Resiliency is one of the most critical skills you can have to not only make the most of your day-to-day life but also to endure trials. It affects the way you handle stress, both in the moment and long afterward. Like a muscle, resiliency gets stronger the more you hone it. Here are a few ways to strengthen it.
1. Connect with Community
This life was never meant to be a solo experience, especially when it comes to tough times. As Hari Ravichandran says, “…when we come together to solve problems, great things can happen amid the most challenging situations.” Connect with like-minded friends, colleagues, and family members to build a support network for yourself when you run into trials — and also to serve as a group to celebrate with during the good times as well. You might encounter these people at a “third place” such as a church, club, or even a gym, but where you spend time with them is less important than the effort you make to keep the relationship with them strong. When difficult times do come, don’t be afraid to ask for help from these people.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Research shows that mindfulness, meditation, and simple awareness of what’s going on in your body can help you handle stress much more effectively. Pair these practices with other mindful activities such as yoga, qi gong, tai chi, or breathing exercises and you’ll find even more benefits. You can practice these techniques on your own, with an app, or in a class, but the important thing is to practice them on an ongoing basis. This helps train your mind to return to a more peaceful state — a huge asset when difficult times come around.
3. Stay Active
There’s nothing like exercise to keep your mind and body resilient. When you get active regularly, your overall stress levels decrease, your sleep quality improves, and your mood lifts. A consistent exercise routine also helps establish a rhythm and a sense of predictability which may help you maintain a sense of normalcy when something in your life gets turned upside down. In addition, regular physical activity will help your body return to a stable state after a stressful event.
4. Nourish Your Body
Stress can deplete nutrient stores in your body, so nourishing it well all year round may help build a buffer to minimize the draining effects of a difficult season. Certain foods and herbs such as chamomile, Brazil nuts, turmeric, eggs, and fatty fish may also help ease stress and anxiety, allowing your body to physically calm down and return to its normal state. Staying hydrated will also contribute to a nourished body and therefore a more ideal stress response.
5. Cultivate Gratitude and Optimism
Your mindset has an enormous impact on your resilience. Optimism is a key practice for maintaining resiliency. Staying hopeful and keeping a strong vision for the future will work wonders when it comes to your ability to stay stable in the midst of an uncertain situation. In addition, taking stock of the things in your life that are going well or things you’re grateful for can help you maintain a “big-picture view” of life, even when the way ahead seems uncertain or challenging. Gratitude lists can keep you grounded during stressful seasons by helping you focus on tangible, positive things that are surrounding you.
6. Prioritize Self-Care
Self-care makes a huge contribution to your sense of resiliency. The definition of self-care can get a bit fuzzy, but in short, it means carving out regular time for yourself to look after your own well-being. This includes your physical, mental, emotional, relational, and even spiritual health. Daily practices, a weekly self-care session, or a monthly date to take intentional care of yourself all count. So, that daily journaling session, weekly run club, and monthly spa date all count. Consider adding self-care to your planner to help you prioritize this key time. When you make regular steps to invest in yourself, you avoid the problem of having to draw from a near-empty well during difficult times.
7. Celebrate Small Victories
It can feel nearly impossible to stay resilient when everything around you is a mess. Keep your wits about you by celebrating the little wins. Practice this when times are good, and it will be natural to do when times are bad. This will improve your perspective by bringing positive things into focus. In a similar vein, many people find progress diaries or habit trackers also help them stay motivated to power through a challenging time.
Resiliency is often something that is built over time. By starting now and investing in these habits to support it, you can develop a stable mind, healthy spirit and body, and optimistic vision that will remain strong through whatever life throws your way.