Surviving big changes that come your way.
I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT OF RESILIENCY as a person’s ability to bounce back from life’s hardships by transforming them into challenges. Being resilient allows individuals to survive in this chaotic world with elegance and grace.
Many of us tend to become the victims of old thought patterns that don’t serve us well. We have more than 60,000 thoughts a day; and if we’re not vigilant about controlling how we think, we can become enveloped in a “thought tsunami.” It’s much easier to just maintain the way we’ve always thought than to try to consciously change deeply ingrained behaviors.
We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our reactions and how we think about situations. This capacity isn’t handed to us through our genetics; it’s actually a learned psychological skill. Individuals who practice resiliency have developed the ability to push through problems rather than allowing difficulties to overwhelm and push them around. Resilient people have realized that their mind can become an ally—instead of the enemy—during tough times.
The following are some techniques to help you walk the resiliency trail:
1. Remember that a thought can be latched onto or let go. It can’t disturb you unless you let it.
2. Think of times when you showed courage in the face of adversity. You’ve been the hero or heroine of your own saga many times. Who is that person who triumphs over difficulty? Create a pseudonym for this strong being. Resonate with your inner warrior. Perhaps when things get rough, you call upon Theresa the Tenacious or Betsy Braveheart or Wanda the Wonderful and ask for guidance.
3. Create an attitude of strength, and learn to walk purposefully. You send yourself and those around you “wimp messages” when your body language looks as if you just spent two years in a dungeon with only bread and water for sustenance. Stand tall and your mind will follow!
4. Keep in mind that millions of people throughout history have endured extraordinarily difficult circumstances and survived to tell their tale. Keep some books next to your bed that illustrate the stories of some of these courageous individuals. I often highlight passages and reread them when I’m feeling vulnerable.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Man’s Search For Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl
- Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, by Immaculée Ilibagiza
- Night, by Elie Weisel
- The Measure of a Man, by Sidney Poitier
- Lessons in Becoming Myself, by Ellen Burstyn
- Escape from Slavery, by Francis Bok
- God Grew Tired of Us, by John Bul Dau
5. Build a circle of individuals who help you in your quest for solutions rather than those who enable you to stay stuck in the limbo of impossibilities.
Loretta LaRoche is a stress-management consultant who advocates humor, optimism, and resiliency as coping mechanisms. She uses her wit and wisdom to help people learn how to take stress and turn it into strength.