BAM – finally a real challenge and a real opportunity to use your resilience! With the Corona crisis all of us have been put in a situation that we would rather have not chosen. We are stuck at home, our health – or even our live – is at stake. Our jobs are either changing or they don´t exist anymore. There is a lot of very bad news on all channels. There may not even be toilet paper to buy at the supermarket.
In fact, whatever part of it that may be the most challenging for you, we are all facing a crisis and a time that is bringing us to our limits. Children have to stay inside for weeks and cannot see their friends. Adults suddenly spend 24 hours a day with their families while having to try to work and help in the household. People have to go to work even though they are scared and would rather stay at home. And we don´t know when and how this will end…
So, resilience. What about resilience?! What is it and why do we need it right now? In our lives we will all face times of adversity or even big challenges like the current pandemic. Resilience is a tool we can use during those times and especially in order to come out of the crisis as a stronger person and a person that has grown. In Japanese the sign for crisis means a time of danger and a time of opportunity as well.
Resilience in fact is not the mere survival after experiencing a crisis, it is not only recuperation. It is as I said before to grow and become stronger after the crisis.
So how can I become more resilient or what does it even mean to be resilient? Resilient people face the reality, give it a meaning instead of giving up and improvise solutions. They don´t give up, they try to come up with new points of view, with new ways to solve the problem and they have a positive outlook. There are several individual ways of building resilience. You can strengthen your auto-efficiency by re-living a past challenging experience that you managed well, then model an experience in your mind, then convince yourself of the positive outcome and by this activate your positive emotions. Your brain cannot distinguish between reality and fiction, so plant the positive seed in your mind and it will strengthen the probability of a positive outcome.
Increasing positive emotions is another possibility. There are various approaches like positive thinking, savoring successes, mindfulness, laughter, sharing positive news.
Social support is yet another way to strengthen your resilience. Prefer high-quality and positive relationships, cultivate mutual trust, honesty and respect, share and cooperate, use video call in order to be visually closer to the other person (after Corona this will be face-to-face again, I hope).
Finally there are the coping strategies – so stay calm and use them. A problem-centered approach is to seek direct confrontation and a plan for the solution. Avoidance is another coping mechanism where you just negate the existence and disconnect from it. As the current crisis will have an impact on our lives in the long term, avoidance might not be the best option here. Then there is the search for social help, where you look for social and instrumental help and get relief from this action. Finally you can use the regulation of positive emotions. You can give the situation a positive reinterpretation, you can accept the situation as it is or you can use your humor.
As you can see, even with little actions or behavioral changes we are able to increase resilience. To increase your positive emotions, for example, might be an easy one for you, just give it a shot – and BE YOUR BEST SELF!