Why Some People Thrive & Others Barely Survive During Tough Times

You’ve seen those people who handle the most challenging crises with more grace than you’re able to muster when you burn your dinner. It’s the hairdresser who cuts your hair with a smile on her face and a Pucci scarf wrapped around her head while she’s going through cancer treatment. It’s your cousin who lost his high-paying job and downsized his home and lifestyle to accommodate his low-paying temp job — and still happily hosts holiday gatherings in his modest house.

Why are some people able to tolerate and bounce back from hardship easier than others? Is it genetics? Are they hard-wired that way?

Resilience is one’s ability to roll with the punches. It’s the ability to continue functioning (and sometimes happily) during trauma, adversity and stress.

And while it may come more naturally to some, there are common practices and reminders to keep in mind that, once learned, will render you with the superpower of resilience.

1. Try gratitude, because it really does work.

Yes, I know. We’ve all been inundated with the power of gratitude in the last decade. But is it really that transformative? Turns out, it is. A daily practice of gratitude will program you to look for the things that are still right when everything around you is wrong and falling to pieces. Start by sharing three things you’re grateful for on Facebook. You’ll see how quickly your friends chime in.

2. Make connections even in those moments when all you want is to be alone.

Socially connected people are more resilient than the rest. Make it your goal to build your tribe. Look for positive, like-minded people to bond with. Schedule phone calls or video calls that happen weekly so that your friends know what’s going on in your life as it happens — not just when the sh*t hits the fan.

3. Practice self-care.

Don't roll your eyes. Sure, "self-care" is a bit of a cliché, but it's nothing to scoff at. In fact, it's a necessity.

And yet taking care of ourselves seems to be something we need permission to do — or a directive from our shrink. If I wrote prescriptions, the first one I’d write to virtually every new client is the following: Increase your water consumption. Take a daily vitamin. Engage in cardio a minimum of 20 minutes daily, four times weekly. Meditate daily. Fix your sleep habits.

4. Get help.

Whether it’s child care or therapy, we all need help at times. Don’t wait until you’re burned out to get support. The majority of my new clients rate the quality of their lives at an 8 or 9 — before they even begin working with me! It’s OK to want more.

5. Set a goal.

People who are working to create or achieve something are among the most resilient. They have a plan for most areas of their life, and a strategy to get them there. That said, the difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal has actions and a target date.

Ask yourself what you want in one area of your life and go get it. If you don’t decide the direction of your life, someone else will.

The bottom line? Resilience is a culmination of our habits — the decisions we make on a daily and weekly basis. Make sure your habits reflect the traits of who you want to be. And if they don't yet, all it takes is a decision to change. Make it your goal!

Want to see how I set SMART Goals? Download my SMART Goals Worksheet right here!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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