Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back after encountering difficulties. It is the mental reserve you can fall back on in times of hardship. This doesn’t mean resilience is the same as not experiencing sadness, anger or grief – these are human emotions that we all experience. But resilient people are more able to adapt to the challenges they encounter and recover from setbacks or failures.
Some people are naturally more resilient than others, but resilience is not a static trait. Studies show that resilience is something we can all work on – it consists of certain behaviours, thoughts and actions that promote this attitude that encompasses resilience. In this article, we cover some ways you can build emotional resilience to help cope with your skin condition.
The American Psychological Association talks about four core components of resilience – connection, wellness, healthy thinking and meaning.
Resilient people are well supported by their friends and family. Being able to honestly open up about the challenges you’re facing is an invaluable experience. It reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles, and we have people who care about us and our wellbeing.
Foster your close connections – weekly date night, scheduling to meet up with friends, regular phone calls. We know life is busy but making sure to keep in touch with the people who care about you will aid your well-being and in turn, your resilience.
No matter how you personally experience stress, it takes a toll on both the body and the mind. Taking care of your physical health reduces some of this stress and thus helps you feel less overwhelmed. Stress can mess with many of our healthy habits – sleep, food, water, exercise – but making an effort to stay on top of them will allow you to maintain resilience for longer.
In essence, resilience is an attitude – keeping a balanced way of thinking, adaptable to challenges yet optimistic. This is of course easier said than done. When stress mounts, we can feel hopelessness, panic, self-doubt, and even develop a negative outlook on life. This is when mindfulness can be an effective tool – taking a step back and looking at everything in perspective reminds us that this, too, shall pass.
Nietzsche famously said “One who has a ‘why’ to live for can endure almost any ‘how’”. This isn’t to say you need to leave your day-to-day life to go on an arduous self-discovery journey, but simply that remembering why you’re doing what you’re doing can be very motivating. Working hard for a degree is rewarding when you remember that you actually enjoy the subject being taught. A mum working for her children feels it was all worth it when she hugs them at the end of a long day. It’s easy to become stuck in your daily routine, but some perspective can be very powerful in times of stress.
Focus on building these areas of resilience and in time, managing your skin condition will be come easier, as you will have the right state of mind.
I have had eczema my whole life - atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema. It is frustrating most of the time but I have been able to manage my flare ups thanks to recommendations from my friends with eczema. I'm here to help others like me get better too!
A poem by Itch Ni San (Eczema sufferer)
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