First things first: You are here right now (wherever it is that you are) and despite everything that 2020 has thrown at us, you’ve taken a moment to read this article about resiliency.
That, in and of itself, is a step to building resilience. So congrats! You’re probably closer than you might think.
Your natural, inherent resiliency has been tested over and over this year, from the increasing global COVID-19 pandemic, to the rise in awareness of racial injustice, record North American unemployment rates, and the tumultuous recent U.S. election.
Every day (sometimes every hour… maybe every minute) brought a seemingly endless string of new challenges. To make it to the next day or hour or minute, you had to muster as much courage and willpower as you could just to keep moving forward.
Each time you did, whether you knew it or not, you were becoming more resilient. And that leads to one of the core misconceptions about resilience:
You don’t become resilient despite struggle and failure — you become resilient because of struggle and failure.
At its core, the definition of psychological resilience is the ability for a person to recover quickly from difficulties. Like an elastic (which is literally resilient), we have inside us a capacity to be pulled to our limits by adverse events in our lives and then bounce back to a new state where we’ve learned from our experience and become better for it.
When we face significant trauma, tragedy or stress — and it’s a matter of “when,” not “if,” — resilience is the power to adapt, weather that storm as well as we can, and get back to feeling better faster.
You can learn to be more resilient
Here’s the good news and why this matters: Resiliency isn’t an inherent trait that you either have or don’t. It’s a mindset and a pattern of thoughts, behaviors and actions that you can build and grow within yourself.
You are as resilient as you think you are
One of the key elements of resilience seems really simple but is easier said than done. It’s your perception, and whether you see an event as something you won’t be able to withstand or as something that, even with great difficulty, you believe you can overcome.
Whether you think you can or think you can’t… you’re right.
Being aware of and believing in your own capacity will help set you up for great resilience. Now, this isn’t something you can just “think” and it happens. Like any important mindset change, it’s habitual and something you need to actively nurture.
Here are two step-by-step Health Programs that will help you do exactly that in about two weeks total:
Your inherent ability to see thoughts and feelings as positive or negative is a key skill in developing resilience.
To become more resilient you need to first be aware of when you believe you won’t be able to overcome a stressful situation. The first step is to learn how to catch your own negative self-talk and redirect it.
Seek help when you need it
At first, it might seem like talking to a therapist or taking advantage of professional psychological services is a sign of weakness. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Recognizing when you want to make a life change and looking for help is one of the strongest things you can do.
Plus, it’s a sign of greatly increasing resilience. That’s because building your own fortitude is an on-going, intentional process. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t necessarily happen alone.
You probably had a teacher to learn an instrument you play or a sport you love. It makes just as much sense to need a guide as you learn more about yourself and how to tap into the incredible well of resilience you have inside you.
Ready to know more? Chat real-time with a care navigator to find out which resources you’re covered for, get recommendations for professionals in your area, or just share what it is you need and let them give you the right expert advice on what to do next.
Resilience is more about adapting than returning to “normal”
What’s normal anyway? You probably wish you had a dollar for every time you’ve heard the phrase “the new normal” in 2020. We do, too. That’s because the idea of normal is comforting, and the idea of increasing isolation and COVID-19 related lockdowns with no apparent end in sight is terrifying. So of course we’re on the lookout for the “new,” or “next,” or anything that seems like a type of normal.
This helps highlight another key aspect of resilience — it’s not always about getting back to where you were, it can be about learning and evolving into a brand new place you hadn’t even thought of.
There are hurtful, horrible life-changing events with effects you simply can’t predict until you’ve gone through them and come out on the other side. If you lose a family member, if you go through a divorce, if you get let go from your dream job, if you learn you have a life-threatening disease — no matter how you manage, you won’t be the same person as you were before.
Part of resilience is learning how to recognize when there’s no going back, but when there is a path forward to adapt into a different version of yourself. Stronger, more flexible, and, maybe, more kind and appreciative.
And, above all of it, magnificently resilient and more ready to forge your own path the next time life’s inevitable challenges come your way.