Rise to the Challenge with Resilience

December 13, 2019

Resilience is defined by the American Psychological Association as the process and ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or significant sources of stress or change.

Those who can tap into their inner perseverance and ability to navigate challenges can tackle emotions and struggles in adaptative ways. In addiction recovery, you face any number of ups-and-downs, in addition to those of everyday life. To step away from using substances or getting stuck in depressive or anxious thinking traps, you want to trust in our resilience capabilities, belief in our capacity to cope.

How you respond and move-on from a difficult experience is often shaped by behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and capacities. Bonus? Resilience is learned and developed and thus can be strengthened.

Here are five ways to pump-up your bounce-back:

1) Accept that change is a natural and unavoidable part of life

It can be a hard truth to acknowledge and come to terms with.

For some, addiction came as a way to cope with emotional distress and/or traumatic events. In this scenario, it can be difficult to relinquish an attempt at control and know that best efforts can’t always succeed in stopping or preventing things from happening.

More so, the only constant is change, as every day brings new factors and shifts and possibilities. Just when you think you know what is to come, a curveball can disrupt it all. Know that this can also be positive, opening new doors, as well as challenging.

Being able to see that change is inevitable means you won’t fight to stop it and you can flow with the current rather than against it.

2) Keep things in perspective and context

There is a tendency to see things, especially stressors or crises, as insurmountable cliffs.

This doubt, fear, and assumption of failure keeps you staring at the face of a mountain and backing or shying away, discouraged.

While it may not seem possible to reach the summit, consider how smaller steps can get you part-way up the face.

 How does this compare to other challenges you’ve faced in the past?

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much you’ve accomplished and how this hill might not be the alpine altitude you thought at first glance. Keeping things in perspective and context also means knowing that this is a moment of work in a lifetime, full of good and great things as well.

Anxious thoughts and inner-beliefs can distort and morph our emotions and perceptions, particularly based on experience. Have someone else help you contextualize in reality, taking the bias out and using the facts. This can help you make a more effective plan and take a catastrophe down to a more manageable size of the issue.

3) Nurture positive and hopeful views

Yes, this is easier said than done.

While some days it may feel impossible to believe, there is power in simply saying affirmations aloud anyways. The more you say it, over time, the more likely you are to start believing it.

This applies to life overall – keeping faith that things will be okay and work out, even if not how you intended – and to our self-esteem – our core beliefs about ourselves and our strengths.

No matter the impact addiction and mental illness have had, a person always has individual strengths, skills, and abilities.

If you are often cracking jokes, perhaps using humor is a way to not only give yourself moments of levity but also to keep stress in perspective. An inner stubbornness can be reignited for gain, bolstering your commitment to recovery when temptations or poor influences threaten to knock you off course.

Consider ways you or others can remind and affirm these views to build-up your confidence.

It’s worth noting – self-care and self-discovery are also valuable assets in creating self-worth and keeping our minds open to what good is to come in the future.

4) Take stock of realistic goals, and who can help you meet them

Lucky for us, the path of addiction recovery is not walked alone. We need and deserve support, through a positive social network and effective relationships.

This may include family, or be a collective of friends, or a mix of both. No matter what the make-up, what matters is that we know that even when hurdles arise, we have a helping hand as we jump over.

Working with this supportive community, set achievable goals and work toward them, building confidence rather than pursuing overwhelming endpoints that might end in discouragement and stagnation.

Choose one of these as a focus for the next week, then another for the following, and so on.

Write down what you felt were most effective and which were more challenging. Plan to share with a support or therapist.

Keep in mind, sometimes the most frustrating things are those that stretch us to grow and change.

Make note of where you can continue to push yourself and what you do well to continue to hone your resilience! 

Resilience is a skill you can work to develop over time. With practice and experience, it can be one of the most beneficial characteristics to bolster your recovery journey. Through Steps Recovery Center’s treatment program and therapeutic approaches aim to help you find your inner strength. Think some additional support could help? Call us today – 305-250-1657 – to learn about the resources and options that could be perfect for you.

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