February 12, 2013 | Posted in: Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully

As the economy limps out of the pits with so many people fallen down during the past few years; I’ve noticed how some people have bounced back quite nicely while others are still stumbling along. It’s curious to me what kind of characteristics, behaviors, mindsets and other stuff do the Bounce-Backers have that the Stumblers may not possess….or just not know that they possess?

After many lengthy conversations with clients and others who have both bounced back and stumbled back; along with more research and reading on the topic of human resilience and the art of the comeback. I’d like to share some of the findings from my hunt for answers.

Psychologists agree that some people are born with more resilience than others and they also point out that it’s within all of us to cultivate more resilience by adjusting how we view adversity. Do we let it become our total reality forevermore or do we think of it as a temporary detour, a bump in the road and a minor setback? Do we let our adversity (name your favorite: divorce, death, disease, debt, addiction, foreclosure, job loss) define us, or is it just life? I’m pretty sure nobody who has lived very long has escaped all of the aforementioned situations. Resilience refers to our capacity to deal with discomfort and adversity. It’s not just a reactive skill set, but a set of characteristics and traits that enrich our lives.

Highly resilient folk are adaptive to situations, remain flexible and even welcome and thrive on change. It keeps them on their toes, excited for new challenges and they expect to bounce back and have the confidence that they will. There is no question in their mind that they have the skill sets and the mind set to attain something bigger than the adversity flavor of the moment. They have a knack for creating good out of what may seem to others as bad luck.  They can see the other side and are creative thinkers.

According to top researchers here are the 5 most powerful ways to get real about resilience and bounce back for your comeback:

1.   Positive Thinking, even in the midst of adversity. Resilient people can still hold positive thoughts about positive outcomes during a negative situation while others may only hold onto the negative and really can’t see the positive in an adverse situation. Our emotional patterns are triggered by our thinking patterns. So if we want to curtail negative emotions, start with more positive thoughts such as how did this seemingly “bad” thing happen and what good can come of it – what is the lesson. One way to build on this skill is to notice, appreciate and be grateful for more positive things in your life to build your positivity muscle and build resilience and make positive life deposits, so when there is a negative withdrawal; you already have so many grateful deposits that you can balance it out.

2.   Look for the Learning Point. The more you look for the lesson to be learned in adversity and how it can help you grow, evolve and become better; the more you use it as a tool for growth, then the more you will rise above the issues. When you become bigger than your problem, your ability to handle bigger and bigger issues grows as well. Learn to problem-solve as soon as you see something looming. Cultivate your curiosity about adversity issues and embrace a learner’s mindset.

3.   Be in Service – Gratitude Pushes out Fear. When gratitude and service in love and kindness come in the front door; fear runs out the back door. Open your mind and open your heart to turn situations around and teach others how you got through it to help them through similar adversity. How can you pass along what you learned to others seeking help and support? Put things into perspective by being grateful for all the things that are going right in your life so when adversity strikes, there is a much bigger ratio of things that are going well. One of my mentors challenged her people to change up how they answer to the ubiquitous question of “how are you doing?” and I will challenge you to the same. Instead of saying “fine”….say “I’m grateful, and you?”. It reminds your brain how grateful you are to be alive and be in the presence of others who care enough to ask. See how you feel after practicing that little change in your life for a few weeks. It’s a reminder to yourself just how grateful for everything we are.

4.   Honoring Yourself and Your Body – Taking Care of the Temple. Cultivating good health habits, eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise help make our body strong and our resilience strong…or at least easier to deal with the stresses that come with adversity. I just heard a story by Brian Williams on the Nightly News that stated 41 million Americans are sleep deprived costing companies over $63Billion per year in productivity loss. I don’t know about you but if I don’t get enough sleep, I’m worthless. My brain doesn’t fire as fast, I’m groggy, I can’t focus and my energy wanes. Good sleep is essential to building resilience. Taking care of yourself also means taking care of your social connections and I don’t mean social media and the so-called “friends” you may have online. I’m talking the real deal. The people you can call when your car breaks down or when you break down to come listen or help or lend a hand. Real friendships, love and connections help build resilience. During my world travels; I’ve always found that if I’m traveling solo and bump up against an adverse action it feels a little scary, but if I’m with a friend in a similar situation it becomes and adventure and a challenge and we rise to the occasion and start problem-solving.

5.   Laugh Through it – Hold onto Your Humor. Not that it’s a laughing matter, but laughter can get you through some tough spots. It can be pain relieving – as found by Dr. Norman Cousins in his famous book Anatomy of an Illness, finding that 10 minutes of good belly laughter can induce 2 hours of restful sleep without medicine in patients. As a Certified Laughter Leader; I’ve lead groups and coached individuals and practiced laughter to reduce tension during tense moments. When you consciously choose to be playful with a situation, it becomes empowering that you do have a choice in the matter and it signals to your brain and body that you are bigger and better than the adversity – you can laugh at yourself or the situation. Laughter is a release of tension – the same as crying and sometimes you do both, but get it out of your system to build your resilience.

Those are your marching orders to help you bounce back for your comeback. I hope you find some ideas that help you get real about your resiliency and here’s to facing adversity and laughing in its face. Cheers to you for your courage to step forward from (temporary) setbacks!

As the CEO (Chief Energizing Officer) at Hartful Living including GaiaHart.com and BizBuilderCards.com; I’m a Messenger and Mentor for women entrepreneurs, connecting them to their capacity to energize their work and their lives in the art of living Hartfully. At BizBuilderCards.com, you can make a living through giving with greeting cards and gifts to build your network net worth as an additive to your current business or an easy way to send gratitude and kindness to the world.