Why do some people seem to bounce back from tough times, while others take longer to recover? While there are undoubtedly a number of factors involved, resilience (or emotional fortitude) is one of them.
What is resilience?
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. The good news is that this capacity is not set in stone; resilience can be developed. Here are five questions to get you thinking about your inner strength – and some common-sense suggestions on how you can build it up.
1. Are you connected to others?
Social relationships and support systems are important for our physical and emotional wellbeing. According to mayoclinic.org, friendships can contribute to a sense of belonging and purpose, they can help us to feel happier and less stressed, and they can help us to get through tough times, among other benefits. So if you're feeling a little isolated, why not spend some time with friends and family, connect with your community by joining a gym or sports club, or get involved with a local charity?
2. Are you good to yourself?
Do you eat healthily, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and stay hydrated? Do you take time out to relax, laugh and rejuvenate? According to the American Psychological Association, looking after yourself "helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience." On a more emotional level, how do you speak to yourself? Does your inner dialogue build you up or break you down? If your self-esteem could use some work, it's time to be more positive about yourself and your abilities – starting today.
3. Do you have goals?
According to mindtools.com, "resilient people have solid goals, and a desire to achieve those goals." It's important to have a sense of purpose and objectives you want to achieve. If you're unsure about you're working towards, why not spend some time mapping out your values and priorities, and putting some goals in place? Remember to include practical and measurable steps to help you achieve them, and celebrate each time you cross one off the list.
4. Are you worried about the right things?
There's a lot going on in the world and plenty we can worry about if we choose to – but only certain of these things are within our control. So instead of draining your emotional reserves by fretting about things you can do nothing about, rather spend your time and energy taking action in areas where you can make a difference.
5. Do you learn from your mistakes?
Sophia Loren once said, "Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life." And we all make mistakes. It comes with being human. The trick is to learn from them, rather than dwell on perceived failures – and to try to do better the next time.