4 Ways to Become More Resilient

   

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Why

Humans are good at adapting to hardships — and we can even teach ourselves to become more resilientIt’s just a matter of getting better at it with practice, like building up any muscle in the body,” says Eva Selhub, a resiliency expert and former clinical associate with the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Some simple activities that may increase your resilience include:

How to
  • Embracing optimism. When a situation arises, look for the positive over the negative. Ask yourself: How is this situation presenting me with an opportunity?
  • Practicing mindfulness. Being mindful can help you to regulate your emotions, studies show. This can also increase your objectivity, which leads to better decision making and optimism, Selhub believes. For a simple mindfulness exercise, sit quietly and focus on your breath. Start with five minutes a day and work your way up from there.
  • Stretching your mental agility. Step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to try something new. Options include learning several words in a foreign language each day, reading a book on an unfamiliar subject, or learning a new game (which may also improve your working memory). Strengthening your ability to process and adapt to new information can help you to tackle adversity.
  • Nurturing your social connections. Social support can increase your resilience to stress. Sometimes we lose touch with people, so take a moment to reconnect. Send a quick text to an old friend or stop and chat with a neighbor when you’re out for a walk.
What the Science Says

Studies have linked high resilience levels with better mental health in older adults. A strong social network may help you to ward off depression and cognitive decline, and mindful practices, such as meditation, may improve your focus, research shows.

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