Approaching Difficult Times with Resilience – Guy Gentile

The road to a healthy, successful life is often filled with detours of trauma, adversity, stress and more, so developing a level of mental toughness is essential to emerge hardship. While changes and challenges affect people differently, overall adapting to life-altering situations is stressful and takes a mental toll. Learning how to be resilient not only helps you through rough times, it also empowers you to improve your life along the way and grow . 

While there are many things in life that are out of your control, resilience and the way you handle situations is something you can manage, modify and learn from. According to the American Psychological Association, resilience involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that anyone can learn and develop. Resilience is a skill, not a personality trait, so just like building muscles by lifting weights, you can increase your resilience throughout time with practice. By practicing healthy habits, your mental capacity grows stronger and becomes better equipped to handle difficult and traumatic events.

Prioritize Relationships

When going through difficult times, having a solid support system can make all the difference. Good supporters help reflect back what they see when you’re too immersed or overwhelmed to process and cope properly. They know how to calm you, rather than frustrate you and accept feedback on what isn’t helpful for your needs. Developing healthy relationships with people that know how to listen offer encouragement, can help you process hard times and support resilience.

Make sure to build relationships with those who are empathetic and understanding, it will help you feel less alone when you are dealing with difficult times. By focusing on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals, you will be able to feel validated by your feelings when you reach out to your support system.

Cultivate Self Awareness

Ignorance is bliss. While this sounds like an ideal world, it may not be the best to live by. Being blissfully aware may help you through a bad day, but it is not the best strategy in the long-term. Self-awareness helps you get in touch with your psychological and physiological needs. By knowing what you need and don’t need, you’ll be able to reach out to your support system for extra help.

Being aware of the situation, your emotions, and ability to handle it, builds strength and helps deflect future criticism, alienation, ridicule and other problems. Those who are self-aware and resilient are confident of their capabilities. These individuals draw strength from within, thus leading them to be less influenced by their surroundings or circumstances.

Practice Acceptance

Resilient people understand that stress and pain are a part of life. However, that these emotions are not permanent and healing takes effort and time. They acknowledge the situation and don’t give up or let stress take over.

Part of resiliency is learning to give in to the emotions of the experience while trusting you will bounce back. When things don’t go as planned, resilient people look for the lesson within the situation. Instead of viewing the setback as a failure or taking it too seriously, they understand it is an inevitable part of the learning process in life. They use the struggle to become a better version of themselves and look forward to where it will take them.

Part of acceptance is giving up control. Coming to terms that there are external circumstances out of your control will help you understand that you have to focus on what you can. While you can’t control the situation, you can manage your attitude, emotions and how you behave.

When it seems like difficult times are never going to end, remember to always focus on how you are going to learn and recover. It takes time to cultivate a good group of supporters, self-awareness and acceptance, but practicing these life skills now prepares you for the future. In the long run, managing your mental well-being is always important and pays off when life gets difficult.

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