Let’s be honest: whoever you are, whether you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or not, life will throw curve balls. Like in a game of dodge ball, there’s no telling where the ball will land once it is hurled at you. The ball might fall on your health. It might fall on your finances. It might fall on your romantic relationship. It might fall on your faith. It might even fall on your temperament. Wherever it lands it will cause a shock to your system and elicit an imperative response. But the key is to get up each and every time you’re knocked down. Here are five approaches to keep in practice for when life lands a good one!
The 5 Ways to Build Resilience
Sense of humor
The expression goes, “I had to laugh to keep from crying.” When we were children it was suggested we “turn that frown upside down.” Humor is a valuable tool the universe gave us to make the hard times bearable. It inspires us and connects us. Through humor we rise above our negative circumstances. It lifts our spirit, even if momentarily. Humor is healing. When that curve ball lands you can actually laugh at it! You can change the meaning and effect of the impact. Instead of giving in to bitterness, regret and other negative feelings, humor helps release the fear those feelings could be coming from and energize the creative spirit that can see beyond the tangible natural world.
Similarly, gratitude can change an attitude. Gratitude lets others in and allows us to value the present moment, in spite of… Through the practice of gratitude we earn the feeling of being valued and valuable. We protect and honor the things we value, and we want to enjoy them more. More life, more opportunity, more love. The first person to show gratitude toward is our self. Showing gratitude can change the energy in a tense and uncomfortable situation. It can inspire another to want to be your ally. You stop feeling sorry for yourself and get up again. It is very powerful.
Expect the Unexpected
One of the most important things to understand is that we are not in control. Or at least that we control very little. And often the things that should be in our control, like our thoughts and actions, are not because of unconscious beliefs and impulses. Know that sometimes the best laid plans can be thrown off course through an unforeseen influence. We cannot plan for every contingency. A healthy skepticism about our own thinking can help us minimize the impact of the blind spots within ourselves and outside of ourselves. Needing to be in control can make it hard to pivot when change comes unexpectedly and cause stagnation. Resilience requires agility.
Great things can sometimes take time. One of the things we often want to control is timing. We set our goals and implement our strategy to achieve them. We do this with the expectation that with consistent effort our expected outcome will happen on the schedule we set. But since we are not in control, and we are interconnected members of an immense moving puzzle, sometimes our timing, cosmically speaking, is off. We have to wait. “Timing is everything.” Letting go of the need to control can free us defeatism and impatience. It can also create room for gratitude. We just “trust the process.” For example, the process of not giving up and trying again involves a heavy dose of patience.
Envision Your Outcome
Without vision there is no destination. Your vision should be clear. We usually have a clear vision of something about which we are passionate. The vision is the destination. It’s what you meditate on. Reaching that place is a need when the vision is right for you. It doesn’t have to be something grand. Just something to reach for, something that stretches you and getting there would literally be a dream come true. Keeping that place at the forefront of our mind – continuing to see it – will provide the will to overcome complacency, apathy and defeat. It’s how we win.
I told my own story of resilience and victory through a catastrophic personal experience in my book, How Death Saved My Life, available on Amazon here.