To manage the complex transition to a new life abroad you will need resilience. Resilience allows you to better deal with the changes at hand. The good news is that resilience can be learned, and research shows that we can actually train ourselves to become more resilient over time. Keep reading for three easy ways to become more resilient.

Find a purpose in life and start setting goals

Having a purpose is a crucial role in development, change and recovery. Working through change requires time and space for emotions to settle, and also requires the practice of letting go. You can find purpose in the form of activities that are meaningful to you.

When you have a lot of new things going on in your life, it is important to reflect and set goals. Setting goals helps you find direction and focus on the things you want. It is important is to make a clear distinction between the things you want and the things you don’t want. You must ask yourself what you do want, instead of what you don’t want.

Simple exercise: Write down the different areas of your life, such as health, family, career, finance, personal development, charity, fun and recreation, and romance. Mark down which areas on the list you are happy with and which you would like to improve. Next to those areas that need improvement, write down what improvements could mean in these areas could mean, along with some basic goals.

Start reframing

Positive thinkers and people who are good at dealing with change are skilled in reframing. Reframing involves changing your frame of thinking with regards to the particular event or experience. One method of reframing is called “meaning reframe”. Meaning reframe is finding positive meaning in a behavior or event that you initially disliked. To practice this method, simply ask yourself what was the positive benefit or outcome of the incident. Find as many answers until you find the one that makes you either feel better or confused. Confusion is the doorstep to new understanding.

For example: You are thrown into a situation of unexpected conflict with someone. Ask yourself what the positive meaning is and what the positive benefits could be. What could you learn from the event, and what is the significance for yourself or the other person. Most importantly, what is the positive consequence of this experience. No matter how hard it is, you will surprised with the results.

Take care of yourself

It is important to be consciously aware of your present state and to be nice to yourself. Metaphorically, you can see your body and mind as an entity that needs nurturing. Allow yourself to work on relaxation in different ways and forms. Take care of your body through conscious breathing, hydration, and sufficient exercise. Love yourself and, above all, take care of your needs. It is not for nothing that they tell you on airplanes to take care of your own oxygen mask before putting it on others. It may seem selfish and it is - in a very good way!

By practicing resilience you can become stronger, more aware of your needs and make the most of your expat experience.


This article is written by Expatcenter Partner Peter Koijen, international trainer and coach, and owner of in2motivation.