How to build resilience through tough times

by Cathy Jimenez

How do you become resilient through tough times?

What do COVID-19, family loss, and a devastating super typhoon have in common? You might be waiting for a punchline but unfortunately, there isn’t one; these 3 catastrophes affected my family and me within a span of 19 months.

The super typhoon Rai devastated the Philippines last December 16, 2021. It passed directly over the Cebu province where I live at 7 in the evening and wreaked havoc for 4 hours – yet the damage it left behind lasted for more than 2 months (and counting) for all of us in Cebu.

The first week after was like living in a post apocalyptic world. My husband and I lined up for hours just to get money from the ATM, buy food, clean drinking water, and gasoline. We were without electricity for more than 3 weeks and yes, we spent Christmas and New Year in the dark.

File:Destruction from Typhoon Rai in Cebu City 2021 12 092.jpg - Wikimedia  Commons
Mandaue City area – morning after the typhoon (from wikimedia)

I was thankful we were safe but I cried, I ranted, and went through stages of trauma recovery. And that’s normal – because when bad things happen, the normal reaction is to feel bad. But I am thankful for the tools I learned through Happy Brain Science because it helped me dig through my emotional toolbox and become even more resilient during tough times.

What is Resilience?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a tough situation. It’s what helps you pick yourself up and keep going when things are tough. Here are three ways that resilience can help you be happy during tough times: by helping you stay positive, keeping your outlook optimistic, and maintaining a “challenge mindset”.

  1. Staying Positive: One of the main benefits of resilience is that it helps you stay positive in difficult situations. When you’re resilient, you don’t let negative events get you down for long. You find ways to cope with adversity and move on. This positive attitude can help keep you happy during tough times.
  2. Optimistic Outlook: Resilience also gives you an optimistic outlook on life. When you’re resilient, you believe that things will eventually get better. You don’t give up hope, even when the going gets tough. This optimistic outlook can help keep you happy during difficult times.
  3. Build a “Challenge Mindset”: Finally, resilience aids you in building a “challenge mindset”. You develop this mindset when you look at past issues as challenges you successfully overcame and visualize success for the current one that you are going through. Reframing the problem as a challenge that can be mastered allows us to win over our innate negativity bias and thrive better during tough times.

Resilience is an important attribute to have in life. It helps you stay positive and hopeful during difficult times, which in turn makes you happier overall. If you want to be happier during tough times, work on becoming more resilient!

What challenges have you gone through recently? How did you get over it? How can we help? I would love to read your reply. Please let me know; I’ll keep your input confidential, and I’ll try to find a (quite possibly free) way for Happy Brain Science to help.

P.S. Our “serious game” Choose Happiness @ Work is on sale at Amazon for the month of March 2022 (now at $66 from $99). Check it out!

Cathy Jimenez

With almost 20 years of experience in software development, project/people/customer support management, Cathy Jimenez has found joy in applying her strengths for Happy Brain Science. She loves to help out people and teams by understanding their needs and working with them to get to a unique solution that is a win for everyone concerned. An experienced presenter and facilitator, Cathy presents Happy Brain Science sessions in Asia and around the world.

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