Mindfulness Monday: Resilience in Times of Crisis

Seconds—that’s all it takes to knock you off your feet A phone call from a loved one, a diagnosis from the doctor, a life altering accident, all delivered in a quick, unexpected blow. You are rarely ever prepared. That’s one reason why experiencing a crisis is so difficult. One moment everything is fine, the next moment it’s not.

If you have ever gone through tough times, this feeling is all too familiar. You remember everything about a crisis. Where you were when you found out, the smells in the air, who was around you and most of all the waves of emotion swelling inside of you. It is a lot to process. Not only in the moment, but in the time to follow.

We all have our own way of coping in these situations. Whether it is through religious practices, leaning on loved ones or seeking professional help, it is important to wrestle with everything that accompanies crisis. Asking “why me?” Or trying to “make sense” of the matter may be your knee-jerk reaction. But the truth is, there are things that the universe will throw at you without explanation. When it does, you must acknowledge it, process, and move forward. The difficult times that we encounter in our lives are what make us stronger.

There are people who naturally respond better to troubling times. They have an air of confidence around them. They know that they will make it through the darkness. They are resilient forces of nature. Although it may not be natural for you, you do have the power to be this person and here’s how:

  • Recognize that you are much stronger than you could ever imagine. You are capable of conquering so much, but you may not realize it. Like the muscles in your body, you must flex and stretch yourself in order to grow.
  • Know you are not alone. Feeling loneliness and isolation is a trick your brain is playing on you. It is hard to be vulnerable, but reach out to those you trust. Lean on them for support. Although you are strong, you’re not a super hero. If you are watching a loved one experience a crisis reach out to them and let them know you are there.
  • Remain flexible in your life. This will help in your short term response to crisis, and long term recovery. People who adapt are survivors. Resist thoughts that tell you this is the end of the world. No matter how bad or bleak the situation, allow yourself to be creative and nimble to find a solution. Consider all options before you ruling anything out.
  • Count your blessings. Those who are grateful and remain positive throughout their lives, naturally have more resilience. When you experience a crisis you may have positive feelings already; hold on tight to them. It is easy to forget all of the wonderful things in our lives when things are not going smoothly.

Things are going to happen that you cannot control, but you can control your response. Choose to rise up and fight through the dark times. It may seem as though the end is not in sight, but this is just a season. It will end, and on the other side will be a resilient lion ready to tackle anything that comes her way.

To help better prepare yourself and keep a positive mindset in times of crisis, and throughout your daily life, we recommend author Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. While Peale does come at crisis from a faith-based perspective, we believe the tips he shares are applicable to a wide audience.

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