How to get back up when you've been knocked down
How can resilience help with mental health?
Sometimes life can be challenging. Maybe we have to deal with difficult people or unpleasant work situations. Maybe we have frustrating situations we have to navigate or hard choices to make. Something important is to simply continue going even when we may not want to anymore. This, “keep going” kind of attitude, the “hold it together” kind of mentality, the “get back up again” action is resilience.
Why is resilience important?
Because life is hard. Simply put, we will all face things in life which will put us to the test. We will have something bad happen and the question we will be faced with is, “what do I do now?” In the face of some really hard things we can choose to give in to fear and anxiety and bitterness. We can grow angry at the situation life put us in and we can grow cold and distant from others. Or we can find the tools and supports to keep moving forward or to simply stand without being knocked over. If we don’t have any kind of resilience then when the first challenge comes our way that we can’t immediately succeed at, we will crumble and fall. Resilience is the thing that helps us get back up, dust ourselves off, and keep going.
Can resilience be taught or learned?
In short, yes. While it may seem like this kind of trait is something that people are just born with, like a natural musical affinity or athletic prowess, the truth is that we can learn the skills and secrets behind resilience and put those to work for our benefit. We can learn the ways to manage our own feelings and reactions and we can find the support structures to help us when we need more than just our own strength or determination.
What do I do when resilience fails?
Sooner or later, you will find that no matter how tough or motivated you are there will be a time or situation that goes beyond your limits. It is in these times that we are vulnerable to the desire to quit or simply give up. But it is in these moments of trial that we can use the skills we learn about resilience, the support structures particularly, to help keep us on track, to make sure that we can keep going even when we feel like giving up. When resilience fails, ask a friend/family member/professional for help. There is no shame in seeking support when we need it - part of being resilient is knowing when the tools we have aren’t up to the task at hand. There is no weakness or shame if you have a hammer and encounter a pipe which needs tightening. You just need a different tool, and there’s no shame in asking for help. We can’t have all the tools ourselves, we need to have others who can do those different things to support us in times of distress.