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By: Mozelle Forman
Ever wonder why some people behave like Teflon, letting all of life’s worries slide right off of them, while others remain stuck in a rut of anxiety? The key to bouncing back when life throws you a curve ball is resilience – the ability to recover from life’s challenges. If your capacity for resilience is low, you might dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed, or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Psychologists have identified a number of qualities that make someone resilient. Among them are a positive and optimistic attitude, the ability to regulate one’s emotions, and the ability to see failure as an opportunity for learning and self-growth. Here are some tips from the American Psychological Association that you can use to strengthen
Make connections. Enjoyinggood relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you is
not a weakness. In fact, it strengthens resilience.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events.
Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figureout what needs to be done, make a plan and take action.
Learn from experience. Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through rough times. You might even write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify positive and negative behavior patterns. Then, with this new level of understanding, you can alter your future behavior.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. Trusting your instincts and your ability to solve problems builds resilience.
Maintain a hopeful outlook –
one that encourages you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.
Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day, like volunteering or offering help
While becoming resilient won’t make your problems go away, it can give you the ability to see past life’s challenges, better handle stress and find more enjoyment in life.
Mozelle Forman is a clinical social worker in private practice for 20 years.
She welcomes your comments at