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How to Be More Resilient When Things Get Tough

If you’re easily discouraged by the obstacles in your life, you may want to work on building resilience.

When I look back on everything I’ve overcome in my life, it doesn’t make sense that I’d let little things bother me. But on some days, something small goes wrong and makes me anxious or puts me in a bad mood.

Sometimes, I cry for no good reason. One of my friends or family members could say something with the best of intentions, but I interpret it the wrong way and get angry.

Other times, I get lost in my own head. One anxious thought multiplies until I have a million of them running through my mind.

And on my worst days, I don’t want to do anything. I feel consumed by depression, and it gets so bad that I can’t focus or be productive at all. A couple of months ago, I felt so depressed that I barely got out of bed for three days.

There’s no substitute for professional guidance. If you’re really struggling with your mental health, you should see a counselor or therapist.

But if you want to work on your inner strength on your own, I suggest building resilience. Keep reading to learn what I’m talking about!

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What does it mean to be resilient?

Resilience is the ability to adapt to negative situations and handle them well.

In other words, you get right back up when you fall. You don’t let bad circumstances control your mindset or behavior. You choose to rise above the situation you’re in and try your best, even when it’s difficult to.

Life struggles help you build resilience. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It sounds morbid at first, but it really means that as long as you work through the challenges in your life, you’ll come out stronger at the end.

Everyone faces struggles in life. Some are far worse than others. However, the way you handle the challenge is what matters. With resilience, you will deal with bad situations in productive ways. You will grow stronger and learn from each challenge you face.

When you build resilience, you refuse to let negative thought patterns dictate your actions. One day last year, I felt so insecure in my appearance that I wouldn’t walk to the store to get groceries.

Since then, I’ve become more resilient, and now I stop those negative thoughts about the way I look so they don’t prevent me from living my life.

How resilient are you?

I’m not as resilient as I’d like to be, but it’s something I’ve worked on in the past year.

Think about yourself. Do you…

  • Complain a lot?
  • Often succumb to negative thoughts?
  • Suffer from anxiety and mental clutter?
  • Let your personal tragedies define you?
  • Avoid forming close relationships with others? (Unfortunately, I do this!)
  • Make a lot of excuses?
  • Use unhealthy coping mechanisms?
  • Give up easily?
  • Feel unhappy, but complacent?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you may want to improve your resilience.

It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s not meant to be easy. However, there are many ways you can build resilience, and you can start with little mindset hacks and daily actions.

Keep reading to learn how to become more resilient:

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Here are 15 ways you can build resilience:

1. Get into a growth mindset.

Don’t limit yourself with a fixed mindset. Instead, adopt a growth mindset, and you’ll be able to achieve more than you ever imagined.

With a fixed mindset, you rely on the skills and talents you already have. You don’t strive for personal growth. You don’t believe you can work to increase your potential in life.

On the other hand, with a growth mindset, you believe that hard work will get you further in life than talent will. You always work to improve yourself and the situation you’re in. You love learning. You never stop teaching yourself new things.

A growth mindset will make you more resilient. You’ll stop playing the victim, and you’ll take control of the way you handle problems. Instead of worrying about mistakes you’ve made after the fact, you’ll learn from them and move on.

2. Embrace constructive feedback.

To be resilient, you must accept constructive feedback from others and use it to improve yourself.

The keyword here is “constructive.” Constructive feedback comes from a well-intentioned person. You shouldn’t listen to hateful comments or remarks from people who do not care about you.

Accepting constructive feedback is part of maintaining a growth mindset. It means understanding that there’s always room for improvement.

Stop trying to be perfect. It’s overrated. Instead, work on becoming the best version of yourself.

3. Focus on the things that motivate you.

I’m talking about the things that get you out of bed every day.

I wake up super early, even on weekends, so I have time to exercise and work on my blog. Those are the things that motivate me in life.

When you’re going through a rough patch in your life, it’s best to focus on the things you’re passionate about. Your passion will distract you from the pain, and you’ll keep growing even in challenging times.

4. Express your emotions.

Resilience doesn’t mean bottling your emotions up. You’re human. Humans are meant to express their feelings. If you try to hold your emotions in, the tension will just keep building until it explodes.

Instead of bottling everything up, find a healthy way to express your feelings. I express myself through creativity. But if you’re not a creative person, you could also talk to a friend, hit the gym, etc.

Any activity that is healthy and productive is an acceptable way to express your feelings.

5. Create a resilience mantra.

The right mantra will make resilience your go-to response to life struggles. The resilience mantra will remind you how strong and capable you are, even if you don’t feel that way in the moment.

Here are some examples:

  • I can handle anything that happens.
  • I am in control of my situation.
  • I am strong and resilient.

When you’re faced with a difficult situation, repeat the mantra to yourself. You’ll feel more empowered to take on anything life throws at you.

6. Use positive affirmations.

Uplifting, empowering affirmations will help you shift into a positive frame of thinking. These will be helpful if you often succumb to negative thinking patterns.

To see examples, check out my post on 50 positive affirmations for you.

7. Complain less.

Complaining is inherently negative. You can’t think positively if you’re complaining.

So, every time you verbally or mentally start to complain, stop yourself. Remember that complaining is unproductive. Instead of complaining, try to find a solution to the problem you’re facing. If you can’t, change your perspective on the situation.

8. Be more grateful.

Showing gratitude regularly is another helpful way to maintain a positive mindset. Instead of wishing you had more, be grateful for the things you already have.

Check out my post on fun ways to show gratitude daily. Also, try taking my gratitude journaling challenge!

9. Challenge negative self-talk.

How do you usually speak to yourself? In an encouraging tone of voice, or is it overly critical and mean?

Negative self-talk can be extremely detrimental to your mindset. Instead of putting yourself down, start lifting yourself up.

Check out my post on how to end negative self-talk and silence your inner critic. 

10. Do something for yourself.

It could be something small, like painting your nails or buying yourself a new book to read.

When times get tough, be nice to yourself. Even the smallest acts of kindness can boost your mood.

11. Build a strong support system.

I’m an independent person. That’s normally a good thing, but part of the reason I’m so independent is because I’m afraid of trusting other people. That’s not a good way to be.

A healthy support system is so important. I have a great one, but it’s still scary for me to open up. (I’m working on it!)

Fill your circle with supportive family members, close friends, and people who love you. Cultivate healthy relationships and avoid toxic ones. Remember that toxic people will only bring you down, no matter how much they claim to love you.

With a strong support system you can rely on, you’ll find it easier to build resilience.

12. Take care of your body.

The way you treat your body affects your mental health and overall wellness. Read that again.

So, eat mindfully, enjoy light exercise at least a few times per week, and be kind to your body. (After all, you only get one!)

13. Manage your stress in healthy ways.

Avoid forming unhealthy habits to deal with stress. Instead, go for a walk, read a book, or take a warm bath. For more ideas, check out my post on 25 healthy ways to deal with stress.

14. Be more open-minded.

Life is unpredictable. You won’t always like the situation you’re in. However, it’s important to be open to all possibilities.

If something unexpected happens, do your best to adapt to new circumstances. Sometimes, people discover the best opportunities within challenges. Even if you’re facing adversity, your million dollar idea might be right around the corner!

15. Stay true to yourself!

Authentic living will give you a better idea of which direction to go in. Don’t waste your time trying to be someone else. Instead, embrace your individuality and live your most authentic life. You’ll go much further if you do!

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Related reads!

1. 65 Mental Wellness Tips for a Happier You

2. 5 Mindset Shifts for Lasting Happiness

3. 12 Ways to Clear Your Mind and Eliminate Mental Clutter

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Can you think of other ways to be more resilient? Let me know in the comments below!


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