Dr Bev Smallwood

How To Develop Resilience

People with resilience put into practice daily habits of self-care and healthy mental habits that carry them through the storms of life.

1. Seeing change as a challenge and an opportunity, rather than as a threat.

Challenge is motivating, stimulating thinking and problem solving. The perception of threat causes a person to become anxious, thereby moving into a defensive posture rather than a proactive one.

2. Expectation of change.

Resilient people have learned that change is a constant. In fact, they have developed the ability to foresee changes coming down the pipe and to initiate some of those changes. This way, they are caught off guard less often.

3. Development of healthy self-esteem.

Those who deal well with the changes of live have learned to view themselves as valuable, even when their performance is not up to par. They also have a sense of self-worth even when they do not have the approval of everyone in their lives.

4. Review of past transitions.

Successfully accomplishing other life transitions gives hope and encouragement to resilient people. They feel reinforced in their ability to handle change. They also are able to analyze any past difficulties with transitions so that they can learn from them and develop the skills necessary for improvement.

5. Taking care of one self physically.

The importance of physical health cannot be overstated when it comes to dealing with the stresses and changes of life. Maintaining a balanced diet, getting proper rest, and engaging in regular exercise are key elements of physical self-care.

6. Quiet time for self.

Research shows that people who engage in “creative withdrawal” are healthier and deal better with stress. This quiet time may include prayer, meditation, introspection, relaxation, or recreation.

7. Development of diverse support systems.

Support and connection are critical elements of a plan for dealing well with the stresses of life. People who are connected with others are healthier in every way.

8. Development of conflict resolution skills.

Resilient people don’t let conflicts accumulate. They certainly don’t let resentment grow and harden into bitterness. They make prompt, respectful attempts to resolve issues through collaboration. They don’t procrastinate when situations need attention.

9. The practice of flexibility.

People who are not able to be flexible are easily broken. Adaptation to the changes and demands of life, to the preferences of different people, or to one’s own changing needs and desires must be in the resilient person’s repertoire.

10. Learning to say no and set boundaries.

Resilient people have learned that the ability to set boundaries is a key life skill. They have learned that being able to say “no” actually frees them to be more effective at the things to which they say “yes”.

11. Development of a realistically optimistic perspective.

The research literature shows that maintaining optimism is one of the most important mental skills. Optimistic people outperform pessimistic people in every area of life, according to controlled studies.

This does not mean that a person becomes a “Pollyanna”, pretending “it’ll never happen to me.” What it does mean is that when things happen, there is a sense that the problem is temporary and that things will get better.

Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist and professional speaker who is the author of “This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen to Me.” Visit her website, www.DrBevSmallwood.com; or contact Bev at 601.264.0890 or by email, Bev@DrBevSmallwood.com. Also connect with Bev on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and her blogs, Shrink Rap and New Morning Devotionals.

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