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This article is a follow-up to ‘Be resilient! Everything depends on it’ (posted on May 2, 2020, on https://www.jamaicanmedium.com/stories). I realized that there may be persons who are convinced that it is important to be resilient but may think that based on the circumstance(s), it is not possible for them to be. I was of that same opinion some years ago while listening to a motivational talk about the importance of being resilient. I was at a place in my life where I got more depressed hearing what I should and shouldn’t do and who I should be, but not feeling like I was being guided into how to be and what to do.
I did some research into the topic of resilience as a part of my project of self-development and was able to work my way into becoming the resilient person I am today. I hope my version of how to be resilient helps someone to make a strong decision to recover quickly from difficulties no matter what situation you are faced with.
Resilience is defined as ‘…an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.’ Another definition is ‘…the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness…’(Online Dictionary). Resilient people are aware of what is happening around them, their own emotional reactions to situations, and also aware of the behaviour of others involved in the situations. They maintain control of situations and instead of running or panicking, they have the ability to think of new ways to tackle problems. They do not give up or give in; do not keep count of how many times they fall; see difficulties as opportunities for change rather than as stop signs; and appreciate success no matter how small it may seem. Do you think you can be that person?
So let’s get into how it is possible to be resilient by highlighting six (6) points to keep in mind. At the end of the article, you can determine if you can be or working towards being referred to as a resilient person.
Practice positive focus – It is easy to focus on negatives when things change in an unexpected direction. This kind of thinking only lowers your confidence, your motivation and makes everything seem impossible to accomplish. Focus on what is working instead; what is good; what will come in handy as soon as you are back on your feet. Look for the silver lining behind every dark cloud. Search your mind, look in your house, do some research online, and call some people. Start making positive plans to survive the crisis and how you will proceed after it is over.
Control your emotions – Negative thoughts and actions affect your mood, your health, your work, your relationships, and a whole range of other things. Bear this in mind though, not everyone finds it easy to just take a deep breath and move on in a crisis. I struggled to rid my mind of negative thoughts in the past, while some persons told me that I just needed to snap out of it. That advice surely did not help. So I am aware that some people find it difficult to bounce back from disappointments and regrets.
There are ways you can control your emotions and increase mental energy. There are optimum benefits of having high-level mental energy. These include increased willpower, productivity, and motivation, as well as focus, happiness, and confidence. To increase mental energy, exercise in any way you can. This helps to pump more blood and oxygen to the brain. For those who are not able to go to the gym, move away from the situation mentally, take a short walk, and then try to view the situation with fresh eyes. To avoid using your exercise time to focus on negative things, try thinking about something that requires mental energy, such as all the things that you are (or should be) grateful for in your work, family, and personal life. Controlling your emotions may require practice and you may have to do this several times for it to work, but it will be worth it in the end.
Be mindful of the company you keep – When faced with uncertain situations, resiliency, positive thoughts, and positive attitudes are only achieved with the help of the positive company you surround yourself with. The same thing goes for anxiety and depression. These are developed, absorbed, and also prolonged if you are in the company of people who are constantly complaining, or if they are worrisome and negative. I can attest to that. An important part of self-care is realizing that a person or group of persons is not good for you because they may not even be aware that they are encouraging you to have a negative mindset. So think about it. You will find it more beneficial to surround yourself with people of a positive mindset and who will see your current situation as an opportunity for positive change rather than all doom and gloom.
Put it in writing – Writing down your failures, disappointments, regrets, and also your victories and successes allows you to clear your mind when you are trying to control your thoughts and emotions. It serves as an outlet. Looking back on what you have written gives you the chance to think positive in uncertain times, and to internalize the lessons you learned. Writing reduces the mental energy used in negative thinking. You can keep your notes to measure how far you have come. I found out in a training session on changing mindset that one way of getting rid of negative thoughts is to write them down and then throw away the paper to signify getting rid of the negative thoughts. I still do this occasionally. Several persons reported that they felt better after doing this.
Be nice – Being kind has a positive physiological effect on you. That is, being kind or nice to yourself and others release serotonin, a feel-good chemical in the body, and this can help to minimize or eliminate depression and pull you out of a negative mood. The family members, friends, neighbours and even strangers that you show kindness to, may be the ones you have to turn to in uncertain times, so be careful to treat everyone in a kind manner.
So, after seeing how it is possible to be resilient if you follow the guidelines above, can you be referred to as a resilient person? Or have you decided to be resilient from here on out? (Put your answers below in the comment section)