Resilience Building Activities for Successful People

As we’ve been making our way through the first part of this new year and new decade, many of us have been considering our lives and looking forward to making positive changes for the future. Here on the blog post we’ve had articles that tie in with that message of growth. But sometimes life can throw us a curve ball that feels like it will derail our plans with its negative impact and pain. In today’s article therapist Teyhou Smyth looks at how we can build resilience into our character that can help us to not only cope but come out stronger through difficult and even traumatic circumstances. And if you need someone to talk to confidentially, please do reach out to us and make an appointment with a therapist – don’t suffer in silence.

Everyone struggles with resiliency levels from time to time. Even the most successful people experience negative life events and sometimes it can be difficult to maintain perspective. When we are hit with the challenges of life and it throws us off kilter, there is no need to panic.
Here are Fifteen Resilience Building Activities for Successful People.

We can bounce back and even learn to thrive in the face of adversity. Try some of these resilience-building strategies to get back into the game. Before long you will be feeling like yourself, or maybe even better.

1- Take an objective look:

If this were a friend experiencing a setback of this sort, what sort of encouraging advice would you give? If you step back from the emotion of the situation, what can you see objectively?

2- Have a laugh:

It may seem counter-intuitive to laugh during a difficult time in your life, but sometimes stepping back from a situation and looking for the humour can be a great coping mechanism. If there is no ability to laugh at the specific situation at hand, try finding other things to laugh about. Listen to some stand up comedy to lighten the mood for a bit.

3- Create new goals:

Maybe the circumstances in your life that are causing you grief are pointing to something that you need to pay attention to. Set some new goals based on what your life events are teaching you.

4- Invest in yourself:

When you consider your life, what is missing? Even the most highly successful people have areas of life that can become stagnant or entirely absent. Sometimes the most successful people suffer this reality even more than the average person. Hard work has a price tag, but it shouldn’t be you. Invest in your needs. Look away from the business for a moment and examine the full picture of your life. What areas need investment?

5- Write a gratitude list:

When we’re mired in difficulty, it can be difficult to look beyond it and into the blessings of life. Start a daily practice of writing one thing you are thankful for in order to change your focus from negative life events. Even though it will not make the pain go away, it will foster resilience as you consider the aspects of your life that are going well.

6- Talk with others in the same situation:

It is highly likely that what you are experiencing has also been happening to someone else in your life. If you are uncomfortable confiding the particular issue with friends, colleagues or family members, consider a support group or therapist. When you’re not carrying your burden alone anymore, it may feel much lighter.

7- Avoid lumping:

When negative life events happen, it can be tempting to lump it together with every other bad thing that has ever happened to you and turn it into a “theme.” Avoid lumping all your woes into a giant category, as it blows it up into something larger than it needs to be. Not to say that the negative life event isn’t highly distressing and causing you great pain, but adding it to a list of “bad things that have happened to me” may cause you to pathologise your life.

Remember that all of us have a series of bad things that happen to us; that is part of the human condition. Try not to keep a running tab. If you begin to add up all of your lifetime woes, it will detract you from the effort to create meaning and build resilience. It can also cause you to focus only on negative life events, filtering out all the positive in between.

8- What would your grandma tell you?:

Often the advice of our grandparents and wise loved ones holds true for adulthood trials and tribulations. Try to recall some comforting sayings you were told as a child when things weren’t going well for you. What sorts of calming wisdom could you consider to help soothe these difficult times?

9- Find some alone time:

As hectic and frenetic as your schedule can be, sometimes it is worthwhile to simply carve out some time to be completely alone. Being alone with your thoughts and feelings can be cathartic. You need space to process your situation without the intrusions of work, family and friends.

10- Take action:

Maybe your emotional pain is drawing you toward something. Take action and heed the advice of your internal wisdom. Let your pain create meaning in your life and in the lives of others.

11- Sit in the presence of your pain:

Avoidance of emotional pain simply does not work. Allow yourself to sit with your pain and trust yourself to recover.

12- Let yourself receive support:

If the source your pain is public, friends, family and colleagues will likely reach out to offer you comfort and solace. Instead of shrugging off the support, reach for it. Pretending you’re not in pain or that your pain is minimal doesn’t serve anyone, and people who care about you want to help.

13- Write your past and future self a letter:

The situation that caused you this pain wasn’t known to your past self, and it will be a part of your future self’s history. Write a letter to both versions of yourself, talking about the emotional pain you are going through and the ways in which it impacts your life story.

14- Visualize healing:

When you imagine a future self that has healed from the emotional pain of your situation, what do you see? Give yourself permission to look ahead to what your healed self might think, feel and do. What might help you toward that healing?

15- Go back to the basics:

Consider returning to some of the healthy coping strategies you’ve used in the past. Eat more healthy greens. Drink more water. Commit to gym time at least a few days per week.

Call friends and family. Get inspired by nature. Do something creative. Sometimes we become so enmeshed with the idea that wellness has to be new-age and complicated. Going back to the basics can bring a great deal of wellness and familiarity when you need it the most.

During the most trying times of our lives, we can create resilience that can carry us through the difficulty and create a stronger sense of self on the other side.

Be patient with yourself throughout the resilience-building process.

It is normal for resilience to ebb and flow depending on a variety of factors. Keep focused on self-care and the underlying meaning you can take away from adversity.

And remember you are not alone.

[This blog post originally appeared on Teyhou’s website ~ some content may have been modified for the UK context.]

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Stillorgan, Co. Dublin, A94 N726