The truth is, life can be tough. Whether you’re fighting for your health, taking care of loved ones, or working to become your best self, it seldom is easy.
Yet, we all know those people who keep positive and keep going in times of adversity. What’s their secret? It’s not simply a trait they were born with and you were born without, rather it’s an array of habits that center around resiliency.
Resiliency is the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity or the like. It’s a skill that can be developed with some practice and know-how. Read on to discover simple, productive strategies for dealing with anything that life throws your way.
This post is adapted from an original article from Judy Koutsky at prevention.com.
Avoid negative people.
Want to make a difficult situation even tougher on yourself? Surround yourself with negative people. “While trying to keep a positive attitude, you must avoid people who thrive on negativity,” says Fran Walfish, PsyD, a family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent. Negative people can bring you down regardless of what your situation is.
Instead, seek out positive people, and you may soon adapt their “can do” spirit in the face of adversity—just like negative attitudes can spread, so can positive ones.
Pay it forward.
When you’re overwhelmed, doing something kind for someone else is likely the last thing you feel like doing. But it’s exactly what you should do, says Walfish. “Being generous in words and actions creates positive feelings for the doer and gets endorphins flowing,” she says. In turn, this can help you see positive ways to deal with your own difficult situation. Plus, if karma has its way, someone will be doing something nice for you soon enough.
Realize failures are inevitable.
Everyone makes mistakes, and everybody experiences failure, that’s a fact. Realizing this and knowing that missteps are a way to help us learn and grow is essential to becoming more resilient. “People who internalize failure and see it as a statement about how good or smart they are, are less likely to take risks or try new things,” says Rebecca Zucker, executive coach, and partner at Next Step Partners, a leadership development firm. “It’s important to take risks, try new things, and make decisions with imperfect information.” Know that failures and mistakes are not inevitable, and taking risks also means there’s a chance for great success.
Make taking care of yourself a non-negotiable.
Being in the right mindset before adversity hits can make recovery that much easier. “Taking seriously good care of yourself is crucial to your happiness,” Walfish points out. “This includes what you eat, drink and think, how often you move your body, and how much you rest.” If you’re constantly sleep-deprived and hungover, for example, you’re less able to make the best decision in a difficult situation. But if you’re in a good place to begin with, obstacles may not seem insurmountable. Get your body moving with these fifteen-minute workouts.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Everyone faces challenges that they need to overcome, even if you don’t know about them. Not to mention, all of us have a different path, so it won’t do you any good to compare yourself to others. Instead, know that whatever hurdles or obstacles you’re facing will make you stronger and better than you were before—no matter how much it might hurt right now, says Keisha Blair, parenting and career coach, and co-founder of Aspire-Canada.
Spend more time doing, and less time brooding.
The more you do, the more you’ll be able to do. “When you spend more time on the sidelines than playing the field of life, it gets increasingly harder to attempt the things you care about,” says career coach Carlota Zimmerman. If you’re more used to waiting or doubting, than doing, then even the smallest cut feels like a knife through the heart. “Do more, worry less, or as the expression goes, ‘break your heart, find your spine,'” Zimmerman adds.
Take an outsider’s view.
Next time something threatens to stress you out, try and take a step back and view things from an outside perspective rather than panicking about what this may mean for the future, encourages Walfish. If this were happening to a friend, what would you advise her to do? “Being an observer keeps you in a calm, slightly detached place, which helps you become more solution-oriented,” Walfish adds.
Journal or meditate.
An essential step to becoming more resilient is to find healthy outlets for your anxiety and tension. “Great examples of dealing with stress in a positive way include journaling, meditation, mindfulness activities (such as yoga, hiking, and biking), or simply spending time with friends or family,” says A.J. Marsden, PhD, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida. Having an outlet for negative feelings can help you see things more clearly and gain a more positive perspective.
Pick up some biographies from the library.
From CEOs to world leaders, everyone struggles with doubt, despair, and fear on occasion. “If you can get out of your own head and realize that everyone has insecurities, everyone has fear, even the men and women who changed our world, it can be immensely liberating,” says Zimmerman. For more ways to overcome your mental monsters, don’t miss these 7 tips.