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10 Strategies Resilient People Use To Bounce Back When Life Knocks Them Down

10 Strategies Resilient People Use To Bounce Back When Life Knocks Them Down

“People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters, they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under” Charles Swindoll

The word Resilience has its origin in the Latin word “resilíre,” which means, “to leap back” or as I like to say, “bounce back”. Resilience helps to make the uncertain things in our lives certain. Knowing how to “bounce back” from adversity and life challenges is something that all of us are able to do – we just need to know HOW.

Resilience enables you to live a life that is based on choice rather than being at the mercy of chance or habit. It also enables you to manage adversity and “bounce back” when life has shot you down.

When you are living a resilient life, you are living a fulfilled life, where you know who you are and you know what is important to you. You have a plan as to where you are going and you know where you should be investing your time and energy.

For you to lead a resilient life you have to overcome the pain, the adversity and the unpredictable challenges that life throws at you. It is not an easy journey, but then again, life was not meant to be easy.

The good news is that resilience is a process of thoughts and actions that can be learned. Although we can not control the challenging events in our lives, resilience can give us the strength to control our responses to these events.

Resilience Is A Life Story

Resilience is intangible, as you can’t touch it, but you can see and feel it. Resilience is a person’s life story and to truly understand and feel resilience at work, you need listen to resilient people’s stories. While you are listening to their stories, you will hear them talk about how they used various strategies to overcome the adversity and challenges in their life.

There are the 10 strategies that resilient people commonly use to manage adversity and to “bounce back” when life has knocked them down. By using these 10 strategies and listening to the stories of resilient individuals, you will be shown HOW you can live a resilient and fulfilled life.

1. Laughter Positivity And Hope

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” Dr Seuss

Resilient people live meaningful lives. They love to laugh and have a positive and hopeful attitude of life. Resilient people don’t take themselves too seriously and they have a sense of humour about the challenges of life.

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For resilient people, happiness comes because they believe in who they are, they know what they are doing, and they love what they do.

Resilient people are optimistic and believe in their own strength and ability to overcome any problems. In a crisis, a resilient person will be positive, open and willing to find the solution. They will not be dwelling on the problem but looking forward to the future solutions that should be considered.

Laughter, positivity and hope are important strateges to use when you want to build resilience in your life.

2. Accepting And Anticipating Change On A Daily Basis

it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.  Dr Leon C. Megginson

In todays world of constant change it is hard to hold on to who you are and manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. The one constant thing in our lives today is change.

Resilience is a quality that enables you to survive and thrive in a world of constant change. Resilient people are always ready for the unpredictable events in their lives. To them change is part of the daily routine of life. It is expected, and in fact, those who are most resilient embrace the opportunities that change brings.

3. Embracing The Power Of Choice

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” Kevyn Aucion

Resilient people are comfortable with using the power of choice. They understand the value of the power of choice when dealing with tough decisions or confronting challenging situations. Using the power of choice empowers and strengthens their ability to take action and to make decisions.

They know that they are not responsible for the challenging events in their lives. They also know they are in control of their responses to these events. By embracing the power of choice, resilient people are able to maintain perspective and manage the flow of emotions that they are dealing with in the present moment.

Resilient people are not afraid to to acknowledge their negative feelings, emotions and fears. Instead, they choose not to let these negative fears and emotions take control and immobilize them.

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4. Asking For Help

“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.”  Anne Wilson Schaef

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness to a resilient person. Resilient people seek support, advice and encouragement from others when times are tough.

They value the input of others, along with the wisdom and energy to overcome the adversity or solve the problems they are facing. Resilient people do not work or live in isolation. They enjoy belonging to a community and have a very collaborative approach when it comes to decision making and problem solving.

5. Being Self Aware And Connected

Resilient people practice the concept of mindfulness. They pay attention to where they are in the present moment. They are connected to what is important to them in their lives – family and friends. They know who they are and what they stand for.

They are self-aware and are able to monitor the thoughts that flow through them. This allows them to be able to tolerate ambiguity and hold opposing thoughts in their minds at the same time. Instead of reacting to their negative thoughts they will observe these thoughts and then let them pass through like a storm.

Their values and their purpose in life are the foundations from which they lead their lives. Any decision they need to make or any problem they need to solve will be aligned to their beliefs and values.

6. Living to Learn

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius

Resilient people learn to take charge of their thinking and emotions in order to become resilient. They know that to live a resilient life they must continuously develop and strengthen their skills and abilities to remain strong.

They are survivors and when faced with adversity will ask themselves, “How can I survive this and what do I need to do to overcome this obstacle?” They know their strengths and their vulnerabilities and they are solution-focused thinkers.

They will always look for ways in which they can source the best solution for the problem or challenges they need to overcome. Resilient people are inquisitive, curious and questioning – always seeking information or new knowledge that will help them to be a better and stronger person.

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They acquire new skills and knowledge through life experience, observation, reflection and from the wisdom of others. They believe in the journey of continuous self-improvement and see life challenges and adversity as an opportunity to learn.

Resilient people also understand that to live a resilient life one has to experience life – the good, the bad and the ugly.

7. Valuing The Importance of Health & Well-Being

“Intelligence comes into being when…the mind, the heart and the body are really harmonious” J Krishnamurti

The energy source of resilience comes from the physical and mental strength of a person. A resilient person understands the importance of being physically, emotionally and mentally fit. They understand the importance of consistently following daily healthy habits  that nurture and strength their health and well-being. Resilient people look after themselves and value the gift of having a healthy and emotionally strong body and mind.

They value the positive energy they get by surrounding themselves with like-minded people. This positive energy builds and maintains their emotional, physical and mental well-being. Resilient people have healthy and strong relationships which they value and nurture.

8. Practicing Appreciation & Gratitude

People who live a resilient life know that it is not a one-way ticket and that life is not all about them. It is about how they can help and support other people in their lives. They have an deep awareness of people and how they feel. They actively practice gratitude and will always acknowledge their appreciation of others. Resilient people like to serve others and develop supportive and caring relationships.

This strategy of  practicing appreciation and gratitude strengthens the emotional resilience in people. Resilient people are grateful and appreciate all the good things they have in their life. When adversity strikes, resilient people are able to keep perspective because they are emotionally resilient.

9. Embrace Failure and Disappointment

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved” Helen Keller

Resilient people have the mindset of a survivor and not a victim. They expect to make mistakes, to fail, and to be disappointed. They know that to be strong, one has to overcome adversity and failure.

They embrace life learning experiences such as failure and disappointment because it enables them to grow and become a better person.

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Resilient people do not seek validation from others to determine their success. They define their success in their own terms.

To help them define their key learnings and how they can move forward in their lives, resilient people will ask these three questions:

1. What went well?

2. What didn’t go so well?

3. What can I do better next time?

Those who are resilient do not typically have a fear of failure and they understand the importance of how they respond to their failures. Resilient people choose to respond to failure by “bouncing back” and starting again.

10. Be Adaptable, Flexible and Flow

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way ’round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves”   Bruce Lee

Resilient people understand that life is not static – it is unpredictable and challenging. Adaptability, flexibility and flow are key strengths that enable resilient people to manage the unpredictability of life. These three strengths are also essential for all the other nine resilient strategies that resilient people use to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.

Adaptability, flexibility and flow give resilient people the capacity to cope internally with the complexity of life and the range of positive and negative emotions they will experience in their lives.

If you want to live a resilient life, it is a tough journey because to be resilient you have to experience personal setbacks. This is undoubtedly scary, and for many of us, we choose not to embrace resilience and our life languishes. Resilient people know the huge effort and energy it takes to be able to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.

They use these 10 strategies to build their strength and capacity to lead a resilient life. They choose to embrace the unpredictability of life, the pain and the adversity because they know that the rewards they gain from choosing a resilient life are priceless. It is easy to take these strategies and want to follow them to lead a resilient life, but to actually follow them and live by them is a feat all on its own.

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

How to Be Patient and Take Charge of Your Life What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For? How Continuous Improvement Can Enhance Your Personal Life Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It 10 Emotional Regulation Skills for a Healthier Mind

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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