Resilience is the hot new trend, and it's here to stay. So I've pulled some of the best resilience techniques from the experts.
We think we've come so far. We think we've evolved, and while we've made technological advancements, we've only made life more comfortable for ourselves, inadvertently weakening our resilience. We've paralyzed our survival instincts, increasing our sensitivity and political correctness.
You might feel hopeless against fear, anxiety, and circumstances out of your control.
You resolve to stay strong, but problems keep piling up.
We are riddled with anxiety and depression from threats that are as accurate to many of us as being held at gunpoint.
You're at war with your mind and must frequently pull it back to reality. Every broken relationship, car frustration, fractured friendship, and negative thoughts are tools for your advantage. Adversity builds resilience.
In some cases, life isn't happening to you. It's the course of nature, not a personal attack. If you think life should treat you fairly, you'll be disappointed. Understanding this will bring you freedom. When you expect nothing in return, every day becomes a blessing.
One of the most significant skills you can learn today is resilience. Resilience is what keeps you moving forward despite the pressure all around.
Resilience allows you to recover from setbacks, allows you to face discomfort and keep hope. It's a skill that can be applied to all areas of your life.
Resilience is the hot new trend and it's here to stay. So I've pulled resilience techniques from the best.
1. No one can take what you've put in your mind
"No one can take from you what you've put in your mind – I closed my eyes and retreated to an inner world. In my mind, I was no longer imprisoned in a death camp, cold and hungry and ruptured by loss." - Edith Eger
Edith Eger is a psychologist practicing in the United States. She's also a Holocaust survivour. She recalls being taken from her home and plunged into an Auswiuch concentration camp. There, her mother was gassed to death and her boyfriend was killed. Despite all this, she refused to let her circumstances consume her. She purposed in her mind that she would forge on.
Eger frequently speaks about two resilience components:
Choice is an act of rebellion. Even when it seems like you have no or limited options, you always have your mind. Before being taken away to Auschwitz, Egers mother told her, “remember, no one can take from you what you put in your mind." It was then that she decided that although she didn't know whether or not she would live, she would choose a narrative in her mind that said she was still a person, not a number. This thought, her spirit, and divine intervention kept her alive. You see, our brain loves stories. It constantly makes up stories to find a sense of the world around it. For example, if someone takes a while to respond to your text, you may think they're busy, or maybe that they're ignoring you. If you don't tell your brain a story, it will make one up, and probably not a very nice one. It's in our best interest to control the narrative.
Eger talks about suffering as a gift. It's a gift that can only be understood in reverse. It builds mental toughness. If you've never experienced loss or suffering, you won't know what to do when disaster strikes. If you've been poor, had to eat rations or save money, then you would be in a better position if a food shortage or job loss hits. It's a blessing because your mind would have been fortified, and you have a better chance of having the drive to get back up if you've developed resilience skills.
The pain I've felt in my life is a gift. Each challenge has made me stronger. I've learned more about myself, gained compassion for others and advanced in my career because of my increased ability to not turn completely bitter under pressure.
Don't let life break your spirit. This isn't the first time life has tried to make us slaves, keep us in bondage, and tear us down. We have to learn to ride through our feelings, understanding that every day won't be the same. Though we may feel defeated, for now, it's temporary if we refuse to feed into it.
I was able to visit the museum of human rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which documented the violation of human rights in Canada and worldwide. The structure was grand. It was a somber climb that got darker with each ascent. It made me realize that one of the traps we fall into is thinking that injustice has nothing to do with us. We believe our pain isn't valid just because injustice happened long ago. I remember reading only a few months ago in 2021, the sobering news that the remains of 215 Indigenous children, some as young as three years old, were found in a former residential school in British Columbia. Indigenous people are frequently stigmatized by society, when they have every right to be angry and hurt about history that's happened. Still, you know what ? It's the history of what happened to them, not the sum of who they are. I've had more personal experiences, from my travel nurse contracts of the kindness of Indigenous people. But that's the story that never gets talked bout. And that is true resilience.
No matter how dark your past was or how uncertain your future looks. Remember, no one can take from you what you put in your mind.
2. Let go and let God
The fight for survival comes from purpose. Depression can make you feel like there's nothing to live for. Often, you don't have the energy to fight. In those times, there's an option to surrender to God.
Faith is having confidence or trust in a person, thing or concept. If you're new to faith, it can look like simply trusting in the idea that things want to work in your favour, not against you.
If you rely on your own power you may feel hopeless. When you have faith, you're relying on God to see you through.There's power in having faith.
However, it should also be noted that faith, God and religion have left a negative effect on many people's lives. Many of these views are based on the atrocities imperfect people have enacted in the name of religion. Separating the acts of people and religious organizations from God and faith might help you in this healing.
There's an increasing amount of research that supports the beneficial effects of religious involvement on mental health. Faith can look like reading encouraging quotes, praying or having your own meditative practice. It's about learning stillness so you can hear what speaks to your soul.
3. Train like a SEAL
The US Navy SEALs wanted a solution to help candidates only a few points away from a passing grade. They enlisted the help of neuroscientists who developed the Navy SEAL Mental Toughness Program, which offers steps to override the brain's instinct to panic. It allowed training SEALs to adapt to stress, focus amongst mayhem and keep to the task at hand. The steps are:
The combination of these steps helps to create a resilient mindset.
"I deserve good things. Good things are happening to me. Things want to work out in my favour."
4. Burn your old self
There's a sense of power that comes from surviving difficult circumstances. When you've hit rock bottom, when you've lost everything, when you're emotionally drained, physically abused, when you've reached your limit, your breaking point when you shed skin. A little part of your old self that cared too much, took people's problems and was timid, dies. You realize that you have to make it. The part of you that wants your future realizes that you have to survive. The old you burns. This burning isn't one of death but a burning of rebirth. You learn through your trials that you're stronger than you ever thought you would be.
Like a phoenix, though you've been burned, you rise.
"A wild woman rises like the Phoenix, from the ashes of her life, to become the heroine of her own legend"- Shikoba
5. Create a resilience playlist
Sia's “Elastic Heart” got me through breakups and general low moods, with words like:
"You did not break me
I'm still fighting for peace
I've got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard
I may snap and I move fast
But you won't see me fall apart
Cuz I've got an elastic heart
And I will stay up through the night
Let's be clear won't close my eyes
And I know that I can survive
I'll walk through fire to save my life."
Don't wait for adversity to come; prepare your mind for it while always keeping hope. Music has healing, even more so when combined with motivational words. Create a playlist of resilience. A playlist that reminds you of what others before you have gone through, songs that inspire you to push on when you can't do anything else.
In my Caribbean culture, funerals are mixed with mournful songs and dance.
We have something called a wake, which is a celebration of life. It's the singing and chanting with others that help you through grief. We aren't silent—we let it out. Your playlist should do this for you.
6. Practicing thankfulness
Imagine if you only had today what you gave thanks for yesterday.
What would you have?
We take many things for granted: the people we say we care about, travel, socializing, dining out, haircuts, health.
Genuine gratitude can have a dark undertone because it realizes that things could always get worse. It knows that anything can be taken away at any given moment, and that's what brings joy—because you wake up and you still have the things you gave thanks for.
Gratitude says, "I may be stuck at home, and I hate it, but imagine if I didn't have a roof over my head, food, Netflix, Uber eats, Zoom," or whatever else is keeping you going.
Practicing writing about or thinking about what you're thankful for can give you a bit more grit in life.
7. Take 100 percent responsibility for your life
People who learn to take responsibility for their life get back on their feet quicker.
They don't look for excuses. They don't expect other people to solve their problems. Sure, they ask for help when needed, but they don't leave it entirely up to other people to take care of their responsibilities.
I never understood the extent of this concept until I worked at a call center where I had to ensure people were ready for their appointments. I was blown away at all the personal problems people wanted you to solve for them.
After the first person asks you, don't mind, but after the 50th, you start thinking, "am I being effective with my time?" I shouldn't have to Google things for someone who has the access and capability to do so for themselves.
It wasn't that the questioning was terrible. It was the concept that people wanted me to solve their problems, which is different from wanting suggestions or ideas.
It made me realize how much I did the same thing. It was indeed a new perspective, and it immediately changed my attitude. Now, instead of offering excuses, I try as much as possible to figure out my role in my life or circumstances. It's definitely made life easier because I have a plan. Create your own backup plan, and you'll feel a better sense of security.
8. Grow a new brain through surgery
Dr. Caroline Leaf is a neuroscientist and author of the book, Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health, which talks about the concept of regenerating your thoughts. She says that thoughts are like trees. As you think about specific ideas, they grow. She developed the 21-day brain detox program, which has helped me curb limiting beliefs, self-doubt, and low self-esteem. I find her technique the most effective for getting my mind quickly on track. She outlines the steps to rewire your brain.
Thought- "How will I ever get enough money to…"
Active reach- "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want", while picturing yourself walking through a field or "there is abundance around me wherever I go while picturing people giving you things.
According to Dr. Leafs' research, your brain literally grows a new branch or neurons after 21 days.
Increase your ability to bounce back
One of the most needed skills in today's climate is resilience. You can be the most skilled at your job or the most positive person, but adversity can knock you down at any time. Your ability to innovate, move with the times, and bounce back are invaluable.
Why not prepare now by having a resilience toolkit on hand? Prepare by practicing the tools of resilience I’ve outlined.
Your resilience is your strength, and your even greater power is reaching out when you need support. Resilience is a skill, and you have a great start at it.
WRITTEN BYArlene Ambrose