Building Your Resilience

To be resilient means to be able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions, or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.  Nobody wants difficult things to happen to them, but they’re going to happen.  Being resilient will help you through your challenges.  How do you build your resilience?  You can use coping mechanisms to manage stress and maintain perspective.  They are what you turn to when life gets hard. In the rest of the post, I’ll share some of the coping mechanisms that help me.  Healthy coping mechanisms help you climb the mountain of life and become stronger along the way.

My biggest coping mechanism is my faith in a God who knows all and is interested in my life.  I have inner peace as I focus more on how He views me than how others view me.  Believing in higher power helps me feel like I’m not alone.  Whatever your specific beliefs are, having a code you live by and turn to in hard situations can help you stay grounded.

Another coping mechanism is music, especially music with uplifting lyrics.  Often when I am struggling, song lyrics will come back to my mind that are exactly what I need in that moment.  In the song “Brave” by David Archuleta, the verses talk about negative conversions we have with ourselves that build up so much that we don’t want to get out of bed.  And yet, the chorus is a positive release after the negativity: “I can be brave / For all those days that I’m losing my way / I need a voice inside that’s gonna say be brave / I can be brave.”  Near the end of the song is a commitment to keep fighting no matter what: “And I’m ready to fight / When shadows come / To hunt me down / And I, I won’t give up / No I won’t give up / Let the war cry sound.”

The final coping mechanism I’ll mention is reading.  Reading fiction books helps me explore different experiences, circumstances, and perspectives.  I get ideas about how to (and how not to) handle my own adversity.  Books of all kinds have a marvelous way of capturing aspects of the human condition.  Plus, when you read about the struggles of anyone else, whether a fictional character or a real person, you realize you’re not alone in struggling through life.  Every human being is on a journey.  And, if reading is not your thing, you can get a similar effect by listening to others’ experiences through podcasts or one-on-one conversations.

Coping mechanisms are vital to building up and maintaining your resilience.  I’ve mentioned three of my biggest ones—faith, music, and reading.  Challenges come to everyone, in various forms, but what matters is how you respond to them.  Life often feels like climbing a mountain.  You do it a little bit at a time, and you have climbing gear to help you.  Coping mechanisms are like your climbing gear for life’s mountain.  Used well, they help you endure the climb and get stronger in the process.  Healthy coping mechanisms allow you to not only survive but to thrive.

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