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Published on April 17, 2018

What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

With this ever so competitive era consistently demanding people to be their best versions all the time, setbacks are bound to occur some stage. Be it failing to secure a job at the company of your dreams or not being able to marry the girl you held so close to your heart, many people dive into self-destructing coping mechanisms that take a toll on their mental as well as physical health.

This is where being resilient is so much more significant as it not only helps us to make a strong comeback whenever we lose control of our life, but also propels us in the right direction to attain the goals we cherish.

In this article, I will explain to you what resilience is and how you can apply it to life to become a better and tougher person.

What is resilience

Resilience is a method of how well a person can adapt to a situation when faced with trauma, stress, tragedy or other likewise scenarios. Simply put, it means getting your life back on track every time you’re being knocked down by a difficult experience.

Studies undertaken by numerous psychologists point out that a person blessed with good resilience has the knack of turning their fortunes fairly quickly as compared to their counterpart who might struggle for a longer duration before getting their act together.

However, it does not necessarily mean that a person who portrays resilience effectively eventually becomes untouched by difficult experiences or traumatic situations in life. It is just that those people just know how being resilient can be beneficial for them.

Resilience is not a quality that people may or may not have. It consists a set pattern of thoughts or ideas that can be mastered and used into practice by any individual over time.

Why resilience is important to your life

With a lot more people finding their lives in the doldrums, being resilient has never been as vital as it has become today.

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As per a research carried out at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, depression has risen significantly over the last decade or so, especially among the teenagers. Also, the number of professionals queuing up outside a psychiatrist’s office has also registered a steep rise.

A closer sneak peek into resilience can help us throw light on the vast benefits it has in store for us:

Opportunity to introspect

Whenever we let ourselves or a close one down, a feeling of guilt can easily creep in not only making us look dejected but also lets us lose all hopes and aspirations of further doing anything right. But these moments of challenges also help us to turn a new leaf by defying all odds and reach the pinnacle of success.

During these testing times, it is wiser to take a step back and try to understand who we really are and what we would like to become. Trying to understand our thoughts and ideas can help us analyze the situation better and see alternatives that we might not have paid heed to at all in the first place.

Self-discovery can be a life changing experience that can shape the direction of our entire life, breaking barriers of orthodox mindset and paving way for a brighter future. After all, the difficulties in life are nothing but opportunities to enhance ourselves.

    Immunity towards adversity

    Think about a problem that had been giving you sleepless nights recently. What if you had pulled it in a corner instead of breaking sweat when it first surfaced? That’s what resilient people do.

    Resilient people understand that it is not the problem but our mindset towards it that eventually matters in the end. It’s not that resilient people who have fine-tuned the art of bouncing back in life find facing their struggles a walk in the park, it is just that they know how to embrace them meticulously.

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    Change is the only constant, so why not adapt to the constant change happening around us? This can only not open up more career opportunities for you, but also prepare you to take every challenge of your life in the best possible way.

    Enlighten your mind

    Resilience is a key element that helps to re-develop our thinking and learning patterns. Whenever we find ourselves deep in trouble, we draw inspiration from similar experiences of others and try to imitate their feat to help us conquer our existing fear.

    We must break away from our old selves that limit the ability of our mind. Instead, we should fuel it with meaningful knowledge and theories that build our wisdom. Strengthening the mind through habits like reading helps us to focus clearly on our long term vision.

    Resilience helps you to take care of yourself not only physically but spiritually as well. When things are not going bright in the outer world, you can connect with the inner self to look for a clarity of goal and re-develop your march towards victory.

    Not to mention, when you understand your inner desires better, it helps you to adapt better to the surroundings.

    Fulfill your dreams

    Some people put everything at stake to achieve their ambitions. However, if victory eludes them in the first attempt, they prefer giving up on the dream and follow the crowd who might have always wished for their downfall.

    It is crucial to stay focused all the time and not accept defeat until you cross the finishing line. Resilience and motivation go hand-in-hand and always push you forward in your relentless pursuit of the bigger picture.

    You only live once, so why not give your best shot at your dream until you can finally lay your hands on it? There is nothing like getting to live your dream when the odds were stacked up against you. This will lead you to be successful just the way you want.

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    Connect with like-minded people

    Everyone wants to be connected with people who have a positive influence on them and from whom they can draw inspiration.

    Being resilient can help you develop bond with groups and communities that think alike and love helping each other towards their goals.

    How to do build resilience (a step-by-step guide)

    Whether you find yourself engaged with a challenge right now or would like to be in a better position to tackle the next one, there are a few ways that can help you become resilient and improve the way you look at your challenges.

    Here goes the list:

    1. Believe in yourself

    Research has shown that a majority of people remain unsure of what instigates their everyday behavior. Labelled as motives, our behavior is primarily based on what we think of ourselves. The beliefs we carry in our minds or the ideas we preach will determine the course of our actions.

    Below are a few ways to develop self-belief that can work wonders in your life.

    • Make bold decisions. Set practical goals that you feel are achievable in a certain time-frame. Implement a strategy as to how you plan to achieve that goal. Once you reach the desired outcome, only then it is wiser to push your limits and aim for a higher goal.
    • Appreciate yourself. Most people get too harsh on themselves at times, which not only puts a dent into their self-confidence but also inculcates negative thoughts. Therefore, it’s always wiser to give yourself a pat on the back, even for a tiny accomplishment. This goes a long way in inducing self-belief.
    • Avoid comparisons. Making comparisons with others can also let your self-belief vanish in thin air. Even though you might be good at your trade, there will always be someone who could be better than you. The comparison game will only harm your self-belief. Making comparisons is instilled strongly in our nature, but can always try to reduce it by keeping your mind busy doing productive tasks.

    2. Become action-oriented

    Always shying away from your problem and putting it off to solve it another day will only elevate it further. You may not get all the answers to your problem initially, but solving it by bits and pieces actively will surely lead to a successful outcome.

    Some ways that can help you prevent procrastination and be more action-oriented:

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    • Set deadlines. Begin by making a to-do list that includes all the tasks that you probably have been avoiding recently. Then set deadlines as to when you’ll likely want to get them done.
    • Cut down on temptations. Get rid of any distractions that might pull you down from achieving your deadlines. If you think your phone texts or notifications is the biggest hindrance, keep your phone away from you or turn the notifications off until you cover your goal for the day.
    • Reveal your intentions. Take your family and friends aware of your goals and deadlines, so they can push you towards it whenever you refrain from showing up. Letting others know your intentions will also add pressure on you to perform when everyone expects a desired outcome from you.
    • Pamper yourself. Always have a reward carrot in place. In case you finish your assignment now, you can buy your favorite meal. This will help you to get things done more efficiently and timely.

    If you want to start taking actions and stop putting things off, this guide can help you: A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    3. Give a helping hand

    Reaching out to the needy is a great way to build your own resilience. According to researchers, the neurotransmitter serotonin that regulates mood and social behavior builds up when we engage in acts of kindness.

    • Volunteer. Volunteering is one of the best ways to help others and bring a smile on their face. Take some time and visit a charity nearby, and let them know you are there to help in whatever way you could.
    • Donate. Instead of discarding your old clothes or any household items, you can give them to someone who can make better use of it. You can also get some food for a homeless person rather than just giving them money.
    • Teach. You can teach your friend a new skill that you’ve recently mastered, or lend help to a child who might be finding his homework difficult. Teaching something will always help you connect better with others and improve your problem solving skills.
    • Compliment. Compliment your colleague in front of others for a presentation that have been working hard on. You can also compliment a complete stranger for their appearance or attire that can make their day. You never know–by striking a conversation with a stranger, you could win a friend or business partner for life. Plus, there is hardly anyone who doesn’t like to be complimented.

    4. Enhance your skill bucket

    Learning a new skill set at any age never goes out of fashion. Want to learn how to play guitar but don’t have time for it? Look for any online course or a video session that can help introduce you to a few basics. As building up new skills becomes mandatory to get ahead in life, here are a few tips you could follow to start your journey for self-improvement.

    • Clarity of thought. While beginning a new skill set, it is important to know what we really want to attain out of it. A chef might want to learn making a new cuisine to help his restaurant attract more customers. Similarly, someone may want to learn a new language to open up more career opportunities. It is beneficial for you to know how that skill can help for you to grow.
    • Learn how it suits you. Living in an era where abundant information is just a few clicks away is always a boon to have. In case you don’t have a budget to enroll for a professional course, you can easily access all the blogs, videos and online channels. You can also join community groups where people with similar interests can bond with you.
    • Don’t rush into things. Select one skill set at a time and try to understand how you can adapt in by breaking it into smaller achievable goals. For example, if you want to be a better writer, start by reading books and articles of famous writers and writing a journal for 15 minutes everyday.

    The takeaways

    Rome was not built in a day, nor can resilience be built in a day. Even if you currently find yourself struggling with your share of problems, it’s time to move on and bring about a positive change in your lifestyle that can help you become a better version of yourself.

    While we cannot change our personality in a blink of an eye, we can certainly make an effort to change our perspective immediately towards our problems. As you set your mind towards new challenges, your resilience towards achieving them gets stronger.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Karan Bali

    The Marketing Maniac

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    Published on November 12, 2018

    10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When You’re Feeling Extra Stuck

    10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When You’re Feeling Extra Stuck

    We have all felt stuck at some point in our lives. Perhaps you feel stuck right now.

    Maybe you’re feeling a little stuck working on a creative project, like writing an article or painting a piece of art. Perhaps you started a new business, took on a major project at work or began a new health or fitness regimen.

    Your initial excitement has worn off and you’re now feeling stuck, confused or overwhelmed by how to keep progressing forward. Or maybe, you’re a lot stuck. You feel trapped in a job you hate, a relationship that isn’t working, a boatload of debt, or a life that has little resemblance to the one you’d imagined.

    Let’s be honest. Regardless of how stuck you are, it’s a terrible feeling. Feeling trapped and unsure how to move forward can lead to feelings of, confusion, angst, hopelessness, insecurity and overwhelm.

    Sometimes we just want to throw in the towel and give up. But don’t give up just yet.

    Whether you feel just a ‘little stuck’ or like you’re stuck in dry concrete; trying to make a small or big decision; wondering what you’re doing with your life), feeling trapped in a job, overwhelmed by debt, unhappy in a relationship or life that isn’t the one you want to live, these 10 strategies can help you move forward again.

    1. Take a step back

    Your first step forward when you feel stuck is to take a step back. Often, we try to get unstuck by pushing forward with sheer force or just trying harder. But as Einstein said,

    “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

    Access a different level of thinking by assessing your current situation from a new viewpoint. Whenever I’m working with clients who feel stuck, this is the first thing I ask them to do.

    I have them think about where they are, what got them here and what they really want. When you step back from your life, career, and challenges and look from a bit of a distance, you see things from a different perspective.

    Your Turn:

    Imagine you are lost in the woods. You could keep moving forward looking for your way out. You could panic and go in circles. You could head back the way you came. You could, as I learned in camp, just sit still until help arrives.

    Imagine instead that you could stop, take a deep breath and zoom out from your situation. Imagine you could fly above it all as if you were in a helicopter and look down at yourself among the trees.

    What could you see or notice differently from this perspective – a different route, people there to support you, the way out is closer than you thought?

    Another way to ‘zoom out’ is to look at your situation as a neutral observer. Imagine you’re a fly on the wall watching your life. What insights or advice would you give yourself?[1]

    2. Get specific

    It’s hard to move forward until you fully understand why you are stuck. You have to get specific and identify what’s really going on. You must name it to tame it.

    A great mentor of mine once said,

    “A well-defined problem presents its own solution”.

    If you want to find a solution, you must truly understand the underlying problem. This is one of the premises of coaching. When you dig a little deeper to the real issue/challenge/blockage, solutions tend to present themselves.

    For example, there are big differences between, ‘I feel stuck’ and ‘I feel stuck because I’m overwhelmed with the details’ or ‘I feel stuck because I’m worried what people are going to think of me.’ Once you name it, you are more likely to be able to tame it.

    One of the most important questions I ask clients is, ‘What’s getting in the way?’ When they answer, the next question is always, ‘What else?’ We continue along this route until we feel we’ve gotten to the real, underlying issue(s).

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    Your Turn:

    Seek to uncover the underlying issues that are getting in your way and stopping you from progressing. You can do this by journaling, talking to someone who knows you well, or simply taking the time to ask yourself these questions.

    Once you name it, perhaps the solution will then present and tame itself.

    3. Reconnect to your ‘why’

    Feeling stuck is often because you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture and what’s important. You’ve lost your why.

    Why did you start this in the first place? What reasons, values or passions drove you to make this change in your life? What picture do you have for yourself, your business and your life? Why are you wanting to achieve or accomplish this?

    By reminding yourself of your original intention and purpose, it gives you the intrinsic motivation to get back on track and move ahead.

    Connecting to your deeper ‘why’ will be the fuel that keeps you going, even through tough times and roadblocks.

    Your Turn:

    Whatever you’re stuck on right now, grab a journal and ask yourself, “Why is this important to me?” ,”Why did I start this in the first place?” “What am I trying to achieve here and why is that important to me? “

    4. Brainstorm Your Options

    We often feel stuck because we don’t see any way out from our current situation – we feel we don’t have any options.

    By brainstorming ideas and possibilities, you expand your mind and open your thinking to finding a new solution. When you can see potential options, you won’t feel so trapped anymore. 

    This is not about deciding the one thing or making the right choice, it’s about allowing your creative mind to expand and see all the potential possibilities. We often dive straight into finding the right one and eliminate anything that doesn’t feel perfect.

    That’s why so many people feel stuck. They are attempting to find the next right career, the best way to handle a situation or the one perfect idea. This can lead to a lot of stress and analysis paralysis.

    The reality is that there is no single best or right. There are many possibilities that could work for your situation. It’s about the next step right now.

    If you hate your career, what new potential careers are on your mind? List them all out – even the ones that seem unrealistic or silly.

    If you’re unhappy in your relationship, what can you do? There are likely a lot more options than you’ve considered. What are they?

    Your Turn:

    Make a list of options for your current situation – as crazy or ‘out there’ as they might be.

    When you think you’ve thought of everything, ask yourself, ‘What other options are there?’ This allows you to dig deeper and see ideas you might not have otherwise explored.

    Then, and only then can you start to identify the way forward.

    5. Take a brain break

    Full disclosure, I’m stealing this strategy from my 7-year-old daughter’s second-grade teacher.

    The other night I was helping my daughter with homework, she was getting super frustrated and wasn’t sure what to write in a letter to her big buddy. She was on the verge of tears when she looked up and asked, ‘Mom, can I take a brain break?’ She got up from the table, walked downstairs to her room and played with her stuffed animals. When she came upstairs a short time later, she was as happy as could be and jumped right into her writing.

    We could all use a brain break when we’re stuck. A chance to shift focus gives our brains a chance for quiet; it takes the pressure off so we can come back with a fresh mind and new perspective.

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    When we take a brain break, it refreshes our thinking and helps us discover another solution to a problem or see a situation through a different lens. The brain break actually helps to incubate and process new information.[2]

    A great brain break is to do something physical that gets you in flow. Take a hike, a run, a walk around the block. Another well-known brain break is meditation – which has so many proven benefits I can’t even begin to name them all. Try it, it works.

    I have one friend who says taking a shower helps her get unstuck. ’Somehow good thoughts come up in that silent space.’

    Your Turn:

    What kind of brain breaks can you give yourself? Which would be most helpful?  It’s not just for second graders anymore.

    6. Let go of what’s not working

    Have you ever walked through the mud and had your boot get stuck and your foot fly out? When this happens, you usually have two choices: either put your boot back on and keep plodding through, repeating the frustration as it continually gets stuck, or you can take off that boot and move forward.

    The same is true in life. When we get stuck, we often stay in the mud and try to drag our boot along. We keep doing what’s clearly not working. The boot represents limiting beliefs, old habits, or stories you’re telling yourself.

    Remember in the movie “UP” when Mr. Fredricksen is trying to get his house to fly? It was too heavy. He had to dump out his belongings until the house was light enough to lift off.

    Same is true here; you’ve got to get rid of the emotional baggage you’re carrying so you can move forward and fly.

    Take my client *Lucy for example. She was stuck trying to figure out what she wanted next in her life and career. She was having trouble finding a job she was interested in. Through our work together, we uncovered that Lucy had an interesting belief: that having a job and being happy were mutually exclusive.

    She believed she couldn’t have a job and be happy at the same time. This meant she was either going to be jobless and joyful or employed and miserable. In order to move forward in her career search, she needed to take off this ‘boot’ and believe she could find a job where she could, in fact, be happy.

    Your Turn:

    What’s holding you back? An old habit, limiting belief or story you are telling yourself? How can you reframe your thinking in order to change the direction you are headed?

    7. Know what you need to get unstuck

    We all have a way in which we operate that is unique to us. When you understand how you’re wired, you can understand more specifically what you need to get unstuck. It’s like your own personal formula for moving forward.

    For me, I need a crystal-clear picture of what I’m trying to achieve and a big, tangible goal to reach for.  When I don’t have a clear picture of the end result or challenging target I’m trying to hit, I feel stuck and demotivated. 

    Here are some common needs: 

    Astep-by-step plan, to understand why something is important, deadlines and impending pressure, unconditional encouragement and support, to think things through, connecting to a deeper meaning, freedom, and flexibility, and certainty.

    Do you relate to any of these?

    Your Turn:

    What do you need to get unstuck? If you’re not quite sure, you might want to check out the I.D.™ (Instinctive Drives™). It’s a tool I’ve used for almost 20 years (and have all my clients take). It helps you understand what you need to be at your best, including what will help you get unstuck.

    8. Shift your state

    When you’re in a stuck state, it actually creates a cycle of ‘stuckness.’ Get yourself out of there!

    Instead of placing all your focus and energy on the problem, shift your focus and energy to another area of your life. Go do something that brings you joy; spend time with someone you love.

    Do anything to shift your state and mood. This will switch your downward cycle of ‘doom and gloom’ into an upward cycle of ‘hope and possibility’.

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    A great way to shift your state is to practice gratitude. So, you hate your job. Practice gratitude for other areas of your life. Does it support your family? Allow you to work remotely?

    I’m not saying you should stay in a job you hate, I’m just recommending that you get perspective. A state shift brings energy, hope, and positivity into your mindset…keys to getting out of that dreaded stuck cycle.

    Your Turn:

    What always puts you in a good mood? What brings you joy, happiness or fulfillment?   Do it! And make sure to practice gratitude. Try this: each morning for the next week, write down three things you are grateful.

    9. Take action

    Getting into action is critical to getting unstuck. There’s no substitute for momentum. Action enables further action, while inactivity creates inertia, self-doubt, and confusion.

    I love this quote from Simon Sinek:

    ‘If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress.’

    My client *Marcus had just made a career move and was setting out to start his own wellness business. The biggest problem getting in his way? Inertia.

    The more he thought about what he was going to do, the bigger the endeavor began to feel. The more he explored the risks, challenges, and his extensive to-do list, the more he felt overwhelmed. He was stuck. 

    However, once he took action, starting with quick wins, he gained momentum and was able to move forward and tackle bigger and more challenging steps. Once he broke through his inaction, he was on a roll.

    My grandfather always told us: a path leads to a path. We can’t know what the future holds and trying to figure out everything before we start is a recipe for disaster.

    Know that a path will lead to a path, a step will lead to the next step, but you have to start walking first. 

    Your Turn:

    What’s the next step you can take to move forward? Where is there a quick win?

    When you think about your first (or next) step, keep it small and achievable to get the momentum going.

    10. Reach out for help

    This summer, my Dad took his new truck and my twin daughters on a trip to the Oregon sand dunes. Only a few minutes into the adventure, they got really stuck. They tried shoveling sand and getting out on their own, but they couldn’t. Nearly an hour later, (which felt like an eternity stuck in the middle of a pelting sandstorm), a little dune buggy came along. My Dad’s truck was six times its size, but all they needed was a little pull. They hooked up the wench and within minutes, they were free.

    We can all use a little help when we’re stuck. This might be talking to a good friend who knows and understands you or reaching out to get advice from someone who’s been in a similar situation to yours.

    Maybe it’s hiring a coach who will ask powerful questions to help you see things from a different angle, a therapist who can uncover hidden roadblocks or a consultant to share opinions and experiences.

    When you’re on your own, it can feel hopeless, overwhelming and just plain impossible. But, just a little push or pull from someone can quickly change your trajectory.

    While this may seem like one of the easiest strategies, it is actually one of the hardest to do. Why? Even though we are biologically wired to help each other, many of us find it challenging to reach out.

    There’s a reason for this:[3]

    ‘Asking for help exposes us to numerous possible social threats, which is why it’s so uncomfortable. It can feel like a tacit admission of weakness, which lowers our status, and can be an invitation for scorn. It creates uncertainty, and invites the possibility of rejection.’

    Your Turn:

    Who is your dune buggy? Who can you reach out to ask for help right now?

    Not ready to reach out to someone just yet? Maybe you can try asking the universe. Some call this prayer, others spiritual guidance,  others faith.  Whatever you call it, reach out to someone, somewhere, somehow…now.

    Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

    Bonus: When all else fails, be patient

    Sometimes when we’re stuck, we just need to practice patience. Patience that the answer is coming; the shift is going to happen. Patience that you’ve done all that you can and now, it’s time to wait and see what comes back to you.

    I’m not suggesting you wait for months or years; but sometimes we expect things to change quickly, yet things take time. This is especially true for big life decisions and transitions or when there are others involved, like your relationships or job.

    I love the line from Max Ehrmann’s’ Desiderata:

    ’…whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.’  

    Trust the unfolding and know that sometimes it may take a little longer than you’d like.

    There’s usually a good reason, even if you can’t see it. Maybe it’s not time to move forward or make changes just yet. Maybe you don’t have all the information you need, and when you do, you’ll quickly make progress. Maybe you’re actually stuck where you need to be right now.

    When I was in my most recent major career transition, feeling stuck and wondering if I would ever figure out my next step, this quote from Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu was exactly what I needed:

    ‘Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?’

    Stay strong. Be patient. The more stuck you are, the greater the freedom will feel.

    You’re going to be okay. It won’t always be like this. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Hang in there and trust the process. Your breakthrough is coming.

    Final Thoughts

    Which of these strategies feel like they will work best for you and your current stuck situation?

    You don’t have to use all of them, it just takes one.

    Remember, any movement, momentum or shift will help get you unstuck and moving forward again. Besides, it’s never too late to start things over! Here’s the proof:

    How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

    Featured photo credit: Michał Parzuchowski via unsplash.com

    Reference

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