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6 Ways to Improve Resiliency

Friedrich Nietzsche’s position, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” encapsulates the notion of transcending adversity to achieve personal development and growth. The pivotal challenge lies in actively confronting adversity and surmounting it when life presents unexpected obstacles. Unsurprisingly, resilience is correlated with enhanced well-being across diverse demographics, encompassing individuals with experiences ranging from childhood trauma to life to life transitions as well as participation in team development and skills enhancement. Nevertheless, the process of cultivating and augmenting individual resilience is often sidestepped or denied due to the inherent demand to confront painful challenges that individuals may prefer to avoid.

Resiliency theory conceptualizes resilience as a trait, process, or outcome behaviors, incorporating internal and external constructs. Internal constructs, such as humor or a positive attitude, and external constructs, like social support, contribute to resilience. A person is deemed resilient when they can rebound after experiencing a traumatic or adverse event.

Extensive research explores methods to increase resilience in the face of adversity. For instance, establishing healthy boundaries in interpersonal relationships can help manage stress. During significant pain or grief, being able to say “no” and set personal boundaries is crucial for growth and resilience. Additionally, improving sleep, limiting alcohol, practicing mindfulness or meditation, engaging in calming exercises like yoga, and reducing compulsive behaviors can all enhance resilience.

To further aid in building resilience, here are six specific strategies to help achieve personal goals and improve resilience.

1. Overcoming Fears

There is a well-known adage that suggests it's natural to feel afraid, but it's crucial not to allow fear to hinder our progress. Resilient individuals acknowledge their fears but remain focused on their personal objectives. By confronting their fears head-on, such as by addressing unhealthy habits or ending unhealthy relationships, they empower themselves and affirm their self-worth. While breaking detrimental habits or distancing oneself from negative relationships may pose initial challenges, in the long term, it fosters inner strength and promotes self-awareness, essential components of resilience development.

2. Goals and Action

When an individual opts to enhance their resilience, they are also opting to harmonize their values goals, and behavior to ensure they are all coherent. For instance, if one's aim is to enhance their autonomy and self-direction, a component of that goal may involve adhering to personal values, such as refraining from comparing oneself to others or allowing sufficient time for resilience-building. By remaining faithful to one's values, one's behavior aimed at achieving goals can itself become a goal.

Likewise, if there is a misalignment among one's values, behaviors, and goals, it may become evident that the desired outcomes are not being achieved as rapidly as anticipated. Recognizing this misalignment may prompt a need to realign and adjust objectives to regain alignment with one's intended trajectory.

3. Realignment through Journaling

During times of adversity or struggle, individuals may find themselves overwhelmed and unable to articulate their feelings. This often initiates a cycle of stagnation, where no progress is made. By journaling, whether digitally or in a physical notebook, individuals can express their thoughts and emotions on paper, facilitating the reorganization of their needs and the establishment of goals aligned with enhancing resilience.

Some experts recommend employing various journaling techniques, such as emailing or texting oneself, or using traditional pen and paper. These methods tap into different aspects of creativity and may expedite goal achievement. Alternatively, individuals can pre-select a theme or topic for their journaling sessions to provide structure and direction.

4. Transform Your Mindset

When exposed to words like "suffer" or "pain," individuals may adopt a victimized perspective, viewing themselves as bystanders or passive participants in their own lives. The language used to describe oneself and one's experiences profoundly influences emotions and beliefs about self-worth. Employing positive terminology that promotes empowerment and thriving can help to reshape one's worldview. It's important to acknowledge adversity but can be an opportunity for personal growth to find ways to be action-oriented and take charge in these moments. Some obstacles can be overcome by ourselves while others require us to seek help and guidance from others, which is the second part of changing one's mindset. Resiliency does not mean one must weather all challenges in isolation from others. Instead, open yourself up to the support and aid of others.

5. Positively Challenge Yourself

Resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than allowing difficulties, traumatic events, or failure to overcome them drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals. It involves reinterpreting some of your adverse life events as opportunities for growth and achievement. Resilient individuals perceive life's challenges as invigorating and motivating, inspiring them to set new goals. They integrate lessons learned from past experiences into their lives, fostering resilience and inner strength. By embracing adversity as a constructive force, individuals cultivate resilience and align their goals with overcoming challenges.

6. Prioritize Self-care

Self-care transcends mere relaxation activities like spa visits or massages. While these experiences promote tranquility, self-care encompasses a broader spectrum of practices. This includes dedicating time to exercise, meditation, meal planning, and a consistent sleep schedule, all of which are associated with nurturing well-being. Seeking therapy with a qualified clinician empowers individuals to set and achieve personal goals. Personal self-care may also include properly setting boundaries within relationships and possibly becoming more discerning about what relationships are most important and that you wish to maintain and strengthen.

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