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No one ever promised that our journey through life would be smooth, but how we handle ourselves during the good and the bad has a lot to do with resilience.

Being resilient doesn't mean we don’t feel pain and distress, it just means in the face of adversity we ‘bounce back’ faster. 

The good news is how resilient we are is not just about our personalities, it can be learned by everyone. So when life does throw us lemons we can come back with lemonade that bit faster.

1) Develop your awareness through mindfulness

When traumatic events happen, being able to calm our minds and bring ourselves into the present moment is a valuable skill. By having an awareness of our own emotions and of the situation at hand we are in a better place to analyse and see our choices and pathways ahead. Practising mindfulness on a regular basis enables you to focus on the present moment, calming the mind from outside distractions and acknowledging them in a calm and controlled way. See how to start or progress in your mindfulness practises.

2) Develop your sense of control

When we feel in control of our own destinies we are happier. Though many of the events life brings to us are out of our control, how we use to react to them is our choice. When you feel trapped or frustrated by a situation take back the control by looking at all your options and choosing which path forward is best for you.

3) Build a support network

Consciously build a network of family and friends who can support you when you are at your most vulnerable. Having care and support around you acts as a protective factor in crisis and gives you a loving, safe space to talk things through. While talking about your issues doesn’t make them go away, sharing does alleviate stress and a caring network may be able to help with possible solutions to problems.

4) Pump up your positivity

Look for the silver lining in even the worst of circumstances.  In the face of big challenges look for small daily things in our lives we are thankful for. It can be as simple as ‘the sun was shining on the way to work today’ or ‘I cooked my boiled egg to perfection’. Life is a succession of tiny moments, pin point those that made you smile or uplifted you, once you start noticing them they have a funny way of continuing to grow, even in the darkest of times.

5) Take care of yourself

Always take time to nurture yourself in body and mind. Good health and healthy habits are the foundation to mental and emotional resilience. Keeping in good physical fitness keeps everyday stress levels low.

Nurture a positive view of yourself and belief in your abilities. Always replace negative comments in your head with positive ones ‘I can do this’ ‘I am a good friend/colleague’ ‘I’m good at my job’. Have faith in yourself that you can handle and overcome any situation.

6) Find a sense of purpose in your life

For some this means religion, for others a personal sense of spirituality and creativity. Cultivating an inner life and questioning the importance of it all has proved over and again to be a fundamental part of our emotional wellbeing. When we find a sense of purpose within and outside of ourselves we are better able to handle traumatic events in our lives and find connections with those around us.

7) Keep laughing

Gallows humour and laughing in the face of grim subject matter has been with us for as long as we can remember, and not without reason. Laughing in the face of adversity can be a great pain reliever, physically, as it takes tension to more manageable levels, and as a psychological salve. Choosing to laugh instead of cry when life and events are bigger than us are the actions of a survivor, not a victim.

If you need help with learning strategies to build emotional resilience, our psychologists at PeopleSense by Altius Group have experience supporting all life events. Call us on 1300 307 912 or contact us online.