“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship”- Louisa May Alcott. We learn lessons from the challenges we face every day. But, learning from your experience is not always easy.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘People are like teabags, they don’t know how strong they are until they are put in hot water.’ Dipped in hot water, some people unearth qualities they did not know they had, while others find they are not as resourceful as they imagined. If we carefully look at the quotes, it is referring to resilience.
This psychological quality is present in all of us. The degree of resilience may vary from person to person, but it can be learnt. Resilient people adapt to the tough times and maintain a growth mindset. They are willing to learn from their difficulties and harness their inner strength. When we are hit by a setback, it is normal for us to feel hopeless, disconnected, tired and stressed. During this time, we may feel overwhelmed by the stressors and think that everything is working against us. It is possible to spiral down by the question “Why did this happen to me?” This is the loop of negative thinking.
Resilience is a personal journey. My learning from this process has been- Observe, Plan, and Act. Research has shown that observing your negative thoughts without judgment can reduce anxiety, stress and irritation. A simple mindfulness exercise could be to imagine your thoughts passing by like clouds in the sky. Once you know what you are going through, you can plan to take action. You could seek therapy to process these thoughts and enhance clarity about alternate options. Finally, the most important step is Action- to face the challenge head-on! This step can make you feel anxious because it is the road less traveled. At this stage, try to remind yourself “I will learn by trying! I am learning”.
It is important to remember that a situation does not describe who you are. Likewise, your negative thoughts need not always be your reality. Resilient people cultivate positive thoughts by taking a realistic approach to handle a conflict. They try to motivate themselves to move forward after a setback. They are empathetic during a tough time. They focus on “How to handle the conflict?” Hence, facing challenges can strengthen resilience.
Resilience is not the same as pushing yourself, denial, and resistance, control of the discomfort or a quick fix. It involves allowing yourself to feel the pain, accept the difficulty and move forward by being flexible. It is about trying to get up even if you get knocked down. Developing resilience can help you maintain a healthy relationship with yourself as well as others.
A few ways to build resilience:
- Be comfortable to handle discomfort.
- Don’t run away from pain, guilt, shame or other emotions, try to validate it.
- Build your inner strength to move forward by relishing your positive moments too.
- Bring balance to your day with mindfulness practices.
- Try to keep the “I will handle it all” attitude aside and try seeking emotional support when required.
You are the Captain of your Life ship! So, choose wisely: to sail through the storm or to allow the storm to ail you.
If you are in a difficult phase of life and need help, please reach out for professional help. We at LeanonMe will be happy to help you.
AUTHOR: Sneha, Associate Counsellor
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