Togetherall: How To Build Emotional Resiliency

Struggling to cope? Find out how to spring back from, and successfully adapt to, life’s setbacks and adversities with these top tips from the American Psychological Association.

Resilient people are flexible in their thinking, endure difficulty with a realistic outlook and often use the experience in self-empowering ways. But resilient people are not necessarily born that way; experts are not in agreement about how much of resilience is genetic and many argue that resilience can be learned.

Tip 1: Make connections

Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in local groups and organisations provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Helping out others when they need it can also benefit the helper.

Tip 2: Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems

You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be more favorable. Note any subtle ways in which this makes you feel better as you deal with difficult situations. ‘You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events.’

Tip 3: Accept that change is a part of living

Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting that some circumstances cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

Tip 4: Move towards your goals

Develop some realistic goals. Accomplish something regularly — however small — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself: ‘What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?’

5. Take decisive actions

Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery

People often learn something about themselves and may find they’ve grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship report better relationships, a greater sense of personal strength even while feeling vulnerable, an increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and a heightened appreciation for life.

7. Nurture a positive view of yourself

Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.

8. Keep things in perspective

Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. This can help you avoid blowing the event out of proportion.

9. Maintain a hopeful outlook

An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualising what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

10. Take care of yourself

Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience. Source: American Psychological Association Dr. Deborah Serani is a psychologist who specialises in trauma and depression. Read more from Dr. Deb by visiting her popular blog. 

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