Imagine you’re planning to do your first fourteener on Grays Peak in Colorado. Based on your research, you’re expecting to encounter some challenges with altitude, hydration, endurance, and the rugged trails on your first 14er climb. How would you prepare to face these potential challenges and ensure you successfully accomplish your first 14er climb?

Perhaps, you would connect with expert climbers who have tackled Grays Peak, or you would seek resources and information to help you mitigate and avoid these risks and challenges, or you might create a strength and endurance training plan to ensure you’re physically ready for this challenge. With the right perspective and tools, you will achieve your first 14er, and you will personally grow through this adventure.

What Is Resilience?

While you may not ever complete a 14er climb, you might feel like you’re constantly climbing uphill in life, from the everyday challenges to traumatic events with lasting impact like the death of a loved one, serious illness, or life-altering accident. Every challenge affects people in different ways, with unique responses, emotions, and uncertainty. With that said, most people adapt to life-changing events and stressful situations due to their ability to apply resilience.

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

While these adverse events may be painful and difficult, they don’t have to determine the outcome of your life. Resilience can help you control, adapt and grow in many aspects of your life – it is your greatest strength and is measured by how much you want something and how much you are willing and able to overcome obstacles to get it. Becoming more resilient enables you to grow through the most difficult situations.

What Are Mentor Communities?

Recently, I launched a new program at work called Mentor Communities. Mentor Communities provide a forum for our colleagues to connect, engage, and support one another. Each meeting with the community is intended to focus on specific topics relevant for the current climate within the workplace. Ironically, our first topic was Resilience. You see, my team has experienced an unusual amount of traumatic events and stressful situations this year, starting with the global pandemic, transitioning to a virtual work environment, a significant pay reduction (for a specified period of time), sudden death of a beloved colleague, virtual education for their children, and much more. It has been incredibly overwhelming for the majority of the team; however, they have taken every change in stride and strengthened their resilience through the process.

5 Proven Strategies To Build Your Resilience

Here, I share the top 5 strategies to build your resilience, your greatest strength, taken directly from my latest discussion on Resilience with my mentor communities.

1. Develop a Strong Social Network: Connecting with people who can share empathy and compassion can be comforting in the midst of difficult situations. Focus on trustworthy people who will validate your feelings and emotions, and support you through your struggles.

2. Focus on Healthy Habits: Getting enough sleep, exercising daily, and eating healthy foods that fuel your body can help you manage stress and balance your emotion.

3. Practice Mindfulness: Meditation, journaling and being present are great ways to quiet your thoughts and clear your mind so that you can feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

4. Stay Optimistic: Maintaining a positive attitude is important to help you understand that setbacks are temporary and that you have the skills and capabilities to combat the challenges you face.

5. Embrace Change: Flexibility is essential to managing through change. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone on this life journey. While you may not be able to control all of your circumstances, you can grow by focusing on the aspects of life’s challenges you can manage with the support of loved ones, friends, peers, co-workers, and trusted professionals. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, “It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”