The first noble truth of life told by Buddha was “Life is full of suffering.” What is suffering? Where does it lead to? Suffering is an ongoing state of distress, pain and hardships, which eventually leads to stress and mental trauma. It could be physical or mental, or both.
Having accepted that suffering is a certainty, we lay the foundation of building resilience during hardships. Resilience is an ability to handle pressure without losing one’s cool. People who practice resilience in everyday life maintain a more positive outlook towards life. They know how to cope with the stress effectively.
Research has shown that resilience can be learned. So if you are going through some tough times in your professional or personal life, follows these five steps to foster and strengthen your resilience in dire times.
Direct the change INWARDS
Nobody wants stress and hardships in their life. But when they come knocking at your door, the only option you are left with is to face them. A common mistake that almost everyone makes during times of adversities is that they focus on changing the external reality to suit their whims and fancies. When they are unable to do so, they feel stressed.
If hardships and demands don’t adjust according to you, then it is best to develop traits and qualities that help you to deal with the external demands better. Being flexible and adapting would only increase your resilience to stress.
Research has demonstrated that building self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress. Remind yourself of your strengths and achievements. Becoming more confident in your own ability to deal with crisis is the only way to foster resilience for the future.
In times of stress, we need people we can confide in. Simply talking to a friend about the situation will allow you to share your emotions and receive positive feedback that could turn out to be a possible solution to your problem.
Having good social bonds and networking help us stay steady and hardy during tough times. Apart from connecting with people, if you are feeling distressed about something, instead of staying in your comfort zone, you can also try reading a few biographies that elaborate the struggles of prominent personalities and how they won against all odds. Try to learn from their hard experiences. It will definitely help you prepare better the next time around.
As said by William James, Founder of American Psychology, “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” This statement emphasises the importance of an individual's attitude in dealing with life. The attitude that we carry to explain the setbacks to ourselves also determines resilience. There are three attitudes to this explanatory style – permanence, pervasiveness and personalisation.
Permanence – Resilient people consider the consequences of unwanted events in life to be temporary. For example, saying “my boss did not like my project proposal” rather than “my boss hates me” shows that you consider your boss’s disappointment to be a temporary setback.
Pervasiveness – Do not let setbacks in one aspect of life affect other aspects of your life.
Personalisation – Look at problems objectively, with a positive perspective, rather than getting overwhelmed and absorbed in the problem.
One needs to effectively plan out goals in order to come out of a difficult situation. The goals set need to be SMART, that is:
Specific – For instance, instead of saying “I want to be the best employee”, try to be more specific and frame it as “I want to sell our product to 100 customers this month.”
Measurable – Break down your goal into measurable elements. For example – “I would write 300 words daily for a year in order to submit my thesis”
Attainable – Your goals should be reasonable and attainable. Pressurising yourself with too high of a goal will only add to your woes.
Realistic – Your goals should be realistic and relevant to the skills and situations in your life. Aiming at buying a BMW while earning 10 thousand a month is not a realistic goal.
Timely – Execute your goals in a timely manner and set deadlines in order for the goals to be efficient.
Problems are universal, but the way we deal with them makes your story unique. Now, whether you want to give into your problems and live in fear for the rest of your life or would you want to be resilient and fight off the challenging tests of your life, the choice is yours and we sincerely hope that you make the better one after reading this.