New Study Identifies One Straightforward Way To Boost Your Resiliency
Resilience is one word that's come up a lot in the past year. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has tested our ability to bounce back from change and hardship, and some people have seemingly had an easier time doing so than others.
But why? And how can people improve their own resilience in times of struggle? That's what a team of international researchers looked into for a new study, published in the journal Emotion. Here's what they found.
Looking at resiliency & self-efficacy.
The team, which was comprised of researchers from the University of Zurich (UZH) and New York, wanted to know how people can strengthen their own resilience. To do so, they focused on self-efficacy, or a person's belief in themselves and their abilities.
Someone with high self-efficacy is confident in their ability to get through any situation, and they know they can rely on themselves to succeed. They are also good at problem-solving and emotional regulation, and they tend to have a higher degree of determination or persistence.
For the study, researchers worked with 75 healthy subjects and looked at their responses to negative memories. One group of participants was told to think about a time when they felt self-efficacious and then instructed to recall the bad memory afterward. The other group was instructed to think about a positive memory that wasn't related to self-efficacy first.
In the end, the group who was encouraged to think about their capabilities saw a more positive outcome compared to the other group.
After people reflected on their own abilities, they found it easier to reassess a negative situation and look at it from a different perspective.
"They perceived the negative experience as less distressing than the subjects who were instructed to reflect on a positive memory unconnected to self-efficacy," a professor of psychology at UZH, Brigit Kleim, Ph.D., explains in a news release.
What this research tells us about boosting our own resilience.
This study suggests that during a time when resilience is a hotter commodity than ever, reflecting on our own capabilities is key.
To apply these findings to your own life, you can come up with examples of times that you got yourself out of a bad situation, nailed an interview, overcame a problem, or just generally felt like you succeeded.
The next time you're faced with a challenge, come back to these previous wins. When armed with a belief in your own abilities, you might find it easier to carry on into the unknown with confidence.
Not only does this research give people a way to help boost their own resiliency, but the study authors note it may also provide a new treatment technique for mental health professionals, such as cognitive behavior therapists.
The bottom line.
Self-efficacy plays such a large role in our overall quality of life and how we handle situations—particularly stressful ones. So, if you're looking for a way to be more resilient, start by reminding yourself of all the things you've already accomplished.