Resilience Is the ability to adapt to life’s misfortunes and setbacks and is a critical skill for success.
In this last article of my Ease the Overwhelm series, let’s talk about not letting all of life’s trials and tribulations overwhelm you in the first place.
Sometimes a little resilience is called for, such as my commute this morning. Absolutely no good reason to be stop-and-go on the freeway for two miles.
Sometimes life hands us a doozy and we have to knuckle down hard. Three years ago, at the age of thirteen, my niece got sick and ended up blind.
Whew! That was a curve ball no one saw coming!
How do you recover from something like that?
Turns out, some people are naturally more resilient than others, but all of us can cultivate healthy ways to move through adversity better.
How do we do it?
Here are five research-based ways to increase your resilience.
Expect to face challenges and learn to adjust your goals and adapt.
My mother watched my children for many years. During that time, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and my mom took her for all her treatments.
That required a lot of flexibility on all our parts to coordinate my work schedule and therefore my mother’s work schedule, and all the doctor appointments and after-care that my grandmother required.
Try to see the positive lesson in every experience, including the negative ones!
There’s an old adage that goes “Every cloud has a silver lining” and finding that can become a habit when it’s consistently practiced.
.My daughter was born six weeks early and not breathing. After a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, she came home and never had another issue.
At the time, I was extremely worried and stressed out, but as her health continued to quickly improve, I saw that silver lining.
At six weeks premature, she was already 6 pounds. If she had gone to term, I would have been birthing a 9 pounder, so my silver lining was saving all the “wear and tear” of those extra three pounds!
It’s important not to be paralyzed when adversity hits. There is usually something you can do and action makes us feel better.
Even if that action is asking someone for help or advice.
Quite recently a friend of mine was having trouble with her son at college. He actually wanted to quit. He hated it, wasn’t doing well and it was a waste of his time and money.
She belonged to a Facebook community group of women around the world who supported each other through thick and thin. I knew this, so I encouraged her to post and see what happened.
She did and she was amazed at the response she got! 200 responses from women who had gone through the same (or similar) thing and their advice was invaluable.
That action totally changed how my friend saw the situation with her son.
She felt better for having taken action AND felt better hearing all the responses.
I won’t belabor this point, as it was a key tenant in my last blog post Self Care Can Ease the Overwhelm – Don’t Make It An Afterthought
Exercise, eat healthy and get enough rest, and handling what life throws at you is easier.
Holding on to your sense of humor can be tough, but is probably my most used resilience skill.
Just like seeing the positive in every experience, finding the humor in every situation becomes second nature.
A few years ago, I had an MRI that required an IV be put in. My veins are very cooperative, yet the (very young) tech missed. She couldn’t believe she missed, so she started jiggling the IV around, certain magic would happen. She got increasingly agitated and finally said “I’m hurting you, aren’t I?”
Saying that would NOT have helped, so I just said “Well, I’m not recommending it to my friends as a spa treatment!”
She laughed, relaxed and tried again on the other arm to great success.
I encourage all of you to work on these skills all the time. With resilience, having it before you need it is crucial if you want to avoid that overwhelmed feeling in the first place.
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: “It’s not denial. I’m just very selective about the reality I accept” Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes