People often speak to feeling as though they are “swimming like a duck” through life.
This is a reference to how calm ducks appear above water; yet how fast they are paddling beneath to stay afloat. I myself, have used this analogy.
Today however, I offer a new way of looking at that phrase, “swimming like a duck”; one with a more positive frame. Ducks practice self-care and preen themselves in such a way that as the water hits their feathers, it simply rolls off. How great would it be for us humans to learn how to perform self-care in such a way that as stressors hit us, we too, are able to simply let them “roll-off” our backs?
How do you react to everyday stresses and personal or professional obstacles? Do you credit them to your personal characteristics such as incompetence, or can you attribute your failures to specific, short-term factors? Are you a perfectionist who doesn’t accept anything less than excellence?
Resilience is a personal capacity that determines how we will cope with life’s disappointments. Will your personal and professional failures knock you down, or your mental strength get you through troubles allowing you to recover and come back stronger than ever?
What Makes Us Resilient?
According to psychologists, factors that make some people more resilient than others include a positive mindset, optimism, the ability to focus on the present, mental flexibility, high Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and the ability to see disappointments as a chance for growth.
How to Boost Your Resilience
People who master resilience are able to accept life’s challenges with flexibility and a positive attitude. Resilience is a skill and just like any other skill, you can practice and gain control of it.
Here Are 4 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Resilience:
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
The ability to focus on the present moment without avoidance or judgment is one of the best means of resilience-building. Mindfulness reduces rumination; it helps you focus on your strengths and boosts your self-awareness.
According to neuroscientist Richard Davidson, mindfulness can increase your mental flexibility. A few minutes of mindfulness meditation every day may rewire your brain, making it more resilient to stress. Research has shown that mindfulness practice reduces over-activity in the area of the brain called the Amygdala; which is a part of the Limbic System that controls emotional responses. This system is vital in activating and regulating stress responses. Therefore, reducing over-activity with mindfulness meditation cuts down on levels of stress.
Gratitude is a powerful tool in building your mental strength or resilience. Studies show that people are more likely to focus on barriers that hold them back instead of strengths that can thrust them towards success. However, research proves that focusing on positive things in your life can significantly increase your resilience, life satisfaction, optimism, empathy and self-esteem.
In addition, counting your blessings each day can inspire positive actions and boost your progress towards your goals.
To promote your mental strength, you need to understand the difference between who you really are and the temporary challenges in your life. Stress or traumatic experience may significantly affect your life, but you should not allow these experiences to overtake your identity.
Accept that healing after stressful or traumatic events takes time. No matter how much you want the pain to go away, you need to accept that disappointments, stress, crisis and pain are a part of your life experience. This kind of perspective will help you come to terms with your suffering and give you the strength to recover. Ignoring, repressing, or denying pain can provide short-term relief. However, denying pain can cause mental health problems and prolong suffering. Acceptance is not about letting stress and disappointment take over. It is about the ability to dive into your emotions and trust in yourself that you can bounce back after challenges.
Do you have any tools to improve resilience that did not get mentioned above? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below!
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I am Kamini Wood, a certified life, wellness, and teen life coach. I work with teen girls and women of all ages, leading them on their own journey towards inner confidence.