Many individuals define resilience differently. Most researchers agree that resilience associates with an individual’s ability to bounce back after facing adversity or hardship. I define resilience as “the ability to bounce back wiser, better, and stronger after facing adversity.” Resilient individuals recover quicker. They cope with adversity and psychological stress in an effective manner.
Building resilience has many advantages. Resilience helps people face and manage positive and negative life events. Here are three tips for building resilience:
Tip #1–Develop a Personal Resilience Framework
Having different strengths and personalities, it is important to remember that what works for someone else might not work for you. Examine your characteristics and personal resources. What are your beliefs or sense of purpose? My personal resilience centers around positive thinking and processing. I exchange negative imagery with positive imagery and view resilience as a process, not an outcome. This framework helps me practice optimism and patience.
I often remind people that resilience looks and feels different for everyone. Therefore, you must develop a personal resilience framework. Define what resilience means to you. Create imagery, quotes, or metaphors to help practice resilience. Make sure that you are living a lifestyle that fits your personal resilience framework.
Tip #2 – Focus on Your Strengths
Your strengths are personal assets used regularly to navigate through life (e.g., positive thinking, good problem-solving skills, a flexible sense of humor, organization, maintaining good health, trust in other people, high self-esteem, creativity, and faith).
When faced with adversity, exert energy towards the things that work for you. Be mindful that our greatest weapon for combating adversity roots itself in our ability to identify what works for us and use it to our advantage. For example, one of my strengths is finding solutions in problems. I often remind myself of these words: “Resilient people find solutions in problems. In contrast, troubled people find problems in every solution.”
Tip #3–Concentrate on Internal Locus of Control
There are two types of control points in life. However, only one provides us with the ability to feel like we are in control. Understanding the difference between internal locus of control and external locus of control essentially builds resilience and successfully overcomes challenges.
What is your locus of control? Do you believe that you have control over the outcomes in your life? If yes, your locus of control is internal. Do you believe that external forces have control over the outcomes in your life? If yes, your locus of control is external.
Why is this important? Life throws curve balls at us such as COVID-19. Those who have internal locus of control believe that their actions impact what happens to them. You cannot control the infection rate (external). However, you can monitor and manage your lifestyle in order to prevent self-exposure (internal).
Internal locus of control has a major impact on your life and helps you build resilience. Remember that resilience is about taking charge of a person’s life. When storms surface, resilient people monitor their personal reaction instead of complaining about the severity of the storm.
Unfortunately, we are facing some difficult times. However, coping with adversity in a resilient manner is possible and proves to work. By building your personal resilience, you successfully navigate through life and overcome any obstacles that are placed in front of you.
As you continue to navigate through these difficult and trying times, please practice self-care and implement the resilience building tips outlined above.
Lastly, keep in mind: the only time “giving” is bad, is when it is used with the word “up,” as in giving up. We will get through this and bounce back wiser, better, and stronger.
Dr. Dwayne Buckingham