Learning Resilience

Learning Resilience

Q: Is it possible to learn how to be more resilient??


Some people argue that it is absolutely possible! Dr. Dennis Charney, the dean of the medical school at Mount Sinai Hospital and the co-author of the book, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, suggests several ways to build resilience:

  • Practice Optimism. Approaching a difficult situation with the belief that you will recover from it will help you gain strength. It is also helpful to surround yourself with positive people – because like pessimism, optimism is catchy.
  • Rewrite your story. We do a lot of talking to ourselves without even realizing it – and some of the stories that we tell ourselves can either help us bounce back or can force us deeper into the struggle. Think about the story that you are telling yourself about what you are going through – are you trying to ignore it? Are you beating yourself up about it? Or are you trying to see how you can learn from it and move forward.
  • Don’t personalize it. While there are many times that we are dealing with a disaster that might have been different had we done something differently, as Dr. Grant points out, “there is almost no failure that is totally personal.”
  • Remember Your Comebacks. Think back to other hard times and think about the ways that you recovered. The way that you will gain inner strength is to remember all those other times you stumbled and were able to pick yourself up again.
  • Support Others. There’s a reason that there are support groups out there. When we are in a crisis, we need others, but we also need to help others because that helps us feel strong and purposeful.

The good news? All the research on resilience is clear that we can learn how to develop and strengthen it. The bad news? This learning and strengthening take time and energy. The real news? The more resilient you are, the better your life will be – come good or bad news!

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