4 Ways You Can Grow Through Adversity
Updated: Apr 5
Being able to recognise and manage our stress triggers and responses is an important starting point for resilience. But, resilience is more than just recovery from stress. It is also the ability to develop new skills and grow in confidence and self-efficacy through successful encounters with challenge. Here we discuss 4 ways you can grow through adversity.
1. Live to your values
Our values are important because they guide us to set goals and to take action to reach those goals. They motivate us and inspire us to grow and develop.
When times are tough it can be easy to lose sight of our values, to focus on avoiding bad things rather than moving towards being the person we want to be. Avoidance limits us as the goals we set for ourselves do not lead to satisfaction or fulfillment.
In order to grow through adversity try re-connecting with your values. What is important to you as a person or a professional? What do you need to do to live a rewarding and fulfilling life? To help you work out what are your values try this short exercise:
Imagine your eightieth birthday (or twenty-first or fiftieth or retirement party, and so on). Two or three people make speeches about what you stand for, what you mean to them, the role you played in their life. In the IDEAL world, where you have lived your life as the person you want to be, what would you hear them saying?
Connecting with your values and acting on them provides a sense of contentment and satisfaction, and allows us to develop new skills to flourish.
2. Review helpful vs unhelpful coping
When we face new challenges, it can be useful to reflect on which of our existing coping strategies are helpful to us and which might be unhelpful. Sometimes our ways of coping can have unintended consequences that can keep stress going or undermine our resilience.
Take a moment to think about what has helped you to get through the past year? Which existing coping strategies have you found helpful? Which new skills and strategies have you developed that have helped you to manage stress, anxiety or challenges? Have you taken up new hobbies or found new interests that have allowed you to prioritise self-care?
Have any of your coping strategies been unhelpful to you by keeping stress going or undermining your ability to function effectively at home or at work? Check out our free training to find out the top three unhelpful ways of coping with stress and what to do about them.
3. Find new perspectives
We rely on our social networks for support. Our strong relationships with others help us manage stress, problem-solve and experience positive emotions. All are essential for our resilience and help us to grow through adversity. Talking to friends and family, people we trust helps us to test out our thinking and find new perspectives on the challenges we face.
Take a moment to think about the different ways you connect with others when you are facing challenges. In what ways has this helped you to grow new skills or find new perspectives.
What gets in the way of accessing support? When we are stressed we often want to avoid talking to other people and withdraw from our contacts. It can also be hard to access professional support, particularly for people in leadership roles who often find themselves isolated in the work environment. If this is your experience, check out our sister service which provides regular, impartial resilience supervision to organisations to support HR and leaders.
4. Recognise successes
The pandemic has forced many of us into new working practices, shifting the balance of pressures and demands. When we face new challenges, it is easy to put excessive pressure on ourselves, to over-work, to reduce the time we have for ourselves or to feel guilty when we take a break. This undermines our resilience and prevents us growing through the experience.
With so much change and uncertainty, it is important to recognise your successes. Try writing down one or two things that you have done to adapt to the challenges you have faced. These new skills will continue to serve you through tough times. Connecting your coping skills with your values and identifying how they fit with what is important in your life will help you stay motivated and continue to use them even after the crisis has abated.
If you found this helpful and would like to find out more about how to stay calm, manage stress and build your resilience, get in touch for a free consultation. For more tips and ideas follow us on Facebook or check out our online course.