The American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, once said that “you may not control all of the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them”; we think she’s onto something.
This is resilience – the ability to overcome and learn from our challenges. Studies have found that resilient people find it easier to bounce back from life’s ups and downs; they’re happier, have a more positive attitude, and make the best out of shitty situations.
It’s not that resilient people never have bad days, they’re just better at managing them. This is important stuff, because according to psychologist Sonya Lyubomirsky, once our basic needs are secure, how we choose to respond to life accounts for about 40% of our happiness overall. Through her research, Lyubomirsky found that our happiness is 50% based on genetics, 10% on life experience and the rest is up to us.
So what can you do to make the most out of the 40% you do control?
Get this right and you are set. Even the Dalai Lama labels compassion as “the” source of happiness. Simply visualising yourself and others who are suffering, without judgment and sending love and acceptance, builds resilience and happiness. It has some pretty incredible health benefits too. Compassion is a practice and the more you feel the easier it gets and the more powerful it becomes. Get started with a daily “compassion meditation”, it will change your life.
2. Build your team
At Verve we believe women can have it all, but we can’t have it all alone. We need each other. When life happens, from spilling coffee all over a white shirt before a meeting to hearing devastating family news – resilient women have a support crew waiting in the wings. These women know that asking for help or support is the only way through. Friends, family, colleagues, professionals, therapists, healers, trainers — find your support crew.
3. Play to your strengths
Contrary to popular belief sometimes it’s not all about self improvement. When life throws you a curveball it’s time to stay firmly in your comfort zone. In these moments playing to your strengths will build confidence and take the pressure off. Resilient people know when to push themselves. Why? Because this reduces unknowns and minimises personal challenges giving them the strength they need to overcome whatever difficulty is facing them, making it easier to bounce back.
4. Choose Positivity
Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, resilient people pay attention to what went right — no matter how small it is. It’s about perspective. Resilient people tend to have the same number of negative emotions as unhappy people; however, they do focus less on them. Practice this daily with the small stuff and you’ll be ready to activate positivity when adversity strikes.
5. Set up self-care habits
Supporting yourself with self care today is one of the best ways to build the resilience you’ll need tomorrow. Take time to move your body, write a journal, practice yoga, take a hot bath, rest — whatever helps you relax and recharge. Resilient people have these healthy habits set and ready to go when they need, and together with a positive attitude, it makes it easier to bounce back.
Sometimes we can be building resilience and ticking all the boxes but it’s still not enough. In these moments, we don’t need to keep pushing through. That’s when it’s time to reach out to your support crew, or reach beyond them, to the services and organisations who are ready to provide extra support. There is strength, and resilience, in vulnerability.
Life Line — 13 11 14
Beyond Blue — 1300 22 4636