Did you know that an estimated 70% of people experience some kind of life-changing traumatic event? – April Thompson, Rising Above Adversity, Natural Awakenings February 2018, p. 28.
If you had several traumatic events in your life, you are even more at risk of developing chronic mental health issues. Some of these issues include depression, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
According to research by Harvard and Yale, we can learn how to become more resilient.
My own life journey is proof that traumatic events, such as ongoing abuse that stretched from childhood into adulthood, can be overcome by following the steps and recommendations below.
According to David B. Feldman:
We can go through the most terrible things imaginable and still get to a better place.
Here Are 5 Tips for Becoming More Resilient:
Challenges might be inevitable, but they don’t define you.
What’s key is how you respond, in other words, your mindset. Until I saw myself as a victim of what others had done to me, including physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse, I felt powerless to change my life around. I have suffered from chronic anxiety, depression, and PTSD all my life until I started to understand that IN SPITE OF what happened to me, I CAN choose to live a different life by changing my beliefs and my mindset, which has become an ongoing journey. While it’s true that as a child or even adolescent, it seems one doesn’t have a choice to really understand and change those beliefs due to being financially and every other way dependent on your parents or caregivers for survival, as an adult you can challenge and change the beliefs that don’t serve you anymore.
Also see my article Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life (*) and Victimhood to Authenticity: 7 Tips to Heal Your Past (**)
Related to the above is what Martin Seligman calls “learned helplessness.”
When we view these external events such as job loss or relationship break-ups, as permanent, pervasive, and personal, we develop a sense of learned helplessness. On the other hand, when we understand that the event might have nothing to do with us, but let’s say the company is downsizing, or we just didn’t have the right set of skills, we can respond in a more positive, and less pessimistic manner.
Be pragmatic and assess the situation once you had a chance to calm down and think things through.
When you are able to take away some of the most intense emotions, taking a deep breath, and reflecting on the situation, you will be able to maintain a more balanced outlook which is usually more positive compared to the initial reaction. Let’s say you experienced a loss. Give yourself time to grieve, repressing your emotions is not healthy either, however, also think realistically about what can you do to move on. Appreciate the person and cherish the memories, but also know that loss and death is a part of life. My Buddhist teachings really helped me when I lost my dad at 52, my grandmother 3 years ago, and recently my close friend who was only 46 and died of breast cancer. It made me more determined to live my life to the fullest as we never know how long we have on this Earth.
Seek and develop caring and nurturing social connections.
We are social creatures and the need to belong is as important as the need for food and shelter. Isolation worsens depression and especially becomes a problem when you are older. I used to make new friends easily when I was in school or at work, however, being self-employed can create isolation. One of the best resources to get more engaged is to sign up with meetup.com they have a variety of local groups based on your interests. Another suggestion is to volunteer. When I have a tough day seeing my clients or grabbing a coffee with a friend makes a big difference.
Learn stress management techniques, such as meditation.
I have been meditating over 20 years and I can honestly say that meditation saved my life. There are many different types of meditation, and anything you can do, even if just focusing on breathing, will drastically change your life. I studied Zen Buddhism as well as mindfulness meditation, and Primordial Sound by Deepak Chopra certified instructor. The key is to be able to spend some time alone, without distractions, whether you are focusing on your breathing, mantra, or imagery. In addition to meditation, I also do daily gratitude and keep a gratitude journal. I recently re-joined Art of Living, they are currently holding a 21-Days Happiness Challenge. If you are new to meditation, I suggest joining a meditation group as it will help you stay on track and not get discouraged. It’s important to create this as a daily habit, the same as with exercise or brushing your teeth.
Whatever you do, be loving and gentle with yourself and don’t give up.
Ready to feel better? Call today for a complimentary phone consultation 561-299-1028 or connect with me online.