Resilience and coping with life’s inevitable curve balls…

7 Steps to building your resilience. 

Have you had a life changing experience where you have had to use your resilience to get through it?  What did it look like and how did you cope?

Resilience is an emotional quality that, amongst other things, manages to shield some people from the impact of catastrophe. This protective emotional armor is about being able to get up when life knocks you down.

How do people deal with difficult events that change their lives? A death in the family, being made redundant, a serious illness and divorce: these are all examples of the challenges we may face in life. This can put people on an emotional roller coaster with a huge sense of uncertainty. Yet most people generally adapt well over time to life-changing and stressful situations. What enables them to do so? It involves resilience, an ongoing process that requires real effort and involves taking a number of steps.

So how do we thrive and move forward?

Step 1

Reframe how you see stressful situations. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. This is called cognitive reframing, and it involves looking at things in a way that creates less stress and promotes a greater sense of calm and control. Reframing things in a more positive way can change our perceptions and relieve our stressful feelings.

Step 2

Being honest and open. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience.

Step 3

Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can change.

Step 4

Walk toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals and do them in bite size chunks, even if it seems like a small accomplishment that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on the big goals right now, that may seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”

Step 5

Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just disappear.

Step 6

Keep things in perspective with optimism. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualising what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

Step 7

Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.

Additional ways of strengthening resilience could be to write about your thoughts and feelings relating to stressful events in your life. This could allow you to reflect and see things from a different perspective.

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