These are the kinds of questions many of us have been forced to answer in the last 5 months. Schools have been forced to close, businesses have been forced shut millions of people have lost their jobs and income, while many others are fighting for their lives. Though the current reality may be new, dealing with change, loss and stressful situations are a part of life and everyone will experience it at some point. What matters most is your response to these situations; will you fall into an abyss of depression or will you fight and recover from your knock down?
What is Resilience?
Have you ever wondered how two people can experience similar trauma but one can bounce back faster than the other? Scientist refer to people who quickly recover from negative situations as resilient. Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. Being resilient doesn’t mean that you are immune to pain, depression or change. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Resilience means being able to adapt to a current negative (or new reality) and turn that negative into a positive for you. Key word to note: ADAPT! Resilience is the reason why a person can lose everything but their life, and still be able to recover two times what they lost. It’s a continuous process that relies heavily on your thoughts, ideas and beliefs about life.
Now more than ever is it important to talk about resilience. The world is filled with so much uncertainties. Everyday seems like a brutal fight for survival and this fight can get tiring. When this happens, how do you manage your emotions while navigating the constantly changing environment? You manage by learning 9 key characteristics of resilience. These are listed below.
9 ways to build resilience
- Be Optimistic
- see the positive in every situation
- Self belief
- never doubt your ability to recover from a negative situation
- Control of self
- make your own decisions and take responsibility for the outcome whether negative or positive.
- Willingness to adapt
- no two days are the same. Life will change everyday, therefore you must learn to adapt and adjust as well.
- Willingness to be flexible
- perfection is what you determine it is.
- Ability to solve problems
- it’s one thing to have a challenge and it’s another thing to find a solution. You must learn to resolve your problems as they arise.
- Emotional awareness
- pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. The patterns of our thoughts have a way of controlling our mood and action. Learn to recognize different emotions and pay attention to how it affects your ability to engage and connect with other people
- Social support
- man is a social being, meaning we need people. If you want to go far in life, you need to intentionally build a social support system. Everybody needs somebody
- Sense of humor
- even though your problem may seem difficult, learn to laugh. Laughter is a good therapy. Don’t take yourself so seriously, have some fun.
I recently had to pull myself out of depression. On March 13, 2020 (which was Friday the 13th by the way) Liberia reported it’s first case of COVID-19 and everything started taking a downward turn for me. My day job enforced social distancing which required employees who could work remotely to work from home and for those who couldn’t they were asked to take a leave of absence. I also had to close down my business and lay off my ladies because of the national state of emergency and stay home order. All of this was just so overwhelming for me that for three weeks I was at home depressed and demotivated. I struggled to keep engaging my customers and followers online. I struggled to keep up with my tasks at work. It was a tough time for me but I recovered. How did I recover?
I remembered my “why”. I remembered my passion. I remembered who I was and what I wanted to be. I remembered all the people who looked up to me for strength and I told myself that “it’s OK to be afraid, tired, demotivated and anxious but giving up is not an option”. It took everything I had to pull myself up but I did it ,and so can you. Being resilient comes naturally for some people while others look to other people for help. If you are not naturally a resilient person, you can use the 9 characteristic listed above as a starting point. There are so many resources on the internet to help and you can find some here, here, and here.
How do you deal with challenges and setback? Let me know in the comment session below.