Five Ways You Can Build Resilience

By: Danielle Dawson, MA, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Hoag for Her

Resilience is the capacity or ability to find healthy ways to adapt and cope with difficulties, adversity and distress. The key to helping get through any circumstance in life is building up your resilience. When you have resilience, you can help protect yourself from depression, anxiety and stress. Especially during 2020 and this period with Covid-19.

1. Reframe Automatic Negative Thoughts

The way we think about something creates our feelings, which creates our behaviors. When we reframe a negative thought, our feelings change about the situation. For example, instead of telling yourself “life will never get any better,” you can reframe it to “even though life has been difficult right now, nevertheless some positives have happened like working from home, and spending more intimate time with my family.”

2. Problem Solving

Try to write down all your worries during this time. If listing all your worries starts to feel overwhelming, take a break. Look at your list and concentrate on the items in your list you can problem solve or change. If there are worries you can do nothing about, challenge yourself to stop focusing on them. Then make a list of as many possible solutions you can come up with for all the items you can solve or change. Having a plan allows our brain to feel prepared and not to worry about if it will happen. After you problem solve, draw up an action plan. Once you have the plan put it away unless you need to use it.

3. Practice Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance is accepting the facts of reality without taking on all the pain. By accepting what is happening as part of life with your mind, body and spirit with the understanding there is currently nothing you can do to change the present facts you can move past the mental game of trying to change the unchangeable, even if you do not like the facts. By choosing to accept the things that are out of your control, you can prevent yourself from suffering from unhappiness, anger, sadness and bitterness.

4. Embrace Realistic Optimism

Realistic optimism means believing in your power to make good things happen even in tough times. You can be successful with effort, careful planning, persistence and choosing the right strategies. By focusing on what you can overcome and solve you can feel more in control.

5. Practice Positivity

The best mindsets to have to help build resilience are gratitude, hope, joy, inspiration, serenity, amusement and love. Having any of these mindsets can happen during an adverse circumstance in your life when we focus on them. Different ways to practice positivity are figuring out what you are grateful for and writing it down, thinking about what gives you a sense of joy or hope in your life and focus on the feelings those thoughts give you, and give love to those in your life.

During this difficult time, you can work towards building up your resilience with time and determination. No one will know the pain of your struggles, but you can work towards becoming stronger and resilient. Your situation may be difficult, but by believing in your resilience you can get through anything.