As a society we have had to deal with a tremendous number of large-scale difficulties and traumas in recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, mass shootings, economic downturn and financial turmoil, and more. The ramifications of these and other significant and worldwide issues have impacted each of us personally to differing degrees. But taking steps to adapt can greatly benefit our mental health and overall well-being. Below are some tips on how to build resilience in difficult times.
Acknowledge Your Feelings and Focus on the Positive
When we are experiencing a crisis or challenging situation it is important to acknowledge and process all of our emotions including negative ones like fear, anger and disappointment. It is normal to feel all of these things during difficult times, and denying these emotions usually only makes them more intense. At the same time we also have to try to make the best of and find “silver linings” in these adverse conditions. For example, if you lose your job you can focus on the opportunity to find a new position where you feel more valued and satisfied. There are typically both negative and positive aspects and potential outcomes in difficult situations, and acknowledging the full picture at these times is important in building resilience, learning from the experience, and taking full advantage of opportunities for positive change and growth.
Accept What You Cannot Change
Oftentimes, we find ourselves in difficult circumstances that are beyond our control. When that happens it’s important to acknowledge our feelings of powerlessness and frustration, and then to focus on what we have the power to change. For instance, if a loved one receives a troubling diagnosis you can focus on what you can do to make the treatment process easier for them. This might include driving your loved one to appointments, running errands for them, offering a listening ear, and maybe even doing some research on promising new treatments or complimentary/supportive therapies. Viewing the situation like this can help us to feel more helpful and empowered in the position that we are in.
Rely on Your Friends & Family
If you tend to stick your head in the sand whenever times get tough, you’re not alone. But this habit can cause you to feel isolated, compounding any difficulties you’re already experiencing. So, make it a point to reach out to friends and family members. Even if you don’t discuss the issues you’re currently dealing with, getting to relax and spend time together—either in person or virtually—will likely leave you feeling better overall.
Take the Next Step Toward Overcoming Adversity
If you’re going through a difficult time in your life and would like to work on building your resilience, contact me today to schedule an initial consultation.