How can we begin to incorporate the most basic tools of resilience into our daily lives? How can we help teach kids how to use these tools?
Let’s start with exploring some of the most prominent resilience factors. These resilience factors are the specific tools that we can learn about and apply in our lives in order to become more resilient.
Before we can start teaching these basic tools to kids, it’s even more important that we learn to use them in our own lives. Remember that kids are always looking up to their role models. You can only teach these resilience tools effectively if you understand and use them yourself. So let’s get started!
Here are four resilience factors that we are going to discuss:
1. Positive attitude
2. Emotional regulation
3. Viewing failure in a positive light
4. Purpose and meaning
And these are just a few of the factors.
In this post, we will explore these resilience factors a little deeper. Eventually, we can learn how to incorporate these factors into the lives of the kids that we influence, but first things first- let’s start with the building blocks.
Some people are inherently more positive than others. That level of baseline positivity might be programmed into you based on your genetics. However, your level of positive attitude can be adjusted by making small changes in your every day life.
When it comes to feeling happier (quicker), the most tried-and-true tool that we can use is gratitude. Gratitude means feeling thankful for the people, experiences, things and memories that we already have.
Start by writing down ten different things that you are thankful for every day. These things can be big or small. Write down what you are thankful for and why you are thankful for it. At the end of writing your list, read each item again and allow yourself to fully experience the feelings of gratitude that you feel for each point.
When we experience a negative outcome in our lives, we usually have a negative emotional reaction to that experience. That degree of negativity can have a massive impact on how well you bounce back from stress. The more negative emotions you feel, the harder it will be to recover.
In other words, your ability to regulate your emotions and control how “bad” you feel after something stressful happens can make you more resilient.
How do we regulate our emotions?
Practicing mindfulness is one of the easiest and most effective ways to regulate our emotions. Mindfulness can be practiced in any setting and at any time. It simply means being present in the moment. That might mean focusing on the sensations that you are experiencing right now. What do you hear, smell, see, and feel?
Mindfulness can also be practiced through meditation. You might decide to practice meditation on your own or with a guided audio clip such as an app on your phone.
I personally recommend the Headspace app, but there are many more tools out there to learn how to meditate.
Viewing failure in a positive light
This is so big! I promise to expand more on this topic, so we will start small with this monster and grow from here.
Building resilience is faster, easier and more effective when we experience failure. I understand that that is a scary concept. No one enjoys failing at something, and I’m not about to suggest that the only way you can become resilient is to start enjoying failure.
However, even if we don’t enjoy failing, we can still learn how to make the most of this experience by growing from it and lessening the negative impact that it has on us overall.
When we shift our attitude towards failure to something that can motivate us and teach us what works and what doesn’t work, we can use failure to our advantage.
All of the sudden, failure becomes something that makes us stronger, wiser and of course, more resilient.
Purpose and Meaning
Have you ever found yourself in a pit of despair while trying to achieve a goal so big that it makes you question why you started in the first place?
If you haven’t, might I suggest that you start setting some bigger goals for yourself.
Pursuing something challenging means that we are risking failure, hardships, emotional turmoil, exhaustion and burnout. All of these things can be experienced when you are pursuing a goal that challenges you in every way.
Finding purpose and meaning within your goals can help build resilience and allow you to push through the hardships and challenges that you experience.
When we think about the “why” in our goals, we can create positive emotions, energize ourselves and allow us to see the big picture. We often lose that big picture when we are going through the most challenging and exhausting moments of our goal pursuits.
I suggest to you that before you embark on your next goal (big or small), consider what your “why” is. What does this goal mean to you? How will your life be improved once you reach this goal? How can you improve the lives of others once you reach your goal?
Now it’s time to start implementing these tools!
Get out there and start practicing. If you want to start with one tool and expand from there, that is a great way to start. There is no one perfect way to grow your resilience, it’s only important that you begin somewhere!