How can I become more resilient?

There are a number of things you can do to become more resilient. Everyone needs resilience, especially in midlife. Everyone needs that ability to recover from difficulties. Resilience is a delicate balancing act; an ongoing process that takes practice and requires time and patience. Asking yourself—and practicing—these things can help you become more resilient:

  1. Can I change the channel? If you're watching a television drama you don't like, it's easy enough to find a different narrative—by changing the channel. Try changing your own channel and come up with a different story. Pay attention to the things you tell yourself, and question them. Doing so can change your take on what has happened, and put it in a different—and more positive—light. Instead of seeing the situation negatively, for example, think about what it has taught you and how it may help you help other people.
  2. Can I practice optimism? If you're not lucky enough to come about this trait naturally—and you're the half-empty rather than half-full kind of person—you can still learn to be optimistic.
  3. Can I make connections? It can be tough to go it alone. Making and maintaining good relationships with friends and family members can help strengthen resilience; social support is invaluable in getting through life's challenges.
  4. Can I detach? While this may seem contradictory to making connections, it doesn't mean you should disengage from personal contact. Instead, detaching yourself from a challenging situation—and not taking it personally or blaming yourself—can help bolster resilience. 
  5. Can I practice self-care? Don't neglect your own needs, feelings and desires. Get regular exercise, but also make sure to fit in some relaxation; nurturing isn't just for others. Taking care of yourself will equip your mind and body to deal with difficult situations.
  6. Can I trust myself? Can I trust myself? Building or maintaining confidence in yourself and trusting your instincts go a long way toward feeling mastery over your ability to solve problems. So does acting decisively on an adverse situation, which goes along with trusting yourself.
  7. Can I allow myself to feel my emotions? There's no doubt that many situations will evoke strong emotions, and it's okay to let yourself feel them. But just as importantly, you must know the time to push them aside to continue to function.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.