Use resilience to cope & adapt to life-changing stressful situations

  • Date: 13/07/2020
  • Category: General

Resilience can be taught but requires practice

Throughout life we will face adversity and many stresses, this is a given. These challenging events will affect our life in many ways depending on how we react and manage them. Over time most people learn how to cope and adapt to life-changing stressful situations – mainly this is down to resilience.

What is resilience?

resilience helps you cope with stressThis word resilience means many things to many people; however, the accepted definition of resilience is fairly straightforward.

The American Psychological Association define resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even sources of stress”. What is it that makes one person deal with difficult times and bounce back, and another person to be taken down by it? The answer requires some explanation as many people have differing views on the matter.

Resilience can be taught and requires practice, just like learning to ride a bike, a few wobbles and scares and then you have captured it.

Specific areas to focus on include – connection, positive attitude, self-regulation, fostering wellness and accepting help. These are just a few of the areas that will help to increase your capacity for resilience to deal with the vicissitudes of existence.

Fostering well-being

Your body wants you to take care of it. Self-care is an essential element in building mental health and resilience. We know that exercise releases certain hormones into the brain which provides that “feel good feeling.” Exercise as well as good nutrition and plenty of sleep all help the body to adapt to stressful situations thereby building resilience.

There are many ways to foster wellness and none are better than practising mindfulness, meditation, prayer and yoga. Spiritual practices like these help people to focus on positivity and appreciation which help with difficult times.

It’s good to talk

An important aspect of building resilience is having people you can confide in when you need to. Discussing your concerns and challenges with others won’t necessarily make them go away but it will help knowing that someone is in your corner. Talking with other people can also help you gain insight into the challenges your facing which may better prepare you for the future.


Always look for the positive in every situation, you may have come across this statement numerous times before. However, these are wise words and once you stand back from the situation you can start to re-frame it. Rather than viewing the situation as untenable, focus on any aspects that you can change that will help. This positive thinking then acting will help your mindset.

Resilience at work

The working environment can be stressful and fraught with competitiveness and you can find yourself caught up in the drama without even knowing. You can help yourself by incorporating the following.

  • Work relationships – Relationships of all kind are important for good mental health, work relationships are therefore vital in maintaining this perspective. It’s good to have work colleagues that you can offload to and also listen to and share your experiences.
  • Manage stress – We all know that stress is an inevitability in life just like anxiety, and so the work environment is no exception. Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial, work should not be the be all and end all of an individual’s life. Research has shown that people who take regular and consistent time out from their work life find that they perform better at work and in other areas.
  • Be real – Being real or in other words being authentic. Authenticity is a much-valued concept in a world where there is a vast amount of inauthenticity. Within the work environment authenticity means being true to the values and beliefs one holds in high regard. For example, trustworthiness and loyalty is at the top of the list when it comes to the work environment. Having these aligned and being congruent with these beliefs and values leads to increased emotional intelligence. Therefore, being able to deal with challenging situations when they arise.

This is just a small aspect of how to build resilience as there are many ways to create toughness. The one thing that most people agree on is that resilience is most definitely something to invest in regardless of where you are in your life.

For more information or to get help with the stress of everyday life contact us or call +971 585 501 968.

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I help individuals and couples deal with various types of emotional pain, ranging from couples dealing with relational distress to individuals going through depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety.

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I believe that therapy should be a positive experience, but at the same time challenging. Without challenges, change is more difficult. I like to explain the process of therapy so you understand it without using jargon and complicated paperwork. At the same time therapy is not a walk in the park, it will require all parties to work at achieving emotional wellness.

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