How To Build Resilience When Facing Endless Uncertainty

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How To Build Resilience When Facing Uncertainty

"Mother said there would be days like this!" The song was right — but she never told me to expect a pandemic! Resilience is needed now more than ever.

When life as we know it changes, it's human nature to react out of fear and doubt about what will happen next.

Bouncing back, being flexible, and recovering from adversity may be the furthest things from your mind. Still, they are necessary qualities when learning how to build resilience in this time of uncertainty.

RELATED: 4 Strategies To Build Resilience & Find Peace In Stressful Times

The best way to face the unknown is to rely on the lessons learned from experiencing life. It takes some practice to develop the skills that build resilience.

When you’ve rebounded once or twice, those skills will become part of who you are. They will help you to cope and adjust, accept what you can’t control, and pivot, so you get stronger and better equipped to handle hardships.

Some of us have lived longer than others, accumulating understanding. Consequently, we may have a few more tools in our treasure chest.

One of the best things we can do is share our knowledge with those who are seeking guidance. At the very least, it will make their journey more comfortable.

Figuring out what the future holds feels beyond my comprehension. If yours is anything like mine, the crystal ball is cloudy and not clearing up anytime soon. 

What I do know for sure is this: It will be different. It's already different. So, how do you prepare for more of that?

In every area of your life, there's been a change — or two or three.

Work is not the same. You may still be employed and working from home. Or, you’re an essential worker on the frontlines. On the other hand, you may not have a job at all.

Combine work changes with homeschooling the kids, or inviting your adult children to move back in to keep everyone safe.

How long will all this last? What alternatives are there?

Finding ways to become more resilient as you navigate the unknown can be as challenging as living through uncertain times. However, some techniques can help.

When you put several of these in your treasure chest, practice them, and integrate these skills into your life, they can improve your confidence to handle adversity.

Here are the 7 ways to build resilience in the face of adversity.

1. Get support.

Doing this alone is much harder than it needs to be.

So, ask for help. Find someone who has been through tough stuff and lives to tell about it. Their guidance will go a long way in teaching you what it takes to bounce back.

Mentors become our role models.

2. Turn the tables.

Then, when you're struggling to figure things out for yourself, step back and take a break.

Find someone else who needs your help. Not to commiserate with you, but to shift your perspective. It will take your mind off of your problems.

Problem-solving for others may generate new possibilities for you. Win-win!

3. Hang in there.

This too shall pass. Never say die.

The next one is not so easy, and it takes perseverance. That means, no matter what, you want to be persistent even when things are difficult.

The situation is what it is and you are not the situation. Trust that you can handle it. Rely on your intuition to guide you. And believe in yourself that you will persevere.

Building resilience takes time and effort, for sure. But it’s worth it in the end.

4. Acceptance is key.

You'll need to relinquish control over the things that are beyond your power. You know which ones — the outside forces that make you feel like a victim.

Instead, when you focus on the things you can control — and mostly, that's you — you're empowered to make change work for you.

It's a time when you can explore new options, and choose how to show up as you move through this season of change.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Build Resilience When Faced With Adversity

5. Imagine the outcome you want.

On the heels of accepting what has happened comes believing that you’ll find a way to overcome the situation, discover alternative endings, and have the imagination to create them.

It takes faith and confidence in yourself and a vision of what you want. Your resilience will continue to build as your vision gets clearer.

6. Be reasonable and sensible.

Rome wasn’t built in a day — valuable work takes time.

The key to this strategy is to leave the drama behind, so that you can keep your perspective. Know what you can do and what is not wise or possible. Consider the choices.

You could turn a potential catastrophe into the catalyst for meaningful change in your life — that's resilience paying off!

7. Find the silver lining.

Remember this formula: gratitude + humor = less stress.

When you feel grateful, you can't feel fear or doubt or uncertainty. And, when you laugh at yourself and your situation, you release beneficial hormones in your brain that circulate throughout your body.

So, find those silver linings within your situation, and be grateful. Then, lighten your mood and your load by laughing.

Is it easy to build resilience? No.

But it's simple if you're committed to becoming more resilient. It takes practice over time.

With these strategies, you may find some tools for your treasure chest that will help.

Here’s a quote about resilience from Elizabeth Edwards to plant another seed:

"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept it, and put together something good."

RELATED: 6 Ways To Build Emotional Resilience & Mental Strength When Facing Adversity

María Tomás-Keegan is a certified life and career coach specializing in transition, as well as the founder of Transition & Thrive with Maria. Learn more about the impact change can have on your life and how to move through it with more dignity and grace in her free ebook From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.

This article was originally published at Transition And Thrive With Maria. Reprinted with permission from the author.