Resilience, the ability to rebound from severe adverse experiences and resume competent functioning, is one common trait of successful and happy people.
These adversities are of the long-standing kind, such as the ones experienced during childhood, like physical, sexual or psychological abuse at home, bullying, divorced or separated parents, or extreme poverty. (It’s counterintuitive to the generally accepted principles of good parenting to intentionally expose a child to stressful situations to produce resilient adults, but other factors were present that helped in their development of resilience.) Resilience is also shown by how adults react to trials and tragedies that confront them, like the death or divorce of a loved one, loss of a job, or being diagnosed with a serious illness.
How does resilience lead to a successful and happy life?
Resilience can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s overcoming a short-term challenge, like being bypassed for a promotion at work, or a partner forgetting an anniversary or birthday. For others, it’s being tenacious and adapting to more long-term changes, as in divorce, unemployment, or a disabling or life-threatening disease.
Their secret to success and happiness lie in how they react to setbacks and failures. Here are some of the traits resilient people possess:
1. Resilient people actively seek solutions to their problems and are determined to surpass the difficulties they encounter. Neither do they limit themselves to only one remedy. They are open to other methods, even the unconventional ones. Losing a job motivates them to apply for other work, acquire more or other forms of skills, enroll in classes, pursue an interest, or volunteer to a community organization.
2. People who have resilience practice mindfulness. They live in the present and have a nonjudgmental awareness of their own selves, the environment, and other persons around them. Resilient people do not dwell on the past and regret. They are not envious of other people’s fortunes, and they are not overly anxious about the future.
3. Resilient people take control over their lives. When difficulties arise, they do not run away from them but rather meet the problems head on. If they fail in a project, they simply analyze and make the decision to leave or start all over again. They are not overwhelmed by defeat. They cope and struggle to bounce back instead. If going through a breakup, they may seek counselling or accept the situation and move on.
4. Resilient people do not isolate themselves and wallow in self-pity. They go out and continue with their social lives, keep regular exercise, or help out in community service. They engage in activities to keep themselves occupied. They also know that they can build a supportive network that will open other possibilities and help them overcome their challenges.
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5. People with resilience have more positive emotions. Some of these are joy, gratitude, serenity, hope, contentment, and inspiration. They are different from the fleeting pleasures derived from fulfilled gratifications. Having positive emotions is not a temporary mindset, even if they may fluctuate. It’s an attitude, inherent or learned, that determines a person’s level of happiness. Positive emotions improve physical and mental health, cultivate kindness and compassion, and develop resilience and coping skills. When adversity strikes, people with positive emotions are more capable of rebuilding and rising from the negative experiences than people with a negative disposition.
6. Resilient people maintain a circle of sincere and caring family and friends. They know that seeking the support of others is not a sign of weakness. They recognize that grief has its stages of healing, and the support of others will not let them stay too long in denial and anger but help them along on the road to acceptance.
7. Resilient people possess a strong sense of ethics and morality. They will bounce back from a loss or failure without trampling over other people. Their success is not earned at the expense of another person or company.
The good thing about resilience is, it can be learned. A shift in outlook, developing one’s emotional and mental strength, and having a core of supportive people around you help you to build resilience. Have a positive view of life, take control of your emotions, and surround yourself with good people who became successful while keeping their principles intact.