Resilience: 8 Traits of Resilient People
Resilience is a skill that can be developed and honed. Like a muscle, the more we develop it, the stronger it gets. Often times, we simply survive a trauma or difficult experience. By developing our resilience muscle, we can not only survive, but also thrive.
Bouncing back from life's traumas and curve balls can be difficult, if not downright debilitating. Have you ever watched someone overcome a setback that you thought would knock you down for the count if it happened to you? Have you ever wondered what it is that enables some people to bounce back from life's setbacks, large or small, and get on with their lives in a way that is meaningful and purposeful?
What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off by remaining flexible in the face of change or difficulty. Resilience is remaining calm under pressure, and the demands of life, work or any transition that requires a new way of being in the world such as a divorce, job loss, death or illness.
It isn't that nothing affects us, but rather, we are able to handle the stress or move in to a new way of being after a setback or change in the usual order of things. It's about the ability to adapt. It’s the ability to be optimistic in the face of difficulty.
We all have different ways of dealing with stressors and reacting to them and what may work for us at one time, may not work in a different situation. Are you a person who sees a stressor or change as a negative and insurmountable problem or a challenging situation that requires a new way of thinking or being? Do you focus on the problem or the solution?
While there are many factors that come in to play when answering these questions, such as how a person is raised, genetics, environment and even personal factors, there are some common threads that can help everyone develop and exercise their resilience muscles.
What are some common traits of resilient people?
Self awareness – Being self aware brings with it a greater understanding of our capabilities and our reactions to difficult situations before they arise. Knowing how we typically react gives us a leg up on the situation.
Adaptability/Flexibility – This is probably the most important aspect of resilience. Most of us can survive a trauma or change, but in order to thrive, we must adapt. The easier it is for us to change our behavior in the midst of a stressor, the better chance we have of moving beyond it and even flourishing.
Optimism – Any time we hold a negative belief or attitude about a situation, it becomes a roadblock to thriving and moving beyond that issue. Optimistic beliefs help us to put the stress behind us and find the solution to the problem.
Positive perception – Changing a negative thought into a positive one reduces the stress of a difficult situation. This enables us to move forward more quickly and see the positive aspects no matter the situation. Negativity produces more anxiety while positivity has a calming affect.
Good problem solving abilities – The greater our problem solving abilities are, the quicker we can find a solution and the quicker we can lower the anxiety and stress level of any situation. Good problem-solving abilities allow us to take action quicker.
Lack of impulsivity – When we can clearly and calmly look at a situation, there is a much better chance of solving the problem without any regrets. This builds our confidence in our abilities to manage a difficult situation in the future.
Social support – Being able to reach out for support can be extremely helpful. Sometimes, it only takes one person in your corner who can help you look at a difficult situation in a calm, clear and supportive manner.
Positive narrative – It’s important to look at past experiences and see the positive way in which we handled it. Stay focused on achievements, persistence and performance.