“He that can’t endure the bad will not live to see the good.” Jewish Proverb
Resilience is an important behavior to develop and strengthen on the path to happiness and fulfillment. Every single one of us is going to travel a bumpy road at some point in our lives. Eventually, most of us will bounce back and thrive again. We all have some resilience. However, the strength of our resilience determines how quickly we can bounce back.
Remember the Buddhist proverb, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional?” This proverb helps to remind us that, although, we will feel pain and loss in life, we do not have to suffer. When we feel pain, our body is telling us that something is wrong and we need to take care of it. When we feel anxiety, depression or stress, our psyche is telling us something is wrong and we need to take care of it. If we ignore the pain or the psyche long enough, it becomes suffering. When our resilience is strong, we can more easily identify the messages that our body and mind are sending us and we can take defensive action quickly to minimize our suffering.
A belief in oneself and a strong support system are two key elements of resilience. People who believe in themselves tend to view setbacks with curiosity. They can examine the problem, look for a solution and try again. One way to improve trust in yourself is to reflect on your past accomplishments and any setbacks you may have encountered. Remind yourself that you have successfully jumped over hurdles in the past and that you can do it again. Helping others is another way to build self-esteem. Whenever you can, volunteer your time helping others in a way that’s meaningful to you.
When we have people that we can talk to and rely on in times of distress, we tend to bounce back more quickly. They help us see things in perspective and remind us of our value. To build up your support system, make it a priority to take the time to connect with the people in your life who are important to you. Consider joining a group or a religious organization for more opportunities to make positive connections. Not only will this shore up your resilience, but it will also lessen your stress and make you feel happier!
To strengthen your resilience, work on building up your self-esteem and your support system and practice these two activities every day. You will notice your resilience increase, and as an extra benefit, your happiness will increase also.
- Write down 5 things that you are grateful for. Do this once a day to make it a habit. By practicing gratitude regularly, your brain will automatically start looking for more things to be grateful for, helping to erase negative thought patterns.
- Use mindfulness to train your mind to focus on the “here and now.” To start practicing mindfulness, check in with your surroundings a few times a day. Notice the people around you, the smell of the air and the sounds. Notice how your body feels. Are your muscles tense? Stretch and do some neck and shoulder rolls to help ease the tension. Pay attention to the feeling of the stretches. The more you practice mindfulness, the more automatic it becomes. Then when faced with a problem, you can more easily focus on the actual problem without becoming paralyzed with fear and worry about the possible outcomes.
As your resilience increases, you’ll begin to notice that you are able to keep your life in balance during stressful and difficult times.
For more assistance in building up your resilience, call Caroline Kurkcuoglu or Kim Scott for an appointment. Both Kim and Caroline are Licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapists. Let them help you change unhelpful behaviors or thoughts that may be holding you back from becoming the strong, resilient person you want to be. You don’t have to do this on your own. We are here to help.
Caroline Kurkcuoglu, LMFT, (License #: 32095) (818) 635-7662
Kim Scott, LMFT, (License #: 21184) (818) 309-7780