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5 Ways to Build Resilience and Conquer Adversity

https://markmanson.net/resilience

markmanson.net

5 Ways to Build Resilience and Conquer Adversity
Resilience is the ability to positively adapt to negative events in your life. It doesn't mean feeling good all the time—it means you're okay with feeling bad sometimes.

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Making A Crisis Out Of Everything

Making A Crisis Out Of Everything

Our diminishing resilience and decreasing psychological threshold of handling pain and struggle is, in turn, making everything look like a crisis.

We are making a catastrophe out of everything, getting offended at the drop of a hat, mostly for no legitimate reason other than our own ego-filled state of being.

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Psychological Resilience

Psychological resilience is not about fake positivity and takes its power from our negative feelings. It makes our anger, sadness, failure and self-loathing into something useful and productive.

When we become sufficiently resilient, we are unstoppable and limitless.

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Care For Someone Else

Our focus on the self has made us fearful and overwhelmed, especially in times of crisis. Part of our anxiety is the constant focus on oneself. Even if we do focus on others, it is only to judge them about how they feel about us, and what they think about us.

If instead of our inner selfishness, we find a greater cause to endure the crisis or risk, some deeper purpose or mission that eclipses our ego, then the crisis is taken care of.

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What We Can Control

  • We cannot control most of the outside events and circumstances including our past, the weather, natural disasters or freak accidents.

  • We cannot control what other people say, think or feel about us.

  • What we can control is what we think, say or do. We can choose to react or not react. We suffer because we catastrophize the stuff that happens around us, unable to understand that the pain is unavoidable, but the suffering is avoidable. The day we stop that internal suffering, we become invincible.

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Optimism And Pessimism

If we expect others to be rude, impolite, backstabbing and untrustworthy, they won't really surprise us. It somehow makes our day easier, if we know it in advance. We understand beforehand that life is going to be hard, but we will handle it and learn from it. This is inner optimism but outer pessimism.

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Pain And Meaning

  • No matter how good we expect life to be, the pain, suffering, and the constant struggle is what gives meaning to life. The sweet isn't sweet without the sour.

  • It is through our hardships that we are grateful towards what we have and it is our unpleasant experiences that push us out of our comfort zone and make us learn lifelong lessons.

  • Pain is good, and you can leverage your hardships to carve out a diamond out of you.

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The People That We Love

Investing in the happiness and wellbeing of others, building relationships and making others' lives a little bit easier has a hidden benefit: Insurance.

By spreading your happiness you automatically take care of your hard days, as that is when your investment pays off in ways you cannot imagine. Take care of people around you, and they will take care of you in tough times.

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“The Arrow”

Guilt is often counterproductive. It makes us feel paralyzed. However, when we are in this state, we are not helping anyone.

One Buddhist teaching could be helpful as one wrestles with this problem. It's found in a discourse called the Sallatha Sutta, known as "The Arrow." When someone has a painful experience, like a physical illness or witnessing suffering, it's as if the world has shot an arrow into the person. The pain is normal. When one tries to make up a story around the pain, you shoot a second arrow into yourself.

The second arrow

The second arrow can manifest as shame ("I'm such a weak person...") anger ("How dare they...!"), guilt ("I don't deserve to..."), rumination ("If only...") or catastrophizing (I'm going to die, too!").

The second arrow is self-inflicted; in other words, it's optional and the cause of your suffering. If you are brave enough to look at the initial painful feeling, you can avoid making up a story around that second feeling that will cause you to suffer.

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Resilience

It's the skill that enables us to recover quickly from difficulties. It means adapting well in the face of trauma, tragedy or significant stress.

We build our resilience by learni...

Build a circle of trust

The primary factor in resilience is having supportive relationships, inside and outside the family. 

Close friends, family and loved ones represent our social support; they encourage and motivate us, and let us know that we aren’t alone.

Reframe stressful situations

The way we view a potentially stressful situation can either make the crisis worse in our mind or minimize it. 

Reframing things in a more positive way can alter our perceptions and relieve our stressful feelings.

Building Mental Resilience By Using Indifference

Building Mental Resilience By Using Indifference

There are two main mental biases which add stress to our lives:

  • Time Anxiety: The feeling that we are not utilizing our time in the best way or do not have enough of...

Don’t Do Stuff That’s Stressing You Out

Working on high-priority tasks can be hard, but it is even harder to stop working on them. One needs a weekly or monthly review and reassessment to check what is important to us and deprioritize certain tasks which are no longer serving one’s best interests.

There are various mental biases like the sunk cost fallacy, the completion bias, or the Zeigarnik effect that our brains can experience, making it hard to deprioritize certain tasks.

How To Deprioritize Tasks

  1. Set a limit on the time one has to work on a certain task, creating friction using intervals.
  2. Create a NOT TO DO list of the things you won’t do at all.
  3. Review your priorities on a weekly basis, asking yourself if the task is still important.
  4. Take out the impactful parts of the important tasks and do those first.
  5. Ask someone about how they feel about the prioritization of the tasks.