Was 2017 a tough one? Did you find yourself uncontrollably riding the ups and downs without any respite?
If you're hoping this year will be a steadier ship, then you're going to have to build strength and resilience to better handle anything life throws your way.
You need to be able to bounce back when misfortune strikes. Change your mindset, so you're ready to tackle difficulties and adapt, if necessary. How you build resilience is by addressing specific character strengths that will make all the difference. Here, we take a look at the traits that resilient people have so that you can be inspired and develop your solid armour.
1. They remember to have courage
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts," said Winston Churchill. It's this sentiment that you should take with you at all times. It doesn't matter if you succeed or fail – it's how you handle life's challenges. Know that if you simply have courage, you will live to fight another day. "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall," said Nelson Mandela.
2. They draw on their strengths
You've been through some crappy times. We all have. Consider those periods of your life when you struggled. How did you crawl out the other side? How did you make things right again? Always remember the lessons you have learned from past woes, so you're able to handle situations better next time. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." You might not realise it, but you are stronger than you think.
3. They are flexible
When life challenges us, the worst thing we can do is be passive and stick our heads in the sand. Take steps to fight back and solve the problem. Bruce Lee famously remarked: "Be like water making its way through cracks." It means you have to adapt and be flexible to change.
No matter how big the issue, there is always a way you can take steps to resolve things. Come up with an action plan and actively address problems. What tiny thing can you do today to make a difference tomorrow? By doing something, you'll gain strength and move in a positive direction.
4. They have compassion
You wouldn't demand perfection from friends or family, so why are your expectations so high with yourself? Take the weight off your shoulders. You're only human. No one is perfect. We're all just making it up as we go along. Christopher Robin once said to Pooh: "Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
5. They have a positive mindset
Albert Einstein said: "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." It's this positive mindset that resilient people adopt. They know that challenges can open doors. That they teach us valuable life lessons and make us stronger. They build character. And really, what's the worst that can happen? No matter how bad things get, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
"In the midst of winter, I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer." Wise words from Albert Camus, who perfectly understood the sentiment that if you're going to weather life's storms, then you must do so with a positive spirit; one that will always look on the bright side.
6. They surround themselves with good people
Ditch the negative characters in your life and opt for a more supportive, happier network. Don't allow anyone to drain you of positive energy. Find people who lift your spirits, support you and make life enjoyable. Who make things easier. Don't feel guilty if you decide someone isn't right for you. There are kind and gentle ways to sift out those who don't suit your mindset.
7. They are more self-aware
It's no good being resilient without knowing oneself. You have to become more self-aware if you're going to handle the ups and downs of life.
According to Harvard Business Review, there are many ways in which you can tune into yourself. Meditate is one piece of advice – to improve your "moment-by-moment" awareness. Get feedback from friends and colleagues is another method, i.e. not being afraid to seek out honest perspectives from others.
But be warned, you have to be fully prepared to accept where you might be going wrong. There is no room for stubborn pride. Because how on earth can you improve and build resilience before taking a long hard look in the mirror and knowing thyself?
8. They understand the "power of now"
During difficult times, it's easy to let our minds spiral out of control. One negative thought leads to another, and we struggle to focus on the present. Instead, turn your attention to what's happening right now. Look up at the sky, observe the breeze on your skin. Pick up a good book, take up a new hobby, go for a run or even clean your home – creative or repetitive tasks are a superb way to stop you over-thinking, beat stress and enjoy being right here, right now.
9. They look after themselves
When life is horrendous, resilient people don't neglect their health or happiness. They remember to care for themselves. It might mean simple things like taking a long, hot bath or going for a mind-clearing walk in the countryside. It could mean spending time with family and friends, eating healthy food or ensuring that stress is tackled head-on. Whatever you do, don't forget to look after numero uno.
10. They accept what they can and can't change
Have you ever wanted to be that type of person that seems to shrug off the burdens of life? Resilient people take things in their stride because they've been there before. They know that they can survive and thrive once again. They accept what they can and can't change. It's this acceptance that helps them cope with even the biggest problems.
"It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop," said Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Wise words to chew over, as you draw on your strength and resilience the next time life throws a curveball.