Resilience is the ability to stay balanced and to bounce back quickly from setbacks and adversity. Resilient people stay committed and increase their efforts when the going gets tough. Some people are born naturally more resilient than others, but anyone can improve their resilience through effective awareness and training. This article will give you ten simple ideas for becoming more resilient to the ever changing world around you and reassure you that a key aspect of being resilient is knowing that although you may not be able to change the environment around you, you can change how you choose to let it affect you.
1. Notice how you are feeling, right now
A key step to becoming more resilient is to know when you are becoming stressed or agitated. If you begin to notice this, you can begin to do something about it.
How are you feeling at the moment? On a scale of 1-10 how relaxed are you?
Try and find time each day to just check in with yourself and honestly explore how you are doing. A useful technique is to take the time to STOP and reflect.
- Organise your thoughts, and
Can you commit to ‘stopping’ for five minutes each day?
2. Concentrate on what you can control, not what you can’t
If we worry about all the things we cannot do anything about, we drive ourselves and the people around us crazy. If we spend more of our time concentrating on the things we can influence we feel much happier and more in control.
3. Be proactive
A great technique for a more positive approach is to ask yourself these three simple questions;
- What is the outcome I want?
- What can I do to help to make this happen?
- What is the first thing I will do?
By taking a more proactive, solution focused approach in our thinking we will feel more in control and we will begin to affect even those things that we don’t have direct control over. These are great questions to ask yourself when you take the time to STOP1
4. Be gentle on yourself
We are often so much harder on ourselves than we are on other people and we can spend a lot of time beating ourselves up or setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves
If you were treating yourself as you would treat your best friend how would you be? You would probably be congratulating them for their successes, however small, and encouraging them to learn from their mistakes and not dwell on them. Can you try and do a little of this with yourself. Try telling yourself, “It’s OK, you are doing the best you can”.
5. Do more of what makes you feel good – you ARE important
Making time for YOU and what makes you feel good will build your resilience in the tough times and give you a sense of perspective. When the going gets difficult it is very easy to just keep going and tell yourself you’ll make time for you when the work is done. If you can do more of what makes you feel good on a more regular basis you will find that this makes the other stuff so much easier. What are the things that you love doing or that make you feel really good afterwards? Take time out, make time for them and notice how much better you feel.
6. Smile and the world smiles with you
Smiling and laughing do amazingly wonderful things to our bodies, can you remember how good you felt after having a really good laugh at a comedy or with friends? When was the last time you had a really good giggle? When we smile our body releases chemicals that make us feel really good (you will probably know more about this than me!). The interesting thing is that the body doesn’t know the difference between a really smile and a fake smile, or a real laugh and a pretend laugh – it releases the same chemicals. So why not find opportunities to laugh and smile more today, even if it is a little forced at first.
7. Take a deep breath and relieve the tension
The way we breathe can also either relax us or add to our feelings of tension. How are you breathing at the moment? How tense are you? Just noticing our breathing and where we feel tense can make us feel calmer. To make yourself feel even calmer take five or six really deep diaphragmatic breathes, letting go the tension with each out breath.
8. Lift yourself up
We have much more control over our moods and general sense of well being that we tend to give ourselves credit for. You really do have a choice about how you feel today. If you are not feeling on top of the world, notice what you are doing with your body. You are probably slouched a little, probably sitting down and looking down. Try changing that position and see what happens. We generally feel better when we sit up, put our shoulders back and look up.
It is very difficult to sit up and look up and feel down!
9. Notice the good things
We see the world not as is really is but as we choose to see it. So you can choose to see the good things or the bad things. If you spend a little time noticing all the wonderful things in the world you will feel so much better. Why not make a list of all the good things in your life and all the good things you’ve noticed today.
10. Choose what you let irritate you
Finally, I think the best resilience tip of all is to decide what you are going to allow to wind you up. You really do have a choice about what you take on board and what you don’t. You cannot change what happens around you but you can choose your reaction to it. If you are feeling good and somebody comes and shouts at you, are you going to let their issues spoil your good feeling? So if someone starts to wind you up today take a deep breathe, sit up, smile and think of all the things that make you feel good.