Emotional Well-being and Resiliency – Dealing with Challenging Times
Life can be unpredictable. Sometimes things are going smoothly and suddenly we’re thrown a curveball. The curveball might be a minor hassle like a broken down appliance. Or, it might be something more serious like Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey.
The simple fact that everyone faces challenges in life is why resilience is such an important part of emotional well-being. Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from adversity and hardship. Resilience is supported by having strong, supportive relationships with others who can help you when times get tough. It also means being realistic about your plans and goals.
Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, spent several years as a prisoner in concentration camps in Nazi Germany where he lost most of his immediate family. He is quoted as saying, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” To a large extent, this is what resilience is about. We can’t always change the things life throws our way, so we have to find ways to bounce back—and be strong, healthy, and successful again. Frankl believed that love and the people we care about, having a sense of humor, and the healing power of nature could offer a sense of meaning, even in the face of adversity.
Here are a few things you can do to build your resilience and help you bounce back from challenging times:
- Find your purpose. We all want our lives to have meaning, and purpose can come from many things—family, friendships, volunteering, career, or spirituality. People with a clear sense of purpose tend to be better able to cope with life’s challenges.
- Embrace change. Change isn’t easy for most of us, but it’s an inevitable part of life. Learning to accept it can help you focus on the things you do have control over.
- Be optimistic—use positive self-talk and look for the silver lining in life’s challenges.
- Be hopeful. Hope can be very powerful and often connects to a positive outlook. Think about what you want to happen and look for the good things in life.
- Set realistic expectations. Identify small things you want to change and take small steps to move toward them. Give yourself credit for each success—even the little ones!
- Know when to let go. Are you taking on too much in the various areas of your life (work, family, etc.)? Accept that you can’t give everything 100% all the time—if it’s too much, consider exploring what you can let go or where you can ask someone else to step in and help out.
- Take action, especially with negative situations. Taking action can make you feel better in a tough situation, rather than feeling powerless.
- Add positives to your day. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to music, laughing, meditating, going for a walk or just having a few minutes to yourself, re-charging your energy and spirit are great ways to build resilience.
- Connect with others. Having the support of those around you can make a big difference in a time of need, whether it’s family, friends, support groups, faith-based organizations, or others.
- Maintain perspective. When dealing with a tough situation, look at the bigger picture and think about the long-term impact. Ask yourself—will this matter in a month? A year? Five years from now?
- Practice gratitude. Think about the things you appreciate and are grateful for in your life—even the simple things like a warm bed to sleep in at night or the people you care about.
~ © HealthFitness