience

Resilience is frequently defined as the ability to recover quickly from challenges.

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” -Maya Angelou

Resilience isn’t about being stoic or shouldering the whole of the burden on our own. In fact, the most resilient people know when to reach out for help, even when all appears to be going smoothly in their lives.

It follows, then, that building up both mental and physi and  physical resilience over time helps us meet life’s difficulties head-on and hopefully overcome them faster and with fewer long-term impacts. According to “Resilience Training” on the Mayo Clinic’s website, “If you have a resilient disposition, you are better able to maintain poise and a healthy level of physical and psychological wellness in the face of life’s challenges”—on the flip side, those with less resilience are “more likely to dwell on problems, feel overwhelmed, use unhealthy coping tactics to handle stress, and develop anxiety and depression.”Building up personal resilience doesn’t mean that we’ll never encounter adversity. Instead, the point of resilience is to stockpile reserves of it so that those reserves can then carry us through the adversity. According to “Resilience: Build Skills to Endure Hardship” on the Mayo Clinic’s website, “When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’re able to keep functioning—both physically and psychologically.”

Some ways to boost your personal resilience reserves include building a strong social network, cultivating wellness, finding a purpose bigger than yourself, and asking for help.

Build a strong social network. Fostering connections with other people leads to a strong network of caring, supportive friends when crisis arrives. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

Friends are a proven source of emotional strength, and having them can also be an effective stress buster. Of course, it takes a long time to put together a rock-solid circle of friends. For example, one study from the University of Kansas found that making a casual friend takes roughly 50 hours, while close friendships require about 200 hours to cultivate.

Don’t let this deter you from trying to make friends. Start small by saying yes to social invitations, and take advantage of the many technological tools available today for communication and connection.

Bear in mind the company that you keep and social circles that you choose reflect your values. For instance, there are many ways to meet and grow close to other people [that don’t involve happy hour]. Consider joining a local sports team or club focused on an activity that you enjoy, such as music, hiking, or movies. Check out the list of classes at your gym or get more involved with your place of worship or spiritual center, school committees, or other community-based organizations.

Just like with networking…when it comes to friendships, you get out what you put in. If you want a network to support you during the tough times, you have to put the muscle into building those relationships during the good times.

Cultivate wellness. Resilience must be built up over time, and one of the best ways to do that is to consistently care for your physical and mental health.

Exercising regularly, eating well, practicing mindfulness, and taking time for meditation—it may not feel like these are adding anything to your life in the immediate moment. But instant gratification is not the point of these routines. Instead, they are meant to build up strength—physical and mental—over a long period of time.

The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that self-care is “a legitimate practice for mental health and building resistance.” 

As we say at McGregor, find a purpose bigger than yourself.  It is one of the single biggest ways that you can build self-resilience.

Resilience reserves are built up slowly over time and are a combination of doing a little of the above frequently and consistently. According to Erin Clifford, a holistic wellness coach, while progress may seem slow at first, know that any work you put toward boosting your personal resilience will pay off when life throws adversity your way and puts that resilience to the test.

Being able to adapt to new circumstances, keep pushing forward through hard times and living through challenges will help you become more resilient.

A Powerful Mindset is a driving force in the quest for success which combines discipline, strength, confidence and ambition; setting its sights on achieveing anything!  Good luck in your endeavors and persevere!

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