A lot of people let life circumstances dictate how they feel.
They’re either up or down.
Happy in summer, sad in winter.
Have a positive outlook on life when things are going well, but are in the depths of despair when things go wrong.
People who let life’s circumstances determine their emotions never have consistency with their mood. They lack the ability to regulate their emotions and often have trouble keeping their emotional responses in proportion to what’s going on. For example, they may fly into a rage when they’re stuck in traffic, instead of feeling mildly frustrated like most other people.
However, a lot of the time, it comes down to a lack of resilience.
What is resilience
First of all, resilience doesn’t mean that you’ll never experience stress, emotional upheaval, or adversity. All of us, no matter who we are will experience difficult times. Resilience is how you deal with difficult times.
Most people believe that resilience is mental toughness or the ability to bounce back from adversity. In other words, the ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on as usual, when something bad happens.
However, resilience isn’t as simple as using willpower and motivation to power through. People who take this approach tend to block their feelings and ignore their reality, instead of working on their ability to handle the storms that life brings.
Relying on willpower to keep going despite there being chaos around them, can lead to people engaging in behaviours designed to block their feelings such as turning to alcohol, drugs, food (overeating, binge eating, emotional eating or dieting), or working excessively.
Blocking emotions so you can continue to carry on is not resilience.
Resilience is accepting the reality of your situation, embracing it wholeheartedly, letting go of trying to control the outcome and knowing that you will always be okay, no matter what happens.
True resilience means you can face adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress and come out the other side.
What happens when you lack resilience?
People who lack resilience don’t cope when life doesn’t go their way. They focus on the negatives and catastrophise events believing that life keeps happening to them, instead of for them. This belief is known as the victim mindset.
For example, someone with a victim mindset who loses their job may view this as a tragedy because they no longer have an income. They will go around with a ‘woe is me’ attitude, declaring that they are in a financial crisis. On the other hand, someone who is resilient may view losing their job as an opportunity to look for one that is more fulfilling or pays more, or perhaps a chance to spend more time with their kids. You can read more about the importance of mindset in our blog Why mindset is everything.
Feel hopeless and give up
Lack of resilience and a victim mindset can lead you to feel powerless when confronted with difficult situations. Believing that you are powerless to change anything (because you’re a victim) can lead to feelings of helplessness, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, low self-worth and hopelessness. And when you feel hopeless about a situation, you end up giving up completely.
Try to control things
Most people like to feel in control, so when they’re confronted with difficult situations or things that don’t go to plan, they freak out. People who lack resilience can’t cope when things feel out of control, so to feel better, they try to control the outcome, or become even more controlling in other areas of their life. Trying to control things, especially the outcome of a difficult situation is very stressful. It’s like trying to make someone who doesn’t love you fall in love with you, by loving them harder or compromising your values and people pleasing to receive validation from toxic people.
Trying to control everything is not only an impossible task but it can also lead to a host of other problems including emotional and binge eating, increased reliance on alcohol and problems with your sleep. Stress itself is also a metabolic blocker that makes it harder for you to lose weight. You can read more about reducing stress in our blog Why stress management techniques won’t eliminate your stress and what you need to do instead.
People who lack resilience tend to allow outside factors to determine how they feel about the world and themselves, and make decisions based on their emotions. For example, when they feel good they’ll go for a walk, or do their workout, but when they feel bad, they’ll skip their exercise, sit on the couch and find comfort in a tub of ice cream.
The problem with emotional decisions is that they’re usually the wrong decisions and result in self-sabotaging behaviours. For example, feeling helpless can cause you to give up on your goals, or become complacent with where you’re at, while stress or anxiety may cause you to throw caution to the wind and engage in emotional eating.
How to build your resilience
The good news is that you can build your resilience and it doesn’t involve relying on willpower to ‘push through’ when the going gets tough.
Surrender and let go of control
Becoming more resilient involves completely surrendering to whatever comes your way. Surrendering involves accepting your situation for what it is instead of resisting it. It means fully embracing it and working through it, as difficult as it may be, and letting go of trying to control the outcome. It also means being more present in the now. We explain this concept fully in our blog How to feel in control when everything is out of control.
Resilient people are grateful people. They are the ones who can still be grateful for all the good in their lives, despite their difficult circumstances. The really resilient people are even grateful for the difficult time they’re going through because they know that they will learn something from it. Being grateful allows you to see that life happens for you, not to you. It allows you to see opportunities that adversity can bring, and helps you avoid feeling like a victim.
The people who find meaning in their suffering are the resilient ones who will make it through. Once you assign meaning to adversity or see a purpose for it, then the challenges you face will be less intimidating. When you have a purpose, you have a reason for living. And when you have a reason for living, you are far more resilient than someone who doesn’t. For example, numerous people who were victims of terrible tragedies or crimes found meaning in their suffering and used their experiences to help others. This isn’t to say that they didn’t hurt, feel broken, or hit rock bottom. They did! However, finding meaning in what they went through enabled them to keep going and continue to build their resilience.
The only way out is through
The only way out of your adversities is through them. You can’t ignore them, you can’t change them, and you can’t control them.
To get through your adversities, you need to master the art of resilience.
Until you master the art of resilience, you will always be at war with yourself and the world. This is why so many people are stressed and overwhelmed — because they are trying to control things that are not within their control.
Until you build the resilience you will always fight to resist and control what is. You will always view life through the lens of a victim who is powerless to change anything. And as long as you continue to do that, you will never have the body, confidence and lifestyle you desire.
Becoming resilient isn’t about flicking a switch and ‘deciding’ that you will surrender control, be grateful and assign meaning to your adversities. It’s a process that involves working on your mindset and your habits. This will take time, but the sooner you get started on addressing your habits that cause your lack of resilience, the sooner you’ll have the lifestyle you desire.
How do you want to deal with life’s curveballs?
The way you always have?
Or with the belief that no matter what is thrown your way, you’ll always be okay?
How DATSTM Program helps
The DATSTM Personal Coaching Program (habit, mindset, and weight loss) and the PDS Coaching ProgramTM (habit, mindset and personal development) will help you identify the habits, beliefs, and mindsets that contribute to your lack of resilience.
We work with you to develop a personalised action plan to help you overcome these and provide you with all the accountability and support you need to succeed. DATSTM and PDSTM will give you the knowledge, systems, tools, and skills to help you master the art of resilience, so nothing will ever phase you. You’ll be able to keep you progressing towards your goals — even on your worst days.
- A lot of people let life dictate how they feel.
- They are happy when things go well, but can’t cope when things don’t go to plan.
- Not being able to cope with life’s curveballs is a result of not being resilient.
- Resilience isn’t the ability to bounce back after adversity.
- Resilience isn’t about using willpower to ‘push through’ difficult times.
- Resilience is complete surrendering to your situation, letting go of control and living in the present moment.
- Until you master the art of resilience, you will always be at war with yourself and the world, and will always feel stressed and overwhelmed.
- When you master the art of resilience, you’ll be able to handle whatever life throws at you, and know that you will be okay.
- Our DATSTM Personal Coaching Program will help you identify the habits that contribute to your lack of resilience.
- It will give you the precise action steps you need to take to address these habits so you can build your resilience, stay consistent with your weight loss program and lose weight and gain the confidence and lifestyle you desire.
- Our DATSTM Program gives you the knowledge, systems, tools and skills to help you lose weight and keep it off, even on your worst days.