You probably know at least one person that always seems to bounce back no matter what life throws at them and you may wonder what their secret is. How do they cope so well with stress and setbacks? Chances are, it’s probably to do with their inner resilience.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulties. Some people have strong reserves of inner strength that they can call on in stressful times, which helps them to deal with the situation more positively than people who don’t have this.
This isn’t because they see things in a more positive light than people who aren’t very resilient. Even if you have resilience in abundance, it doesn’t shield you from being affected by emotions such as stress, pain and grief.
Resilient people are better equipped to use skills such as positive and healthy coping mechanisms to deal with problems and challenges and to move on from them. This doesn’t mean that they experience negative emotions any less strongly than people who are less resilient; they just have more of the inner strength that helps them to stay calm and not fall apart. Sometimes, this helps them to come out of the situation even stronger than they were before.
If you’re not resilient, it’s likely that stress and problems will get on top of you and perhaps even overwhelm you. This can mean that you spend a lot of time dwelling on them.
Why Are Some People More Resilient Than Others?
If you’re not one of life’s resilient people, you’re probably what it is that gives some people this strength while others have little or none of it.
Some of it is genetic and personality also plays a big part. This makes some people naturally resilient but it is something that can be worked on too.
Some of the things that experts believe can improve resilience include:
- Having an optimistic outlook and being able to see setbacks and difficulties as hurdles that you can negotiate rather than insurmountable obstacles, for example
- Having positive self esteem and having a positive view of yourself and your skills and abilities
- Finding a sense of purpose in the face of stress, adversity and difficulties e.g. getting more involved in your community, finding strength in faith/spirituality and engaging in activities that are important to you
- Having a strong support network around you
- Being flexible in your attitude and feeling able to embrace change as an opportunity to go in a new direction, for example
- Looking after and nurturing yourself, especially when problems occur
- Being able to come up with solutions to issues and problems (people who aren’t resilient can often have “tunnel vision” and feel overwhelmed by things that happen to them, rather than being naturally inclined to find ways to move through the situation)
- Believing that for the most part, we have the power to shape our lives through the decisions we make (also known as an “internal locus of control”)