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How to Be Resilient: 8 Steps to Success When Life Gets Hard | TIME

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Turns out surviving the most dangerous situations has some good lessons we can use to learn how to be resilient in everyday life.

Whether it’s dealing with unemployment, a difficult job, or personal tragedies, here are insights that can help.

1) Perceive And Believe

“The company already had two rounds of layoffs this year but I never thought they would let me go.”

“Yeah, the argument was getting a little heated but I didn’t think he was going to hit me.”

The first thing to do when facing difficulty is to make sure you recognize it as soon as possible.

Sounds obvious but we’ve all been in denial at one point or another. What do people who survive life-threatening situations have in common?

They move through those “stages of grief” from denial to acceptance faster.

When you stay oblivious or live in denial, things get worse — often in a hurry. When you know you’re in trouble you can act.

Notes from a previous version of this article:

7) Make It A Game

In his book “Touching the Void,” Joe Simpson tells the harrowing story of how he broke his leg 19,000 feet up while climbing a mountain.

Actually he didn’t break his leg… he shattered it. Like marbles in a sock. His calf bone driven through his knee joint.

He and his climbing partner assumed he was a dead man. But he survived.

One of his secrets was making his slow, painful descent into a game.

Via Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why:

Simpson was learning what it means to be playful in such circumstances: “A pattern of movements developed after my initial wobbly hops and I meticulously repeated the pattern. Each pattern made up one step across the slope and I began to feel detached from everything around me. I thought of nothing but the patterns.” His struggle had become a dance, and the dance freed him from the terror of what he had to do.

How does this work? It’s neuroscience. Patterned activities stimulate the same reward center cocaine does.

Celebrating “small wins” is something survivors have in common.

To live full lives some amount of difficulty is essential.

Via Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience:

Richard Tedeschi, a psychologist who treats post-traumatic stress, said that “to achieve the greatest psychological health, some kind of suffering is necessary.”

You can meet life’s challenges with resilience, competence and grace.

And when the troubles are over, science agrees: what does not kill you can in fact make you stronger.

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