The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.
Our VUCA world today is inundated with so many challenges and crises that we need more to achieve (and to maintain) a balance within ourselves to keep moving ahead.
Life may not come with a map, but everyone will experience twists and turns, from everyday challenges to traumatic events with more lasting impact, like the death of a loved one, a life-altering accident or a serious illness. Each change affects people differently, bringing a unique flood of thoughts, strong emotions and uncertainty. Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful situations — in part thanks to Resilience. It is the ability to recover from setbacks, prepare to face adversities ahead and to manage stress effectively.
Even in the face of events that seem utterly unimaginable, resilience allows people to marshal the strength to not just survive but to prosper.
Being resilient doesn’t mean that a person won’t experience difficulty or distress. People who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives commonly experience emotional pain and stress. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.
Like building a muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and intentionality. Focusing on four core components — connection, wellness, healthy thinking and meaning — can empower you to withstand and learn from difficult and traumatic experiences. To increase your capacity for resilience to weather — and grow from — the difficulties, use these strategies –
- Build Connection – Connecting with empathetic and understanding people can remind you that you’re not alone in the midst of difficulties. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals who validate your feelings, which will support the skill of resilience.
- Foster Well Being – Self-care may be a popular buzzword, but it’s also a legitimate practice for mental health and building resilience. Promoting positive lifestyle factors like proper nutrition, ample sleep, hydration and regular exercise can strengthen your body to adapt to stress and reduce the toll of emotions like anxiety or depression.
- Find a purpose – It’s helpful to acknowledge and accept your emotions during hard times, but it’s also important to help you foster self-discovery by asking yourself, “What can I do about a problem in my life?” If the problems seem too big to tackle, break them down into manageable pieces.
- Focus on what you can control – When faced with a crisis or problem, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the things that feel far beyond your control.Even when the situation seems dire, taking realistic steps to help improve the situation, however small these steps may be, can improve your sense of control and resilience.
The Six-factor Model of Psychological Well Being
The famous Americal psychologist, Carol Ryff, developed what is called a Ryff’s model of psychological well being. To construct a theory that joins philosophical questions with scientific empiricism, Ryff mined for building blocks in a diverse selection of well-being theories and research, from Aristotle to John Stuart Mill, from Abraham Maslow to Carl Jung.
Ryff’s model is not based on merely feeling happy, but is based on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, “where the goal of life isn’t feeling good, but is instead about living virtuously”.
Six factors are considered key-elements of psychological well-being:
- Self-acceptance – You possess a positive attitude toward yourself; acknowledge and accept multiple aspects of yourself including both good and bad qualities; and feel positive about your past life.
- Personal growth – You have a feeling of continued development; see yourself as growing and expanding; are open to new experiences; have the sense of realising your potential
- Purpose in life – You have goals in life and a sense of directness; feel there is meaning to your present and past life; hold beliefs that give life purpose; and have aims and objectives for living.
- Environmental mastery – You have a sense of mastery and competence in managing the environment; control complex array of external activities; make effective use of surrounding opportunities
- Autonomy – You are self-determining and independent; are able to resist social pressures to think and act in certain ways; regulate behaviour from within; and evaluate yourself by personal standards.
- Positive relations with others – You engage in meaningful relationships with others that include reciprocal empathy, intimacy, and affection.
If you want to be happy, be.Leo Tolstoy