Major disruptions are a “gotcha” we all experience at one time or another in our lives. We get fired, suffer a break up, get laid off or passed over; a loved one dies, a project stalls or gets cancelled. The list, unfortunately, is endless.
For some, the impact of hard times is overwhelming. Recovery, if it comes at all, can be painfully slow. Others show resilience and are admirably able to glide through these times quite easily…bouncing back quickly to a normal life.
In my previous blog, I explored how the brain can get stuck in a pain avoidance cycle, and how to update your brain program so new insights and solutions arise. The next step in that process is about developing your emotional resilience. Resilience is the strength required to adapt to change, and it acts as your internal compass so you can resourcefully navigate an upset.
Below are seven keys to developing better emotional resilience for when life throws you a curve ball.
1. A Sense of Hope and Trust in the World
Resilient people believe in the basic goodness of the world and trust that things will turn out all right. This positive attitude allows them to weather times when everything seems bleak and to look for and accept support. Choosing to hold this perspective gives you the ability to hope for a better future, and hope is a powerful emotional energy!
2. Interpreting Experiences in a New Light
The ability to look at a situation in a new way; a skill called reframing, can minimize the impact of a difficult situation. Resilient people take a creative approach toward solving a problem, and don’t use an old definition for a new challenge.
3. A Meaningful System of Support
One of the best ways to endure a crisis is to have the support of another person who can listen and validate your feelings. Knowing that others care and will support you, decreases the feeling of isolation, especially when tackling a problem alone. It’s important to choose people you trust. It may take several friends…each of whom can provide different kinds of support. Resilient people aren’t stoic loners. They know the value of expressing their fears and frustrations, as well as receiving support, coaching or guidance from friends, family or a professional.
4. A Sense of Mastery and Control Over Your Destiny
You may not be able to predict the future, but you can tackle a problem instead of feeling at the mercy of forces outside of your control. Resilient people know that ultimately their survival and the integrity of their life values depend on their ability to act, rather than remain passive. Tough times call for you to tap into your own sense of personal power and responsibility.
5. Self-Reflection and Insight
Life’s experiences provide fertile ground for learning. Asking yourself questions that invite introspection can open a door to new understanding and appreciation of who you are and what you stand for. Giving voice to your thoughts and feelings leads to insight and helps transform the meaning of a problem into something useful. Resilient people learn from life situations and do not succumb to punishing themselves because of decisions made in the past.
6. A Wide Range of Interests
People who show resilience in the face of adversity are those who have a diversity of interests. They’re open to new experiences and ideas. Because their lives are rich and varied, it’s easier for them to find relief from the single mindedness and worry that often accompanies crisis.
7. Sense of Humor
Have you ever had a wry laugh during a difficult situation? The ability to see the absurdity, irony, or genuine humor in a situation stimulates our sense of hope and possibility. Humor has both psychological and physiological benefits in relieving stress, because it encourages a swift change in the perception of your circumstances. And when your thoughts change, your mood follows!
When unexpected events turn life upside down, it’s the degree to which your resiliency comes into play that makes these “make-or-break” situations an opportunity for growth. The good news is that each of us has the capacity to reorganize our life after a disruption, and to achieve new levels of strength and meaningfulness.
Though it’s easy to feel vulnerable during chaos and uncertainty, life disruptions are not necessarily a bad thing. They help us grow and meet future challenges. It’s a lot like a bone that was once fragile or broken, is now strong from being used.
It’s a good idea to improve and develop these seven areas now, verses waiting until adversity hits, because you’ll bounce back quicker.
Author’s content used under license, © 2010 Claire Communications