I don’t know about you, but those kitten posters have never helped me “Hang in There”. When times get tough, my natural inclination is to claw furiously or let go.
It takes work to calmly hang on.
It takes developing resilience.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.”
Resilience is part skill and part mindset. And, while some people are naturally more resilient, with enough time and effort anyone can develop resilience.
Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Reflect on your resilience record
We’re often more qualified than we give ourselves credit for. We take our struggles and turn them into negative stories that exaggerate our shortcomings. I’ve been part of hundreds of conversations (including some with myself!) that start with “I’m not _______” and quickly transition to, “well, there was this one time. . .”
If you think you lack resilience, identify a difficult situation in the past or present and challenge yourself to identify something you did well. How did you resist giving up? What did you do even though it was hard? What can you learn from your past approach and use in the future?
Step 2: Calibrate a resilient outlook
When you’re in the middle of stressful, frustrating, or painful experiences, a negative mental state limits your ability to push through them. Shifting to a hopeful outlook can open your mind to silver linings or perspectives that empower you to develop resilience.
Next time you begin to feel overwhelmed, take a step back to look at your situation. Instead of worrying about what might or might not happen, consider what you want to happen. What possibilities can you imagine?
Next week I’ll share some strategies for Step 3: Develop resilience. Until then, keep hanging on!