How building resilience helps you roll with the punches and come out on top

Imagine your car or truck has stalled in traffic and won’t start. Do you:

  1. Push it into the nearest body of water.
  2. Flag down another driver, and when they get out to help, jump in THEIR car and yell, “Sucker!!!” as you speed away.
  3. Calmly call a tow truck and book an appointment at an auto repair shop.

As tempting as “a” and “b” might sometimes be, “c” is an everyday example of showing resilience, or the ability to bounce back from difficult experiences. From traffic chaos and workplace conflicts to relationship turmoil and serious illness, many people react to stressful situations by making them MORE stressful. They get angry, they panic, or they shut down completely. By building resilience, however, you gain the ability to roll with the punches and come out a winner.

Here’s how to build resilience by making small, easy changes to your daily routine:

What friends are for

Relaxing, laughing and sharing your troubles with your buddies and co-workers can help you shrug off the stresses of everyday life. The less stress you feel, the better you’ll be at bouncing back. Simple!

Building resilience is one of the many health benefits of close male friendships. Research has found that guys who get together with their buds recover faster from illness, are at less risk of depression, and even tend to live longer. As they say, it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself, but even better to have a friend who can laugh at you too (and you at them, of course).

If you’d like more guy time in your life, the good news is that it’s surprisingly easy to start new friendships. Here’s how it’s done.

Keep your eyes on the (achievable) prize

The “prize” doesn’t have to be of the Oscar or Nobel variety. Ask yourself: “What’s one thing I can do today that moves me in the direction I want to go?” If your ultimate goal is to look and feel fitter, for example, swap fries for salad at lunch, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, or drink water instead of cola at dinner. Using small steps like these to achieve bigger goals will give you the confidence to apply the same strategy to deal with unexpected problems life throws at you.

Take care of yourself

Guys take pride in looking after others — their families, their golden retrievers, their super-sweet 1982 Corvettes, but it’s also vitally important to look after yourself. Doing things you enjoy, eating right and staying active helps keep your mind and body at their best, which in turn enables you to deal with situations that require resilience. The good news: Small, easy steps work wonders here, too.

Doing things you enjoy: From sports and barbecuing with friends and family to hiking and playing darts, chances are there’s a club, team or special event in your area that focuses on an activity that’s right up your alley. Sign up, buttercup!  

Eating right: Instead of turning to vending machines or drive-thrus for overpriced junk food, head to a supermarket or corner store for cheaper and fresher snacks that taste great, are waaaaay better for you, and fill the hunger gap morning, noon and night. Home-cooked meals, meanwhile, are a win-win: They are healthier, and they allow you to eat more because they contain fewer calories.

Staying active: Walking briskly burns around 400 calories an hour — not too shabby — and is super-easy to fit into your schedule. Walk your kids to school instead of driving, walk to work from a more distant lot than the one you usually use (and save money on parking), walk to lunch, get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way home…now you know why “a walk in the park” means that something is easy!

Have you found a way to fit more “me time” into your day? Share your nifty trick in the comments below!

About the Author

Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader's Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN.com and DontChangeMuch.ca.

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