“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability to bounce back and recover, personally and professionally, during times of adversity, high pressure and constant change. Why is it that some people appear to be more resilient than others, and can thrive in adversity and create positive opportunities out of challenging situations? Well, the good news is that resilience is a quality we can all learn to cultivate at any time in our lives. Being resilient doesn’t mean going through life without experiencing stress or challenges. We all feel a range of emotions when dealing with stress, adversity or loss. However, by working through the emotions and effects of difficult situations, we gain more awareness, more knowledge and self-management skills.
Loss of resilience does not come directly from the difficulties we face, but rather from the irrational and false ideas we have about them and the way we respond to them. One example of this is thinking errors. We all from time to time make these thinking errors where we, for example, see things in black and white, attach negative labels to ourselves, set ourselves unrealistic standards or blow things out of proportion and predict negative outcomes. Many people with low resilience also minimize positive factors in favour of negative ones that are guaranteed to make them feel dispirited.
They also believe they have little or no influence in a situation and what happens to them is controlled by luck or chance.
Building your personal resilience
Building resilience means tapping into your resources, by acknowledging and using your personal strengths and developing coping strategies. Resilient people are resourceful and have a strong social network. They have the ability to self-disclose their concerns to people close to them and to ask for help when they need it.
Resilient people experience just as much stress and negative emotion as anyone else but their positive response to these emotions enables them to find meaning and purpose even when they experience difficulties. Very importantly people also feel they have control over what happens to them, by their decisions, responses and actions. They possess realistic optimism and a sense of humour. In building resilience we experience not only our own capabilities but also the support of our families and close friends. We learn from exploring positive emotions what motivate us and enables us to learn new things and ultimately build new ways of helping us overcome life’s difficulties. In turn this builds our confidence in overcoming future challenges and our general wellbeing.
5 ways to build your personal resilience
• Look after yourself. Eat healthily, exercise, get enough sleep and remember you can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself.
• If your “scales” are out of balance look to see whether some of the demands upon you can be relieved.
• If you are feeling under pressure focus on what you can control.
• Adopt a flexible approach to new situations or challenges and learn to thrive and embrace new opportunities positively.
• Build a positive outlook by identifying and challenging your Thinking Errors.
Resilience is essential for us to thrive and manage whatever life throws at us. Fortunately we can learn to build our resilience throughout our lives and as a result enjoy and embrace change and successfully manage challenges and difficult situations.
More and more employers are now seeing resilience training as an integral part of their ongoing development and support for their employees and offer workshops or coaching in resilience to help retain staff, reduce their level of absence and enable their people to be more productive and improve their overall wellbeing.
Using the “5 ways to build your personal resilience” think about what you can do to build your resilience today and commit to taking action. Build your resilience further and fight back with Video Moods.