Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits
Life can be unpredictable, and everyone experiences twists and turns along the way. Anything from daily challenges to traumatic events can leave lasting impacts. Each change affects people differently, bringing a variety of thoughts, emotions, and uncertainty. Yet, because of resilience, people are able to adapt well over time to life-changing or stressful situations.
The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, tragedy, or other significant sources of stress. Resilience empowers individuals and fosters growth from difficulties. This does not mean that one is immune to emotional distress, but rather the distress doesn’t determine the outcome of one’s life. There are many aspects of life we can control, modify, and grow with.
Building resilience takes time and intentional effort, but anyone can learn and develop the behaviors, thoughts, and actions needed to do so. Skills that build resilience also result in better problem-solving skills, stronger social connections, and a greater sense of purpose.
Four Building Blocks of Resilience
Resilience can be broken down into four building blocks which include building connections, fostering wellness, finding purpose, and embracing healthy thoughts.
Build connections to create a strong support system that will act as a safety net during challenges. Be sure to prioritize these relationships by reaching out regularly. Don’t be afraid to accept help from others and to reciprocate support. Seek out community or faith-based groups that may offer a sense of purpose and inclusion.
Foster wellness by moving, eating, and meditating to enhance well-being and lifestyle. Stress manifests itself physically just as much as it does emotionally. Develop positive habits like healthy sleep patterns, hydration, and regular exercise to strengthen your body’s ability to adapt to stress. Make time to laugh, joke, and be light-hearted each day.
Find purpose daily by completing one action item that will get you closer to a long-term goal. Focus on the small things you can accomplish to move in the direction you want to go. Explore your interests by reading a new book or listening to a podcast. Find ways to help others by volunteering or supporting a loved one.
Embrace healthy thoughts by keeping things in perspective. Learn from the past by reflecting on successes and accomplishments. Establish a healthy work-life balance and identify variables you have control over. Remain optimistic by visualizing what you want rather than worrying about the unknown.
Enhance Your Resilience
It can be useful to identify specific action items that will help enhance resilience. Consider the six dimensions of wellbeing and review ways you have already built resilience in each area as well as ways to improve. Here are a few suggestions:
- Practice taking deep breaths to recenter yourself.
- Set boundaries with individuals or situations that are making you uncomfortable.
- Develop a habit of stretching each day.
- Stay hydrated by bringing a reusable water bottle with you to work.
- Create a daily, weekly, or monthly budget.
- Review spending habits or subscriptions that may no longer be useful.
- De-clutter your personal and work environment.
- Volunteer to clean your neighborhood or community.
- Read a book for fun.
- Complete a daily puzzle, Wordle, or Sudoku.
- Write a “thank you” note to someone who has helped you build resilience.
- Be present when spending time with friends and family – set aside distractions, including your phone.