How to Develop Resilience Skills to Maintain Well-Being
Resilience has become very significant today following the way the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. Employers are looking to hire resilient workers, and citizens desire resilient leaders. Amidst the cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation rates, it becomes increasingly apparent that developing resilience skills is required to cope with these back-to-back challenges.
Why is Resilience Very Important?
Resilience is the ability to cope with extreme difficulties or bounce back from a negative experience. Psychology Today defines it this way: “Resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties, traumatic events, or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals.”
Our work-life, personal/intimate relationships, and financial and family life often present varying degrees of challenges from time to time. It is a given that we will go through different types of challenges as each day passes. Some may be minor, others tough, and some are extreme, like death, divorce, or an unabating illness.
However, not everyone can cope well in tough times like those mentioned above, hence the need to build resilience skills.
How Resilience Contributes to Well-being
The ability to cope well in challenging circumstances implies that one’s mental well-being is in good shape.
Research of 314 students over four years revealed that resilience is positively correlated with indicators of mental well-being such as life satisfaction and positive emotions.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as
“…not just the absence of mental disorder. It is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises their potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to their community.”
A lack of resilience skills can make you view challenges from a victimised perspective. When the problems you encounter become overwhelming, you may believe that there is no escape, which might cause you to turn to risky or unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse. By developing your resilience skills, you can prevent mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
Also, having resilience skills can help you navigate stress at home and work. Research shows that stressful work environments contribute significantly to physical and mental illnesses. One study showed that women with resilience skills were better able to cope with the demands of juggling household responsibilities and their jobs.
Developing resilience skills promises a better quality of life in today’s high-stress world.
Traits of a Resilient Person
●Can adapt quickly to change.
●Ability to set personal goals and achieve them.
●Seeing the challenge as an opportunity
●Can engage the support of others.
●Can draw confidence from past successes
How to Develop Resilience Skills
A Harvard study found that resilience skills can be both innate and learned. That is good news for people who find it difficult to cope with challenges. However, resilience skills will take effort to build and maintain over time because it is an ongoing process.
Developing resilience entails modifying your perspective, attitudes, and behaviours to assist you in recovering and coping with distressing or traumatic events.
Cultivate Beliefs That Can Help You Bounce Back
A business magnate told Forbes Africa that he had the option of committing suicide or weathering his storm when an avalanche of misfortunes hit his business in 2008. He chose the option of weathering the storm.
In 2014, he recovered from the crisis, reclaiming his former position on Forbes’ richest list with a net worth of 1.8 billion dollars.
Kechi Okwuchi became a finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2017 and on the premiere season of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” in 2019. But this would not have been possible had Kechi not thought positively about a life-shattering event that happened to her in 2005.
She was one of the two survivors of a plane crash that claimed the lives of 107 passengers on board. The crash left Kechi with third-degree burns. She underwent over 100 surgeries, including skin grafts and non-invasive laser treatments.
“I learnt that we have little control over our lives and the things that happen to us as human beings. But we have to control how we choose to react to those things”, “says Kechi.
You may not have control over the setbacks that could happen in life, but you can choose how you respond to them.
When going through tough times, make an effort to look ahead. Consider how your life could change if you respond positively to the challenges. Please take note of the things that make you feel better as you go through the difficulties, so you can do them again and again until you get through them.
Self-care is an essential aspect of resilience.
Self-care must be prioritised to develop resilience. It is about our daily routines and activities that support our mental health. Self-care can be improved by paying attention to exercise, sleep, relaxation, and good eating habits.
●Exercise: It triggers the release of endorphins in the brain, which helps to improve your mood. It also eases physical tensions and aids in preventing the physical effects of stress.
●Sleep: It can be beneficial to take some downtime before bed to unwind and relax. It will help you sleep better at night.
●Food: Fast and processed foods might be quick and convenient for you, but they can harm your health. They will compromise your immune system leaving you susceptible to various illnesses.
While a diet rich in whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables can support physical and mental health. Fruits give your body the antioxidant levels it needs to fight stress. Fruits contain both simple sugars and complex carbohydrates, which increases serotonin levels in the blood. Serotonins are mood stabilizers that fight off depression.
Making your fruits and vegetables into juices rather than having sodas and carbonated beverages will provide an excellent source of antioxidants. And a regular consumption of any fruit or vegetable juice can assist the body in overcoming the adverse effects of stress, leading to better well-being.
●Meditation and Breathing: They are self-help relaxation techniques that can help you build mental agility and resilience.
Studies have shown that practising meditation can help people reduce anxiety and calm their minds. It helps to lessen conditions like high blood pressure, substance abuse, and chronic pain, and strengthens the immune system.
Also, breathing correctly is medicine for the body and mind. It is one of the simplest self-help and self-care practices that can help reduce stress.
Research shows that poor breathing influences many health problems. Proper breathing techniques reduce anxiety, insomnia, and stress. It also improves your energy and lung capacity and aids in quick recovery from many illnesses and diseases.
Increase Your Self Awareness
Self-awareness is the foundation of resilience skills, says Glyn Blackett, author of “Mind-Body Intelligence: How to Manage Your Mind With Biofeedback & Mindfulness”.
Becoming self-aware helps you to regain control of your thoughts and feelings. There is a strong connection between your thoughts and your body. Your body responds to how you think and feel and conditions your thoughts.
Blackett says, “Self-awareness is a prerequisite for choice and control. If your thoughts and feelings operate outside of awareness, they control you. If you want to control them, the first thing is to open up a window of understanding that is a chance to pause and consider before choosing, deciding, and acting. “
Good feedback is one of the most helpful ways to improve your well-being. You can increase your self-awareness by asking for regular feedback from those you trust who can give it to you in a beneficial way. While you do, you should also prepare your mind to receive criticism, as some feedback will reveal your flaws. It would hurt, but that is the point of the feedback, to know where you need to do better. You can also take psychometric and personality tests, which are scientific ways to improve your self-awareness.
Recognise Pressure Early on So You Can Take Action Promptly
Being exposed to pressure for an extended period and neglecting it while it builds up has dire consequences. It can erode your sense of judgement and cause you to be short-tempered. This, in turn, will affect your personal and professional relationships. In your relationship, it could lead to conflicts and unhappiness. At work, it may lead to poor performance or your team quitting on you if you manage one.
Practise recognising when pressure builds up so you can take action before it overwhelms you. Setting boundaries between work and personal life, honing your time management skills, taking note of your stressors, asking for help, and taking some time out are some things you can do to prevent work and life pressure from building up.
Cultivate a Growth Mindset
A fixed mindset holds that intelligence and abilities are innate and cannot be developed. The opposite of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset. A growth mindset views the brain as a muscle that can learn from adversity, increasing intelligence. One of the sure ways to develop resilience is to cultivate a growth mindset. This is because a growth mindset views obstacles and setbacks as learning opportunities. So when you next encounter a setback, think about what you can learn from the experience that can improve your life. That way, the negative effect of the problem would not overwhelm you.
Get professional help
Building resilience is essential to maintaining your well-being, so seeking professional help and support is worthwhile. The ability to learn varies from person to person. Some people can learn skills quickly on their own. At the same time, others get stuck or aren’t able to stay committed till they achieve what they want. However, they thrive better when they get the help of professionals. If you need to develop resilience skills with the assistance of a professional, do not hesitate to reach out to a counsellor, therapist, or licensed mental health professional.
Resilience skills have been scientifically proven to protect from a myriad of mental health problems, including common ones like depression and anxiety. In other words, building resilience skills is an asset to your health and well-being.