Lately, it feels that the world we once knew has just been tossing from one crisis to another. 2020 brought about a global pandemic, political- economic and social turmoil which affected the way we once went about our daily lives. At an individual level, we went through our own personal trauma. Sporting calendar globally went on a pause. Athletes of all levels missed out on ‘a year’s worth’ of competitions, with competitions resuming about now. While there’s no way we can avoid distress in our life, we can only develop the ability to cope with such distress.
In this article we’ll explore how athletes can build and sustain resilience to cope with any adversity.
Resilience and Self:
At the core of self-awareness is the capability to be emotionally flexible. With a realistic awareness of our own emotional strengths and weakness, we as an individual become more proficient at identifying subtle emotional cues when it comes to our wellbeing. This means that you’ll be more aware of when you’re doing okay vs when you feel like you need help. Without such knowledge we tend to be oblivious of our own needs. Furthermore, a lack of such knowledge will lead to the need to always stay strong. A state which can throw one off when something unanticipated comes in play. With self-awareness, we can react to an array of situations as we are undertaking it.
When we talk and experience a stressful situation, we must recognise our emotions and our ability to cope with the same. There is a strong relationship between resilience and emotional self-regulation. As an athlete it’s vital that one constrains ‘unwanted’ thoughts, feelings and behaviours and brings these in line with your goals and standards. This can be achieved through self-talk, or by using motivational statements, imagining achieving one’s goals.
Resilience and Environment:
One of the most influential aspects of our wellbeing is the environment we surround ourselves in. This indicates that it’s important that we develop strong relations with your coach, teammates, family and friends. If as an athlete, we surround ourselves with people who are unsympathetic to our emotional needs, this won’t help our own resilience. A supportive group will not only be understanding towards emotional needs but will also provide you with the time and space you will need to understand your own emotions.
Change is an inescapable part of all of our lives and the changing aspects of our world are beyond our control. With acceptance we can channel our energy onto things we can and have a control over. As an athlete you can’t control the pause on the sporting events, but you can control the time and effort you put into channelling your mental and physical skill into preparation. By examining your past successes, it can help you look past the current crisis, whatever it may be.
One of the central parts of coping with adversity and making it through hard-hitting spells is to adopt virtues of persistence and endurance. Tough times aren’t eternal, but by their very nature they’re seldom over quickly. As you strategize a path through the obscurity, you need to find ways to stay motivated.
Resetting goals in the face of adversity helps cope better. Setting realistic meaningful goals according to the situation that we are in not only keeps you focused and motivated but also helps you cope with adversity better.
In times that we are living now, celebrating small successes becomes imperative to stay motivated. Remarking these small triumphs can give you a break from all the stress and negativity you’re facing and motivate you to keep going.