Empower yourself and learn the power of resilience
Photo Credit: Alex Shute on Unsplash
Resilience is an important part of mental health and well-being. Building resilience can help us to better cope with difficult situations, manage stress, and maintain a positive outlook in life. It helps us to develop self-esteem, which can be challenged during hard times or when we are facing adversity.
However, sometimes it can be difficult to find resilience in times of difficulty. It can feel like we are stuck and don’t have any resources or support that can help us move forward. This is why it is important to develop strong social connections and networks that offer emotional and practical support when needed.
Having a sense of love, either from family members or friends, can help us to cope during hard times. This is because love gives us a sense of security and reassurance that we are not alone. It also allows us to build trust, which is essential for resilience.
Support networks can provide coping mechanisms that can be used in times of difficulty or stress. Talking to someone who understands our struggles and being able to share our experiences can be incredibly helpful. It can help us to think through difficult situations and come up with strategies for coping.
Ultimately, resilience is about having the ability to bounce back from adversity and develop strong interpersonal relationships which support mental health. Developing connections that offer love, trust, respect and understanding can provide much needed emotional support.
What is Resilience?
Resilience can be foundational for managing times of stress. Resilience is the ability that allows us to successfully adapt to challenging experiences through emotional, mental, and behavioral flexibility between your inner and outside world.
Stressful situations that are out of our control happen all the time. While we can’t stop them from happening, we can control how we react to them. Resilience helps us adapt to challenging situations and adversity within our life–and be able to keep going.
In reality, resilience will differ significantly from person to person and from situation to situation. A situation one person can quickly bounce back from may be devastating to another.
We all have resilience that strengthens us and pulls us out of those hard times.
Sometimes, we aren’t always well equipped with the tools we need to help us get through the rough patches in our life. When we find ourselves with our back to the wall and feeling hopeless, it can be easy to rely on unhealthy coping strategies.
Unhealthy coping strategies such as drinking too much, binge eating, or isolation can affect the quality of life over time. A lack of resilience is associated with dwelling on issues, low tolerance, and potentially dangerous behavior such as drug use.
Resilience is that helping hand that we can give ourselves through times of trouble. Although resilience will not stop us from experiencing distressing or upsetting feelings, it can help us go through the motions and adjust better to whatever life throws our way.
You might be wondering how to improve your resilience. Luckily, there are concrete steps that you can take to help with this if you are willing to put the work in.
Building resilience starts with introspection, a process of looking directly at our internal psychology processes, judgments, perceptions, or overall state. In other words, we can look into our thoughts, beliefs, and actions and understand the meaning or drive behind them.
Building resilience is a journey filled with many bumps we may not have seen coming. Over time, we can learn to build our resilience as we move through challenging times.
But honestly, our coping mechanisms can only go so far. Leaning on our support system, like friends and family, can be beneficial in strengthening our resilience.
Our social network is a great way to help us build a solid foundation to work through challenging times. Compassionate and trustworthy friends can help build our resilience by listening to and validating our feelings.
Although relationships with others are essential to resilience, the most important relationship is with yourself. Self-esteem helps strengthen your resilience, and resilience helps raise your self-esteem.
But good self-esteem does not mean we are perfect; instead, it means we accept ourselves for who we are. Confidence in yourself and knowing you can bounce back from challenging times starts with trusting yourself.
Building trust in ourselves to get through challenges can be highly beneficial. Reconnecting with yourself, self-compassion, and setting and achieving goals are some ways we can build more trust within ourselves.
The way that we treat ourselves and care for ourselves is important in how we grapple with resilience.
Resilience and Self-Esteem
Resilience looks different for everyone, and resilience will differ from person to person and from situation to situation. Both self-esteem and resilience are intertwined uniquely.
Resilience is reliant on our self-esteem to get us through challenging times. Resilience and self-esteem have been found to mutually affect each other positively. Meaning, resilience and self-esteem influence one another.
Self-esteem is how we perceive ourselves and what we feel our value in society is. Our self-esteem can influence the choices that we make in our life.
Positive self-esteem can be a protective factor for our mental and psychological health. There are many benefits to having higher self-esteem. But we can’t always expect what life may throw our way.
Knowing your abilities and strengths can help you understand what you can achieve.
But self-esteem isn’t fixed; it can vary through situations and can change over time.
The love we receive in our childhood is crucial to our physical, mental, and emotional development.
Troubles with Resilience
Love is vital throughout every stage of life and critical when growing up. The relationships we form as adults are reminiscent of our early years. As we grow, we explore the world around us through the guidance of our caregivers.
Through that crucial time, love and affection in childhood are vital for brain development. A child’s development can be affected by a lack of love and affection from caregivers.
Whether or not love is present in the relationship between the child and caregiver is essential to understanding how a child can grow up.
Growing up, we depend on our parents or caregivers to help fulfill our basic needs. Infants are helpless, so they develop a relationship with their caregivers.
Adverse childhood experiences can occur for everyone and contribute to someone’s attachment throughout life. A child who was neglected or abused as a child will likely have low self-esteem, alienation, and potentially hostile, aggressive, and antisocial behavior.
Thinking back to the childhood relationships we formed with our family, we can ask ourselves a few questions.
Did you ever feel safe–emotionally, physically, and with the freedom to be who you are?
Recognizing that not everyone was born into a happy, loving home is essential. We may go through experiences in childhood that can have long-lasting impacts on our ability to feel safe.
How important is love, really?
The Importance of Love
Love is an extremely important, if not the most important, factor in our interpersonal relationships. From the moment we are born, love is what we desire. Whether the people around us give us that love determines how we face many challenges to come.
Parental love is the first love we ever receive. The love we receive in our younger years is how we love as we grow into adulthood. Research has shown life-long positive effects on children who received warmth and affection from their parents.
When we are younger, we learn about our family and interpersonal relationships through behaviors. How we watch our family interact, show love, resolve conflict, and function daily is crucial.
Maternal love is not the only type of love that a child will receive. Although heavy research focuses on maternal love, we only sometimes have mothers. Does that invalidate the experience of those who didn’t have mothers? No.
According to research by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, maternal love in preschool (3-5 years old) showed a significant increase in hippocampus volume into adolescence. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that plays a significant role in someone’s learning and memory.
In fact, a study found that a child’s hippocampus has been shown to increase in volume in response to a mother’s physical love.
Through support and connection, we can form healthy coping mechanisms.
Coping Mechanisms Through Support
Stress is something that we can’t always get away from. Our body and mind are built to manage everyday stressors to keep us alive–even the ones that may take us by surprise.
But there comes a time when stress reaches a breaking point, or you can no longer cope.
We all have what’s called an allostatic load. An allostatic load is our body and mind’s capacity to handle chronic stress; once our coping mechanisms can no longer mitigate the stress, we find ourselves with an allostatic overload.
Through times of stress, we lean on our coping mechanisms. Once our coping mechanisms are exhausted, we’re left looking for relief.
We cannot control all of the stressors in our life, but we can find ways to move through them. The ability to cope with stress through stress management techniques is a protective factor against mental illness.
The support that we receive is crucial to our longevity and lifelong development. Research has shown that love and positive support from social groups can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and even increase feelings of joy.
Understanding how strong love and support are in our life can give us the greatest gift of sanity amongst the chaos. In fact, social experiences, including support and community integration, can reduce the allostatic load in younger and older cohorts.
The benefits of love are not just found in childhood–but throughout our lives.
Resilience Through Support
Social support and love are critical in our life. Through romantic relationships, friendships, or family relationships, love helps us build resilience.
We lean on that social support for comfort through stressful times to help ease the stressors. In fact, the nervous system of one partner in a relationship will influence the nervous system of the other and vice versa, meaning both partners help regulate each other’s body.
But the presence of love in our life can help encourage emotional and mental well-being. But love doesn’t just have to be from a romantic partner but from any relationship.
Throughout our lives, love can come in various shapes and forms.
Building resilience is essential for our mental health. Resilience helps us cope with life’s struggles and changes, allowing us to stay strong and maintain positivity even in difficult times. Having a strong self-esteem can help increase our resilience, as we are better able to handle hardships and remain hopeful in the face of adversity.
We can also learn to manage our thoughts and emotions in healthy ways, which can aid us in developing resilience.
Building resilience is not easy though, as life can present us with many challenges which can make it difficult to stay resilient. That’s why having a supportive network of friends or family members who are willing to listen and offer comfort is extremely important for those striving to build resilience.
Receiving love and support can help alleviate the pressure of difficult times, as well as provide a sense of safety in knowing that someone is looking out for you.
In addition to having a strong support system, it’s important to practice healthy coping mechanisms when faced with challenging situations. Finding hobbies or activities that bring us joy, such as reading, listening to music, or taking walks in nature can help us maintain a sense of peace and optimism.
Making sure we take care of ourselves physically, by eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly, is also essential for building resilience.
Having healthy relationships with those around us is key to developing resilience. Learning how to express our thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner, and listening with an open heart to hear what others have to say, can help us strengthen our relationships and build resilience.
Resilience is essential for mental health, so it’s important to make sure that we are taking the necessary steps to build resilience in our lives. By having supportive relationships and engaging in healthy coping mechanisms, we can develop resilience and maintain a positive outlook for the future.