Four ways to improve your resilience, according to psychology
Resilience can be defined as the ability of people to overcome periods of emotional pain and adverse situations. Etymologically it comes from the Latin of the word resilio, which means to go back from a jump, to bounce. Therefore, resilience is "the most powerful force that people can have", as explained by psychologist Celia Rodríguez.
Now, how can we improve our resilience? The psychologist Albert Bandura is known internationally for his theory on social learning that, more than a theory, is a model of behavior, as they recall in the journal Time.
This psychologist emphasizes the importance of learning by observation and the importance of choosing well the people we surround ourselves with. "Learning would be very difficult, not to mention complicated, if people would only look at the effects of their own actions to decide what to do," explains Bandura.
These are the four keys that this expert gives in his book Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed to explain the personal factors that most influence resilience.
How to improve resilience
1. Try to practice and repeat each of the five personal resilience factors. Success is a "powerful learning tool", so the first advice from this expert is the practice to achieve it. "If the challenge is too big or complex at first, start by taking small steps in the desired direction," he recommends.
In this sense, Bandura suggests that you do not try to reach too much at the beginning, but you should keep trying until you get it. "The first success is the most difficult," he sums up.
2. Observe resilient people. People with resilience can be role models in this regard. Thus, the psychologist insists on the idea of learning by observing those people who "exhibit the skills we want to acquire".
In this way, he recommends reading books about people "who have overcome similar obstacles" to those who face you, as well as calling those people or writing asking them to share with you "their lessons learned." The objective: that their successes be "contagious".
3. Pursue the support of others with zeal. Join with people who support you and who are willing to give the best of themselves to be with you.
4. Practice self-control. In very stressful moments our body reacts with physiological and behavioral responses. Specifically, this psychologist explains that, physiologically, people experience a "fight or flight" response with a "cascade of hormones such as adrenaline" that increase heart rate, muscle strength and tension.
These physiological responses improve memory for certain things, while decreasing the ability to remember others. This can lead to "cold headaches, hands and feet, and even gastrointestinal problems". However, the most significant problem with these physical responses is that they interfere in "rational judgment and problem solving".
Self-control to achieve resilience
Self-control is the key to preventing this from happening. According to this psychologist, success will come if we manage to control the stress that surrounds us so that it is not excessive and thus avoid the usual behavior in stressful situations: act without thinking.
Now, the expert differentiates between controlling and suppressing stress: normally controlling it is very difficult and our body chooses to suppress it and deceive ourselves thinking that we are controlling it. "The suppression of stress is a horrible idea, especially in the long term," he argues.
The reason that the suppression of stress is negative is that in the end "this moves us towards fragility, far from robustness and resistance".
Angela R. Bonachera