Becoming More Resilient

Learning to Become Resilient

Dealing with loss and change cannot be avoided; they are inevitable parts of life. Everyone experiences setbacks, with some being minor and others being highly traumatic and life-altering.

Resilience is what helps people through challenges through psychological strength, the ability to cope, and the capability to bounce back afterward. This piece will discuss what is necessary to build resilience into your life.  

What are the Characteristics of a Resilient Person?

People utilize many different coping skills to deal with stress and trauma. They range from dissociating away from the event to literally forgetting the trauma and leaving it behind them like a cat they do not want.

However, there are some very specific characteristics to a person who is resilient, and these qualities make their lives better and more triumphant.

Resilient people are completely aware of their emotional reactions, the behaviors of those around them, and the situations they find themselves in. By keeping aware, resilient people will maintain control of the situation and take steps to tackle the problem.

Resilient people also perceive themselves as holding control over their own lives. They do not blame outside sources for their failures or problems. Resilient people harbor an internal locus of control, believing their own actions affect the outcome of an event and recognizing that some outside traumas such as a natural disaster are outside of their control.

Resilient people have problem-solving skills that aid them when a crisis appears and are capable of leading themselves to a safe outcome. Often, people who find themselves in dangerous situations develop tunnel vision and fail to see important details or to take advantage of ways to help themselves. Resilient people avoid this pitfall by brainstorming ideas to overcome the situation.

Resilient people also identify as a survivor of trauma, not as a victim. Victimhood strips away any ability to deal with the negative emotions and harm done by trauma. Seeing oneself as a survivor offers strength and endurance that no one can take away because you have become an overcomer rather than a hapless victim.

Methods to Increase Your Resilience in Hard Times

No matter what struggles you face in life, whether they be everyday setbacks or severe traumatic events, increasing your resilience will help you gain and keep control over your life and cultivate change. Below are four methods that can aid in building your resilience stockpiles.

Take Stock of What You Can Control. Some situations are just not in a person’s control, such as a tornado or a hurricane. However, being optimistic and focusing on the things in life one can control will change the way you respond to difficult times. Optimists have an accurate view of the control they do have and recognize the circumstances where they do not so that they can use their intelligence and coping skills to overcome adversity.

Rethink the Way You Interpret Your Situation. Find a way to reframe your situation in a more positive light while remaining in reality. Humans have the ability to decide how they are going to interpret traumatic events or everyday stressors to find the positive in any disaster. Resilient people find a way to reinterpret their traumas in a positive light, such as looking at what lessons have been learned from their experience and have a greater appreciation of life.    

Begin to Embrace Failure. While failure is difficult, resilient people adopt the perspective that failure is a teaching tool to help avoid problems in the future. Learn to reframe your failures as exercising your resiliency muscles and the building up of your resiliency reserves. By looking at failure as a friend and not a foe, you’ll be amazed how your confidence level will rise and how much better you’ll be able to push the limits of your curiosity.

Seek Out Support from Others. Becoming resilient does not mean you become a lone wolf able to take on the world no matter what. Ultimately, a sense of community raises your ability to become truly resilient. Knowing there is someone out there that understands where you are in life is incredibly stabilizing and offers strength to build more resilience.   

Resilient People Are Not Afraid to Ask for Help

Being resourceful is part of resilience but it is critical to understand when one needs to ask for help. Resilient people are not too prideful or afraid to reach out for help when they need it. There are many forms this help can take on such as:

Psychotherapy: Talk therapy is one of the best known forms of aid that resilient people might reach out to for help. Sitting with a therapist and brainstorming what is wrong and ways to either fix a problem or learn to deal with it is incredibly empowering.

Books: There are thousands of self-help books out there written by people with similar problems as yours. Reading a book can offer insight into how someone else handled a problem similar to yours and also hope.

Online Message Boards: Connecting to communities online who have met similar challenges is a powerful way to feel less alone and more connected to people who understand what you are going through.  

Support Groups: Attending a support group meeting allows you to talk about the challenges you have and to network with others who can provide support and compassion.

Summing It All Up

Resiliency is the characteristic of not only being able to meet a trauma or other challenge head-on but also to bounce back afterwards. Those who attain this ability do not blame their problems on other people or circumstances, but instead look inward to find their answers.

There are many methods one can use to increase your resiliency including recognizing what you can control and what you cannot, reinterpreting your situation, embracing failure, and seeking out the help of others.

While some traumas are deep and disastrous, those who develop resiliency know they must reach out to others and seek advice from a psychotherapist, a book, online message boards, or support groups to strengthen themselves.

You too can become resilient and if you already are this article should have reaffirmed that fact. Resiliency is a vital tool for overcoming childhood trauma by giving the tools to recognize the damages it has done and giving you the strength to overcome them.

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

“When we learn how to become resilient, we learn how to embrace the beautifully broad spectrum of the human experience.” Jaeda Dewalt

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