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5 Powerful Strategies for Building Resilience and Thriving

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Building Resilience

Building resilience is the capacity to recover from setbacks, adjust to new circumstances, and persevere when confronted with difficulties. In today’s fast-paced and unpredictable world, building resilience is more important than ever. No matter what you’re going through, resilience can help you stay strong and keep thriving. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical strategies for building resilience and discuss the psychological foundations that support it.

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Understanding Resilience

The Psychology of Resilience

Resilience does not mean avoiding stress or hardship; rather, it entails building the mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility necessary to effectively navigate and manage these experiences. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone. Research highlights several key components of resilience, including:

  • Emotional Regulation: The ability to manage and respond to intense emotions in a healthy way.
  • Optimism: Maintaining a hopeful outlook and focusing on the positive aspects of situations.
  • Self-Efficacy: Belief in your ability to influence events and outcomes in your life.
  • Social Support: Having strong, supportive relationships that provide comfort and encouragement.

Practical Strategies for Building Resilience

1. Develop a Positive Mindset

Building Resilience Develop a Positive Mindset iconA positive mindset helps you approach challenges with a can-do attitude and see setbacks as opportunities for growth. Practices such as gratitude journaling, positive affirmations, and reframing negative thoughts can foster a more optimistic outlook.

Gratitude Journaling: Write down three things you’re grateful for each day to shift your focus from what’s wrong to what’s going right.

Three things I’m grateful for are having a good support system from my family, being in good health, and have the freedom to do whatever I want. Knowing I have these brings a very positive outlook that I got it good. Many others don’t have these opportunities like I do, and it’s why I remain grateful for what I have.

Positive Affirmations: Use affirmations like “I am capable” or “I can handle whatever comes my way” to reinforce self-belief. (Mayo Clinic – Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk)

There are a couple of positive affirmations that have helped me reinforce my self-belief. This usually starts with a naysayer or doubters aiming towards me and I attempt to prove otherwise. I’ll bring up two instances that occurred to me in regards to positive affirmations.

Going all the way back when I started dabbling in writing with the influence of an English teacher, there were many who didn’t believe I had the capabilities to become a writer. I’ll remember this, coming from a former friend of my mother’s who claimed that only people with connections can be writers and nothing else.

This person, who thankfully my family no longer associates with, always throws in doubt my way because she herself couldn’t do it. So, she would throw her insecurities towards me in order for her to feel better about herself. Fortunately, I didn’t listen and continued to work on my craft and here I am today. Best feeling ever.

Another situation was judging my own insecurities with my own body in regards to strength and fitness. Right around after Covid took its course with the world, I had a very heavyset bodyweight needed to get in shape. Though I’m no stranger in the gym, it did feel new again when returning and seeing all of these in-shape people just lifting heavy that made me envious.

However, I would watch YouTube videos and research on how I could reach that level of strength without taking any enhancements. The videos enhanced my self-belief rather than get rid of it. Most of these so-called influencers would say it is impossible to achieve such great strength without taking some kind of steroid-use. However, I always believed that the human body is capable of doing extraordinary things, so I went in naturally and now I can say I reached a level of strength that many will not achieve in their lifetime.

2. Build Strong Relationships

Building Resilience Build Strong Relationships iconStrong social connections provide emotional support, practical assistance, and a sense of belonging. Make time for family and friends, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it.

Join Community Groups: Participate in local clubs, volunteer organizations, or online communities to build new relationships. (APA – The power of social connection)

I didn’t join a club particularly, but I did network in many events that provided strong relationships. I would go to film festivals and gaming events with the simple idea of making new friends. There are so many great people out there that I maintained close relationships with.

The benefits of having different friends in different areas is the diversity in interests. A lot of people provide different experiences and knowledge that I can genuinely use for stories I write. Most of these people have also been my greatest supporters in my publishing journey as well.

RELATED: Isolation and Loneliness

Maintain Regular Contact: Schedule regular check-ins with loved ones to nurture your existing relationships. (Harvard Health – The health benefits of strong relationships)

Thankfully, my biggest support system comes from my family. They have seen me grow from being indecisive on what I wanted to do for my future to finally having a purpose. From day one, I have to say they were always there. Because of this impact they had, I maintain a close relationship with them. Whenever I feel troubled about something going on with my life or work, I know they have my back whenever. My ultimate goal is to make sure my parents live their best lives as they made me live out my best growing up.

3. Practice Self-Care

Building Resilience Practice Self-Care iconTaking care of your physical and mental health is crucial for resilience. Prioritize activities that rejuvenate and energize you, such as exercise, healthy eating, adequate sleep, and mindfulness practices.

Exercise Regularly: Physical activity can boost your mood and energy levels.

Out of the many exercises I have committed to, my favorite has always been weightlifting and cardio. I go to the gym every single day trying to get stronger than my previous self, whether that’s in added reps or weight. In regards to that, I maintain a balanced diet so my muscles repair and have mental clarity. But, I have to say, once in a while, I’ll dabble in with some cheesecake to enjoy life.

Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness to stay present and reduce stress. (NCCIH – Meditation: In Depth)

There was a quote that I’ll paraphrase. It’s when we look in the past we get depressed and when we look into the future, we get anxious. When we live in the moment and allow life to go on, that’s when we truly feel better and happier. But, it’s easier said than done. I’ll even catch myself at times looking far too ahead of the future when I’m supposed to focus on the present. Another good way to reduce stress and remain focus is to avoid social media and doomscrolling, as that can cause more anxiety and waste so much precious time. Put the phone down and remain focused.

4. Set Realistic Goals

Building Resilience Set Realistic Goals iconSetting and achieving small, manageable goals can build confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment. Break down larger tasks into smaller steps and celebrate your progress along the way.

SMART Goals: Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals to ensure clarity and feasibility.

When writing my book, 8-bit, I broke down the book not only in chapters, but in these chapters, I break them down in sections of word counts. I make sure a concept for each chapter is laid out, so it’ll be easier when writing it out. Then I’ll follow a schedule by writing each chapter at a certain time every day and remain consistent to get it done. The first draft of the book will be done within a month.

Track Progress: Keep a journal or use an app to monitor your achievements and reflect on your growth. (APA – The power of self-monitoring)

I’ll use a daily planner to set my goals for the day, but when doing the task that I broke down, I’ll have a journal on the side. Tracking your progress might sound tedious, but the benefits outweigh the cons. It is essential to keep track of your achievements, as it will remind you that you’re getting things done. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are actually completing tasks so that we are being pushed forward into doing so.

RELATED: FREE eBook Ultimate Wellness Toolkit

5. Learn from Experience

Building Resilience Learn from Experience iconReflect on past experiences to identify what strategies worked well and what could be improved. Learning from your successes and failures can help you develop better coping mechanisms for the future.

Reflective Journaling: Write about your experiences and what you learned from them.

Journaling, in general is therapeutic. Whenever I am angry about something, I’ll write it out in a narrative by hand. When writing by hand, I can feel my thoughts pouring out of my head and onto the paper. It’s like relieving pressure buildup from your brain and you’ll slowly start to feel a little better. It is okay to be angry and write out your experiences. Then go back to it, reread what you experienced with a clear thought and come up with a strategy or learn from this lesson based on this particular situation.

RELATED: The Benefits of Handwriting

Seek Feedback: Ask trusted friends or mentors for their perspective on your growth and areas for improvement. (HBR – The Right Way to Get Feedback)

Aside from writing, we still need feedback on other aspects of our lives. Normally, I learn my lessons from issues of others. When I see negative reaction on certain personality traits from others, I tend not to repeat them in my own life. However, there are moments when I feel I need assistance in a certain part of my life, like my perspective on things may not be properly said out loud.

Sometimes, I don’t keep to myself and talk a lot. When I noticed this odd trait, I had a close friend who would tell how to limit my rambling. Best way to do so is to stay on topic and focus on not drifting off to another. This will prevent over sharing when it’s unnecessary.

RELATED: Self-Editing and Feedback

Recommended Books on Building Resilience

The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté: This book provides a comprehensive guide to understanding and building resilience. The authors, both psychologists, offer practical strategies based on years of research to help readers develop the mental toughness needed to overcome adversity.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant: Co-authored by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and psychologist Adam Grant, this book explores how to find resilience and recover from life’s challenges. Sandberg shares her personal journey of coping with the sudden death of her husband, while Grant provides research-based insights on resilience.

Resilient by Rick Hanson: In this book, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson explores how to develop lasting resilience by harnessing the power of positive neuroplasticity. Hanson provides practical tools to build inner strength, foster well-being, and cope with stress.

Final Thoughts

Building resilience means always working on having a positive mindset, having strong relationships, taking care of yourself, setting achievable goals, and learning from your experiences. Use these strategies in your everyday life and you’ll become better at dealing with challenges and come out stronger. Keep in mind, being resilient doesn’t mean never facing hardships, it means confronting them with strength and adaptability.

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