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Here are 10 habits of highly resilient people (that have nothing to do with “positive thinking”)

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to cope with difficult circumstances?

It looks like they’ve had a raw deal in life, but somehow they appear fine on the surface and even more together than you are.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were all able to cope with difficult situations like this?

Well, we can. It’s all about attitude and mindset – something we’re all in control of.

Below, I’ve gone over 10 habits of highly resilient people that we can all learn to adopt.

1) They don’t criticize themselves

Resilient people don’t waste time blaming themselves. They realize that there’s no value doing so.

It’s better to learn from your mistakes and focus on what you can control. They know their interest is best served by moving forward.

With failure comes mistakes. We all make mistakes, but the way we approach mistakes defines our relationship with them.

For some of us, we are intrinsically terrified of mistakes and failure, and we refuse to even try, in the fear of doing something wrong.

But mentally tough people make mistakes, just like the rest of us do; the difference, however, is that they don’t let their mistakes define them. They learn from them and move on.

Journalist Hara Estroff Marano once wrote in a Psychology Today article “The Art of Resilience”:

“Resilience may be an art, the ultimate art of living…

At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself–yet also a belief in something larger than oneself. Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs.”

2) They reach out

Humans are social creatures and if we’re going to go where we want to go in life, we need to have a support system. That’s why resilient people aren’t afraid to reach out for help when they need it.

Fear and loneliness make life more difficult. Resilient people realize this and make an effort to help others so that they’ll be able to get help when they need it.

3) They’re able to sit with discomfort

Resilient people realize that not everything in life will be comfortable all of the time. They’re able to tolerate discomfort because they realize that the universe is constantly changing.

If they’re experiencing a negative emotion, they know that will soon change. If they’re experiencing something positive, they enjoy the moment for what it is because they realize it won’t last forever.

According to Noam Shpancer Ph.D. in Psychology Today, avoiding a negative emotion buys you short term gain at the price of long term pain.

Here’s why:

“When you avoid the short term discomfort of a negative emotion, you resemble the person who under stress decides to drink. It “works,” and the next day, when bad feelings come, he drinks again. So far so good, in the short term. In the long run, however, that person will develop a bigger problem (addiction), in addition to the unresolved issues he had avoided by drinking.”

Noam Schpancer says that emotional acceptance is a better strategy than avoidance for four reasons:

1) By accepting your emotions, you are “accepting the truth of your situation. This means you don’t have to spend your energy pushing the emotion away.
2) Learning to accept an emotion gives you an opportunity to learn about it, become familiar with it and get better skilled at its management.
3) Experiencing negative emotions is annoying, but not dangerous – and eventually much less of a drag than continually avoiding them.
4) Accepting a negative emotion causes it to lose its destructive power. Accepting an emotion allows it to run its course while you run yours.

Unfortunately, emotions like this are part of being human, and the more we’re able to experience them, the more we’ll get out of life.

Here’s a great quote from Spiritual Master Osho:

“Experience life in all possible ways — good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.”

4) They accept negative emotions

Resilient people know that when we ignore and deny negative emotions, they’ll only get stronger.

They realize that embracing our darker emotions allows us to accept them rather than running away from them. And through acceptance, they become weaker.

Buddhist master Pema Chödrön, sums this up best. She says that negative emotions are also excellent teachers about what we’re experiencing in life:

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

5) They don’t worry about perfection

Resilient people know that always seeking perfection is a sure fire way to not getting anything done. It’s also a definite way to experience failure.

No matter how hard you’ll try, you’ll never achieve perfection. When you’re learning, you won’t get there right away and when you’re a pro, you’ll realize how much more there is to learn.

A better strategy is to always try your best and not worry about perfection.

6) They know that overthinking is a huge cause of unhappiness

Overthinking a situation does nothing but make it worse. It can be exhausting staying up and thinking over every little detail of a hard situation.

Resilient people give themselves a break so they can focus on what matters. They distract themselves and let their mind relax. They hit the reset button on their mind.

7) They live in the moment

A resilient person realizes that the past doesn’t exist, the future hasn’t arrived, and the only thing that really matters is the present moment.

Every moment has something to be grateful for, and you’ll be much happier if you strive to find it.

They also believe that the present moment is where the future is created. If you work hard and stick to your priorities and goals, your future self will be incredibly thankful.

8) They avoid toxic people

Gossiping about others because it feels good? Please!

Resilient people hate this kind of negative energy. They know toxic people are soul sucking vampires and there’s no reason they won’t be bad mouthing you behind your back.

They prefer to talk about meaningful topics such as, what’s your purpose in life and what can we actually do now that’ll improve our future.

9) They’re not afraid to be alone

The best relationships are ones that allow you to grow and be free. A resilient person knows that unhealthy attachments are thwart with danger.

You don’t need to rely on someone else to make you happy. You need to be happy with yourself first.

This is why resilient people aren’t afraid of being alone. They’ll be happy anyway.

But if you can add to their happiness, then go ahead and come on in. But if you’re bringing in toxic energy, then you need to get out of a resilient person’s way.

10) They know that they’ll never win a battle against themselves

Your mind and your thoughts will always be with you. They are always there and present no matter what you do or say. When you push yourself beyond your limits, you’re putting pressure on your mind to work in overdrive.

But eventually you’ll run out of steam and then what?

You’ll be faced with the fact that once in awhile it’s okay to rest. Don’t think about the things you should be doing or all that needs to get done. Put yourself first and just let yourself live in the present.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
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