How to Be Resilient

Everyone has bad days. Sometimes it can seem like your life is just one bad day after the next. One of the most important lessons to learn in life is how to be resilient. When you are resilient, you can recover from and ad­just to changes, including the bad stuff that happens.

Take it from Bonnie St. John. Bonnie has had some really tough times. But she didn’t let the tough times ruin her. She shares what she learned to get through the hard times; she became an Olympic ski medalist, a Harvard honors graduate, and a Rhodes Scholar. She went on to become a White House official, founder of her own busi­ness and an author of several books, including one called Succeeding Sane: Making Room for Joy in a Crazy World. Here is Bonnie’s advice:

Don’t lose perspective. When things are going wrong, it’s easy to feel like it’s the end of the world. It’s easy to feel like it will be like this forever.

It won’t.

Know what lifts you up. Plan ahead by learning about your­self and what it takes to get yourself out of the hole. For example, when I am in a rotten mood, I need to work out. But for other people, that wouldn’t help.

I see three different types of people. Mental-focused people of­ten feel better by losing themselves in a good book, journaling, or having a good change of environment. Physical people might feel better by working out, or trying a new activity.

Line up your resources ahead of time. Let’s face it: We all know we will need to be resilient at some point when tough times happen. So make sure you know yourself and have things in place for when something happens.

Practice making yourself feel better when you don’t feel horri­ble. That way, when you do feel horrible, you will know exactly what you need to do to get out of it.

Recognize that change is a part of life. It’s a fact of life that things change, and realizing that they will change will make you more resilient.

Imagine a better future. When life seems horrible, imagine the future and how things will be different. If you feel ugly and nerdy, imagine the day when you are gorgeous and glamorous and happy. If money is tight, dream of being rich, and what it will take to get there. You are affirming that the problem is not permanent!

Change your environment. This can seem difficult to do as a teen—after all, you can’t book a flight out of town for a weekend away without a lot of work (getting permission, raising money, find­ing a chaperone, which you probably don’t want anyway!).

Instead, try getting involved in activities outside of your high school. Volunteer in the community. You will see a drastically differ­ent environment, and it will help you appreciate what you have and who you are. If everyone put their problems out on the street like trash, you would probably be glad to see your problems compared to everyone else’s!

Have several different groups of friends. In my research about how little kids are socialized, I saw that little girls rely on three to four close friends, while little boys rely on three to four groups of friends. Having more than one group of friends is vital to resiliency. Make sure you have two, three, or four different groups of friends that don’t overlap at all. We’re human; and if one group of friends becomes uncomfortable (for example, because their activi­ties are not in line with your values, or because they are not treating you well), then you have other people you can rely on.

Join a group outside of your school. It could be a sports team, arts club, a job, or Girl Scouts. Being active outside of your high school can go a long way in helping you establish different groups of friends. When I was a teenager, I joined a ski racing group outside of school. It was wonderful to have friends of differ­ent ages, from different schools, and with different interests.

Stay active. When you are by yourself with nothing to do, your mind can get a hold of you much more easily and keep you down. Go out and do something.

Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment


About the Author: Cody Riffel is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo. She likes to write on variety of topics, whatever interests her. She also likes to share what she learns over the Internet and her day-to-day life.

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