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Improve your resiliency

Published in Mental Health, For the Health of It Author: Diane Reller, MS, LMFT, LADC

Do you know someone who always points out the positives — no matter how horrible the situation is?

Some people are knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever — that’s resilience. Psychologists recognize that resilient people have positive attitudes, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions and can see failure as a form of helpful feedback. You don’t have to be born with these traits. They can be learned and developed.

Being resilient does not mean that you don’t experience difficulty or distress. Rather than letting failure overcome you and drain your resolve, you find a way to bounce back.

How do you handle the ups and downs of life? To improve your resiliency:

  • Find a purpose. Try to think of the “lesson within” – how can an adverse event bring meaning to your life?
  • Make connections. Supportive relationships with close family members and friends are important. Ask for help when you need it. On the flipside, assisting others in their time of need will make you feel good.
  • Keep it in perspective. Highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you respond. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better, and try to stay flexible in your approach.
  • Accept change. Don’t dwell on circumstances that are beyond your control.
  • Develop realistic goals. Take action toward your goal every day — even if it is just one little thing. Keep moving forward rather than just wishing the problems would go away.
  • Be nice to yourself. Nurture a positive view of yourself and your abilities.
  • Stay hopeful. Be optimistic that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want instead of worrying about what you fear.
  • Pamper yourself. Take care of your physical self: eat right, exercise and get plenty of sleep. Find ways to relax and relieve stress. Do something nice for yourself every day.

Getting help when you need it is crucial. Besides your personal support network, you can try:

  • Self-help books
  • Online resources
  • Support groups
  • A licensed mental health professional