Awareness of the importance of resilience has increased over the past few years. But what is resilience?
Most definitions will say that resilience is the capacity of an individual to manage difficult situations by using psychological, social, cultural and physical resources available to them and be able to work out how to use these resources in a meaningful way.
IN SHORT, RESILIENCE IS:
• The ability to bounce back when faced with stress or pressure
• The ability to fall and pick yourself up
• Knowing when to persevere or decide to stop doing something
• Be able to accept the new reality, even when it is less good, and work to create something that is good enough
• Being able to ask for appropriate help.
RESILIENT PEOPLE ARE NOT:
• Always positive and upbeat
• Know how to achieve things on their own
• Never give up
• Tend to be perfectionists.
RESILIENT PEOPLE ARE:
• Less prone to stress
• Have strong problem solving skills
• Accept difficulties as part of life
• Be aware of the situation, their feelings and how other people are behaving
• Accept what they are responsible for and what other people are responsible for
• Experience greater satisfaction in life
• Know how to effectively manage social and emotional areas of life
• More optimistic
• Not afraid to ask for help
• Less afraid of facing life’s challenges
• Know life can be difficult and doing new things is scary but do them anyway
• Have a strong sense of self and are more confident in their own abilities
• Are creative
• Identify as a survivor not a victim.
BUILDING UP YOUR RESILIENCE
Now you have an idea of what resilience is. Maybe you are thinking you don’t have those skills. Don’t worry, you can build up your resilience.
Here are 10 things you can do to build up your resilience.
- When you experience challenges in life, pay attention to what you are feeling, how you are reacting, what your body is feeling. Pay attention also to words or statements that are running through your head. Be particularly aware of statements that tell you that you can’t do this, you are useless, have done something bad, this always happens to me, I shouldn’t be upset by this, I should be able to manage this and so on. Choose to see the experience as something that is outside you, rather than part of you. This means you need to separate your negative words from being about you.
- Note the attitudes you have around difficulties in life. Again, this is best expressed in your self talk. You may find your self talk is making statements about why this is happening or how hard it will be to cope. These attitudes sound like facts but they are actually unhelpful habitual statements that hold you back. Challenge those thoughts. Are they actually true? Tell yourself those statements are not the truth and that you have the skills, or know who to turn to for help.
- Derail those unhelpful thoughts with the following practice: STOP Take a few deep, slow breaths Notice what is being said in your mind Identify the thoughts as visitors with opinions, not statements of who you are Choose how you are going to proceed.
- Establish a daily practice of mindfulness. Take a few minutes out to just sit quietly and pay attention to your breath. Allow yourself to not engage with any thoughts you are thinking. They will come, but you can just notice them and let them go. Practice this at least daily, or a few times a day. when you practice this regularly you can use this when challenging things happen to give yourself time to collect your thoughts and make decisions more effectively.
- Reach out to others for help.
- Be aware of the reactions you have when things are difficult. Allow yourself to react, be upset, be angry, feel powerless. Allow yourself time out to explore those feelings. Exploring them mindfully can help. Allow yourself time to sit with the feelings and let them settle. When you feel calmer you can make decisions on how to act.
- Choose to change your inner dialogue. That is the one where you make a mistake and tell yourself you are useless. Change that so that you say you made a mistake and that is okay. This is a practice you can practice always so that when difficulties arise you don’t default to the negative thoughts. Choose to see your strengths. When you feel calm enough explore what skills and strengths you have that can help you.
- Don’t fight the difficulties. They have happened and no amount of thinking or railing against it will change things. Explore what you control and what you can’t. The things you control are things you can work through. Those things you can’t control are either things you may be able to seek help from someone else for or are things that you accept and work out how to work with.
- Develop an action plan with clearly defined and measurable steps to work through. Start off with one small thing you can do that will move you in the direction you want to go in.
- Remember to look after yourself. Take time out regularly to do things you enjoy and relax you. This allows you to be well rested and less stressed when difficult things happen. That way you are in the best place to work through the difficulties.
If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you develop resilience, please contact me on 0409396608 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz