March 26, 2024

how to build a resilient mindset

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

― Thomas Edison

Having a strong, resilient mindset can help you cope with whatever life throws at you — whether it is a recent event that has occurred unexpectedly or a circumstance you have been dealing with for a while now. Before looking into ways to build a resilient mindset, let’s take a step back- what is a resilient mindset?

Defining Resilience

A person with a resilient mindset can adapt to challenges and crises, learn and grow from their own mistakes and bounce back when life throws them curve balls.

Resiliency does not mean that people will not encounter any difficulties or distress in their lifetime. Instead, it means they are better equipped to overcome challenges compared to those who are less resilient. To clarify, it is also not a personality trait, but something that can be learned and developed. Common traits psychologists have identified in resilient people include:

  • A positive attitude
  • Adaptable to regulating their emotions
  • The potential to view failures or setbacks as a form of helpful feedback
  • Adaptable to change and new challenges/situations
  • The ability to learn from experiences
  • The capability to seek out assistance when needed

Research has shown that people who have a resilient mindset can cope with negative events and “failures” better It has been determined that these individuals can view a negative, aversive situation as a learning opportunity. So, if having a resilient mindset is advantageous, what can we do to build this mindset?

Focus on Motivational Self-Talk/ Growth Mindset

After a negative event or “failure,” focus on motivational self-talk instead of negative self-talk. For instance, maybe you had planned to exercise more consistently throughout the week, and have tried this for a few weeks now, but you didn’t achieve this as you initially anticipated.

An individual with a negative mindset can tell themselves, “Why make that effort again? I am only going to start all over again to continuously fail again and again.”

In contrast a resilient individual might say, “I know I will encounter obstacles and that is OK. Therefore, I am ready to overcome any potential challenges that might come my way and try again.”

Another way to look at mindset is by choosing a Growth Mindset over a Fixed Mindset. Individuals who have a fixed mindset believe that their skills and abilities are innate and unchangeable, whereas those with a Growth Mindset presume that their abilities and skills can be developed and enhanced through dedication and hard work. For example, instead of thinking “I want to avoid making mistakes,” consider thinking, “Mistakes help me learn and grow.”

Focus on What is Under Your Control

In the middle of challenges, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated. You may not be able to control every circumstance, but you can control your attitude and perspective on the situation. If you are overloaded with many different problems, break them down into manageable steps.

For example, if you had a presentation that you felt went wrong, you can’t go back in time to redo get a re-do. However, you can learn from what went well and what went poorly and improve your next presentation. By focusing on what you can control, it can help you take the initiative and lift yourself up during tough situations.

Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself and your mental health can enhance your resilience. Self-care practices can vary among individuals, including engaging in meditation/mindfulness exercises, reading, journaling, exercising and more. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to taking care of yourself! Self-care practices should not feel like you are forcing yourself to do something, but rather something you look forward to doing.

Seek Help

Sometimes, even after many attempts of trying your hardest to overcome tough situations, you may feel stuck. It can be hard to change thinking patterns and behaviors and become stronger and more resilient. If this is the case, seek assistance in building resilience.

A licensed mental health professional can build a strategy plan that will work best for you. You can explore your company’s Employee Assistance Program, get in touch with your provider for assistance with the resources you may need, and/or you can find a licensed psychologist in your area by using this Psychologist Locator.

Remember: having a resilient mindset will take time and practice. It is never too late to become a stronger, more resilient person!

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