As a licensed mental health therapist and life management coach, I often notice how resiliency affects a person’s overall health and outlook on life in general. I see it as a process. We're all born with a temperament and as we experience life, we can see things in a neutral, positive, or negative tone.
With practice, and developing an awareness of how our perceptions become our realities, we can change the way we think about events in our life and can build our resiliency toward them, leading to a healthier outlook on life, and therefore, a more fulfilling and happier life.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you are resilient:
- Do you practice regular self-care? This includes exercising, having a balance of work and play, making healthy food choices, and making healthy life choices.
- Do you have a good support system and connectedness to others?
- Do you see yourself as a survivor instead of a victim, if there has been trauma in your life?
- Do you have a sense of spirituality? This includes being grateful for what you have and accepting yourself.
- Do you help others in need?
- Do you have good problem-solving skills? This includes taking responsibility for your actions and not blaming others, and avoiding alcohol and substance abuse.
- Do you live in the present, instead of worrying about the future or ruminating about the past?
- Do you have a positive outlook on life?
- Do you see opportunities when there are disappointments?
- Do you seek help and guidance from others when needed?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you have a healthy dose of resilience.
If not, you can practice how to change the way you think about certain things since you have control of your thoughts. This does not mean that you have to accept things that are hurtful to you. It simply means that you can change the way those things are affecting you by seeing them in a different way.
For example, I had a client who was feeling used by her older children and her husband. She grew up with abusive parents and learned to avoid expressing her feelings so she wouldn’t get hit. She didn’t take care of herself and used food for comfort, binging on junk food since her teens. It was difficult for her to bounce back when things weren’t going well. She allowed her family to take advantage of her and she was building up a lot of anger and resentment from this.
Through coaching, she started taking more control of her life and was able to build her confidence by becoming more assertive with her family, learning to say no to unreasonable demands, and delegating household responsibilities to others instead of doing everything herself. She started carving out time for herself and began practicing positive affirmations every morning.
She was becoming more resilient, and gradually built a good support system outside of her family. Even though she started out in her marriage feeling less than and with a negative outlook on life, she was able to turn her thoughts around by practicing things that created a higher level of resiliency for her. She became much happier in her relationships and her emotional and physical health improved.
The beauty of resiliency is that it can be developed through your journey to better health. By taking steps to improve your level of resiliency, you will find yourself feeling more peaceful and happier with yourself and others around you.
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