Survivability – n
- The ability to remain alive or continue to exist
- The capability of a person or system to fulfill its mission in the presence of threats, failures or accidents
Survivability is more than staying alive physically during or after an experience of failure, calamity, injury, hurt or loss. It is also about being proactive with your attitude and having the inner resilience to turns trouble into growth and calamity into character.
Undoubtedly you have to deal with the harsh realities of adversity and calamity but there are proven ways to rise above your circumstances and not be swallowed up by them.
These qualities I’ve been working on for the past 952 days during my recovery journey. They require being proactive versus reactive. There are days when I’m one dark thought away from spiraling downward to a place I don’t want to go. So I choose to live in the light and fight back the darkness with these activities and attitudes.
Living these is not easy but without survivability skills, you succumb to helplessness and undesirable hopelessness.
6 Ways to Boost Your Survivability
1. Be Grateful
No matter how deep the valley, there is always something to be grateful for. The air you breathe, the food you have to eat, the gifts you possess, or the freedom you enjoy. Gratitude takes the focus off your trouble and stirs up positive feelings within you.
Happiness increases with gratitude.
2. Be Active
When you engage in productive activity, you’ll be more likely to find traction even if your original plan is long gone out the window. The equation for gaining traction in life is: Planning + Action = Traction (Biehl).
Find ways to stay productive in the middle of chaos and
you will be able to let go of negative attitudes quicker. (LaRae Quy)
3. Be Curious
You are a world of wonder. This may seen counter-intuitive but it pays to be wildly curious about what is going on both “in” you and “around” you. Adversity and harsh circumstances can be wonderful teachers about yourself and open up new windows into the world around you.
Don’t miss the lessons and learning all around you. Let your inner child out to play!
4. Be Grey
One of the pitfalls we fall into in life is using black and white thinking to define the world. Black and white thinking during times of adversity falls flat because there are no clear cut answers sometimes. You can live with more uncertainty if your thinking and belief system allow for the in-between – the grey.
Much of life happens somewhere between bliss and devastation. Let grey be a color you add to the pallet your life to help explain the world and what it brings.
5. Be stressed
Studies indicate that short-term stress (lasting minutes or hours) stimulates immune activity. If you have any wounds that need healing or infection that needs fighting, a little bit of stress goes a long way in boosting your immune system and releasing growth hormones. It also strengthens you mentally, heightens your awareness, and provides new perspectives.
Unchecked, long-lasting chronic stress is what you want to avoid. The right amount of stress can be your friend not your enemy.
6. Be challenged
When overwhelmed by adverse circumstances, keep in mind a challenge that says, “You’ll get through this!” Call it a positive attitude, optimism, hope, or possibility thinking but call for it. Challenge yourself to hold out hope for a better future (even in the midst of a firestorm of trouble and calamity).
What do you need survivability for?
Which of the six ways to boost your survivability hits home?
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