Life can be incredibly difficult sometimes. When you have to deal with the harsh events that are a natural part of life, it can be emotionally and physically trying. Facing tragedy or extreme hardship is never easy, but learning to handle them better can make a significant difference in the way you react and recover. Some people don't have the resources to deal with these events, so they're never able to fully overcome these challenges, but others can overcome difficulties time and again. The ability to face and overcome life's hardships is referred to as resilience. Read on to learn how this skill can help you.
At some point, everyone will have to deal with an event that will test their emotional strength and stability. For some, it will be the loss of a loved one, an injury, or an illness. Resilience training gives you the tools to adapt to, manage, and recover from this kind of adversity. Although it's a relatively new method of training, it's grown to help thousands of people every year.
A resilience training program is usually very short. It might only require a few sessions of a few hours each. The content and length will vary depending on the program, but all of them will assess your resiliency factors. They'll also give you tools and advice to boost your coping skills and your support network, so you can improve the way you process difficult events and experiences. After the training, it's ultimately up to you to employ these tools. This is why these programs generally recommend a good support system combined with talk therapy.
After resilience training, people often report improved quality of life and a decrease in depression and anxiety following emotional events. They experience many of the following benefits as well:
Resilience is your threshold for adversity. It's your ability to adapt and move past major stresses and trauma. Unlike an attribute like strength, the benefits of resilience are seen over long periods. It helps you maintain a positive quality of life after negative events, which in turn helps you avoid illnesses and the long-term damage stress can cause. High resilience also allows you to feel more in control of your life and more able to affect an outcome.
People with low resilience tend to focus on negative outcomes and problems. Stresses can compound, and some will eventually feel overwhelmed. Using a coping mechanism that will aggravate problems, such as drinking or binge eating, is also a sign of low resilience. If you can't handle and move past problems, it will take a toll on your mental and physical health, and you're unlikely to enjoy your life as much as you could with improved resilience.
There are a number of factors that contribute to resilience. Therefore, these are the skills that resilience training seeks to teach or encourages you to develop.
Resilience training aims to help participants embrace certain mentalities, become more self-aware, and develop skills to manage and bounce back from adversity. These objectives are accomplished through the following techniques.
Resiliency training offers stress reduction techniques geared towards a variety of personalities, including meditation, yoga, exercise, visualization, deep breathing, and systematic muscle relaxation. You'll learn that it's also wise to avoid unnecessary stressors and minimize necessary ones.
Traditional coping skills like time with family and friends, spirituality, and therapy work for many people, but they don't necessarily work for everyone. Others find solace in hobbies as diverse as comedy or a form of martial arts. To increase your resiliency, find something that gives you a period of peace and tranquility from negative thoughts during stressful times.
Knowing yourself can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, so you can set realistic goals. Self-awareness also helps you improve because you can see what you might need to change about yourself. Furthermore, it's integral to having healthy levels of self-esteem. With greater self-awareness, you'll be able to keep things in perspective, so you can stop catastrophizing minor situations and make things better where possible.
When you cultivate hope and look for ways to move forward, you can learn to take positive steps instead of detaching from your circumstances. You may be able to take decisive actions that will improve the situation itself, or your actions may minimize the damage it causes you. Sometimes, it's good enough to simply be there for the people who depend on you. That in itself can be a positive action that can help you cope with difficult times.
A growing body of work suggests that helping children become more resilient can better prepare them for sudden and traumatic shocks. These can have significant effects on their development and constitution later in life, but resiliency can minimize these effects. However, building resilience in children often goes beyond teaching skills; instead the environment where a child is raised may need to be addressed.
A strong bond with their primary caregiver starts at or possibly even before birth. Skin-to-skin contact and attention reinforce these bonds. At about the age of five, the child needs to be given more control over their activities and should begin to solve their own problems. Learning to problem solve starts to build independence and shows that the caregiver trusts the child, both of which can build resilience.
While the debate over praising children can be heated, people who advocate for more resilience suggest that praise should be given only when due. They believe that constant praise may reduce a child's ability to incorporate praise into decision-making, thereby reducing its potency. To increase the effectiveness of praise, it's best to be specific. "You cleaned your room all by yourself and did such a good job picking up your toys!" is more helpful than "you're the best kid ever!"
You can also help your child build self-esteem by getting them involved in volunteer projects, constructive hobbies, or skill-based activities. The child will not only feel better about themselves, but they'll also learn empathy along with other skills they can use later in life.
If you're looking to build your own resilience, there are a few routes you can take. Here are some of the most common methods.
The Master Resilience Training Program (MRT) was originally developed for the U.S. Army in collaboration with the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. It's a ten-day program consisting of seven modules, and it's a part of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. It was intended to help soldiers and their families preemptively cope with the stress of combat, loss, and PTSD, but it was also designed to be easily picked up and taught to others.
Master Resilience Training is divided into multiple modules that include:
Resilience training revolves around helping you become more self-aware and introducing you to various outlets to relieve stress. Some people can learn these skills by reading, learning, and communicating with others. To help you better understand where to start, here are two outstanding resources:
This is a curriculum and handbook for teaching resilience classes. The 12-session course can be used in many different settings, often as a part of helper-training, and is designed specifically to help people learn to overcome shame. The book contains both individual and group activities using cognitive-behavioral techniques.
The title refers to the fact that most of our lives require and are lived inside of a plan B--a life that we didn't necessarily choose. The books helps you put situations into perspective and build mental strength. It also has sections on recovery and how to enjoy life again.
You can use therapy to augment your resilience training or as a way to start overcoming issues in your life, which is a step in many resilience programs. Although therapy can take many forms and can have many goals, ideally it will be led by someone who is familiar with resilience training education or research.
General therapy session are a common way to help work through and deal with the challenging situations that life presents. If you need support, know that help is available.
Should you choose to participate in therapy, working with a licensed counselor at BetterHelp is both convenient and affordable. Better yet, you can meet online from the comfort of your own home or wherever you have internet access. A trained therapist can help you work through any issues and increase the benefits you receive from resilience training or education. With a little help, you can optimize your training and better prepare for a healthier and more stable life. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people working through a range of life's challenges.
"I've been working with Nicole for a year now. During that time I faced some of the toughest situations ever and she was there with me every step of the way. With her great advice and support, I saw the bigger picture and learned to appreciate myself more thanks to her empathetic approach. Always quick to respond to any message, always on time for sessions and always helpful. I'm absolutely sure that without her, I wouldn't have come as far as I did."
"As I maneuver through difficulties, Krista has made the experience a little bit easier, less lonely, and something of a challenge to overcome rather than a reason to be stagnant. I'm grateful for her professional skills and long-term partnership I have been fortunate to be able to build. Living this past year mindfully the best I can made me see my strengths and things I need to work on clearer. The resilience I've gained and Krista helped me realise became a quality of mine I'm very proud of. I believe the skillset and tolerance I'll continue to gain living mindfully in my 20s will be an asset that will help me tackle any issues that come up in the future. Krista really understands my values and aspirations. She encourages me to pursue my passion and chase my dream no matter the many, long-lasting, face-scrunching hiccups along the way. I'm also thankful for Better Help. This is only possible online as I move and travel a lot."
By simply learning about resiliency, you're already that much better equipped to handle future stress. With the resources we've presented and your determination to face the future head-on, you have everything you need. Take action to enjoy a more resilient and stable life.