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5 ways to build your resilience and become a happier human

In Body + Soul, Features, Stories by Nicole Fuge

Whether you are dealing with family troubles, a stressful change, or poor health, resilience is essential for coping and moving on.

By Miranda Murray

Whilst it might sound complicated, RESILIENCE is simply your capacity to recover quickly from life’s challenges.

Whether you are dealing with family troubles, a stressful change, or poor health, cultivating personal resilience is essential for coping and moving on from your struggles.

So here’s how to boost your resilience and thrive.

“By being completely honest and open with ourselves, we can help build our self-confidence and be sure of what we stand for.”

1. Create a mantra that is unique to you

It helps to have a positive mantra to hold onto and anchor you back to your core values in times of struggle.

Growing up, mine was always ‘Live the Life You Love’ and that kept me centred, grateful and content in the way I approached things.

A mantra doesn’t need to be set in stone, so don’t overthink it or let it add to any sense of overwhelm or anxiety you may already be feeling. Keep it fun, but make it something that is aligned to your beliefs.

Be open to it evolving as your life does.

When I came out the other side of some major life transitions just as I was nearing 40, a divorce and 7 x unsuccessful IVF attempts, I altered my mantra to reflect my new direction in life.

It became ‘Live the Life You Want’, such a small outward change but inwardly it reflected my new direction, independence and conviction to move forward to achieve the goals I wanted for myself.

Stay true to your inner beliefs and values, and keep your mantra as part of your vision.

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2. Gain a different perspective

One of the key things I have learnt is how powerful it is to step outside your own inner world for a while and exploring that of others.

Charity work and volunteering is a wonderful way to achieve this.

Through this you may find that, though your struggles are still valid, they become less of a focus and life can take on new meaning.

I discovered this at a time when I had ridden the waves of sadness, exhaustion and disappointment for a couple of years and was hungry to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

You see, I had passed through the stage where I felt my core existence was simply about survival, getting through each day, eat-work-sleep-repeat, and wanted more than that.

I was ready to THRIVE again, ready to regain my perspective on life, give back and pay it forward to get out of my own head.

Find something that reminds you that you are OK, that life is not completely fruitless and that brings you purpose and meaning.

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3. Be completely honest with yourself

By becoming more in touch with who we are as individuals, and paying attention to what we say to ourselves in our quiet moments, we can recognise our true strengths, accept our weaknesses, acknowledge our past challenges, and prepare for our expected future trigger points.

By being completely honest and open with ourselves, we can help build our self-confidence and be sure of what we stand for, know what our capabilities are, and better arm ourselves with the tools we need to cope with whatever life serves up.

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4. Build your support network

We, as humans, have an innate desire for social interaction – for communities, for connection.

We were not meant to live a solo existence without contact and joint experiences, so why do we so often retreat into our shells when faced with difficult situations in life?

The power of uniting with likeminded individuals – of ‘Finding your Tribe’ – is immeasurable. People who can lift you up and remind you that you are not alone. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do you feel you can trust with your inner most personal thoughts and feelings?
  • Who are the people that bring you joy, who you can hang out with when you need a good belly laugh?
  • Who’s the best shopping buddy, if that’s your choice of therapy?
  • Who can you call for a coffee when you just need to vent?
  • Who are the experts, if you feel you need some professional help? Or who can you call to help you find these support services?

Engage a mentor, phone a friend, join a group. The benefits of surrounding yourself with people who care far outweigh the fear of letting people in.

Building a support network before you need them is important, so you have a team of ‘buddies’ in your ‘mental first aid kit’, should you ever need it.

Be brave, be vulnerable and be strong.

And you just never know who else may be going through something themselves that starting a conversation could help. As one we are courageous, but as a collective we are invincible.

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5. Accept

It might seem appealing to ‘suck it up’, escape the unbearable present and move on. However, the long-term ramifications of doing so are not worth it.

Ignoring the problem will only come out to haunt us later in some other way, and sometimes when we least expect it.

Every experience and emotion in life deserves its place, even the bad ones.

We can’t grow as individuals and become the best versions of ourselves if we sweep all our baggage under a designer rug and forget that it ever existed.

We need to accept that these experiences have happened, process them, give them the space and attention they need to work through them, be OK that they are now in the past and cannot be undone, learn from them and move forward with these lessons in mind.

Remember that experiences DO NOT define who we are as a person.

If this post has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Lifeline 24-hour support line on 13 11 14.