The word resilience comes from the latin verb resilire meaning to rebound or to leap back. The dictionary definition describes the ability of a substance or an object to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching or being compressed. It doesn't take much of a leap of the imagination to extend the metaphor to humans and the context of personal or emotional resilience.
Anybody can build their personal resilience. It is a skill that can be learned. Like embarking on anything new, it is only once you get your sleeves rolled up and get on with it that the learning really starts to snowball.
Building emotional resilience works in the same way as building physical strength. When you put strain on your muscles, you are actually causing tiny tears (called “micro-tears”) in the muscle fibres, which your body then repairs and adapts the muscles to better handle the stimulus that caused the damage. Emotional resilience works in the same way. Each time something negative or challenging happens to us, we repair (by recovering from that particular situation) and adapt (by gathering information and learnings) so that we can better handle the next challenge that comes our way.
Once the concept of resilience is on your radar, you’ll start to notice your existing habits and patterns and how they are relevant. And that is when you can start to make changes.
You can start straight away by following these tips. These tricks are instant, free and don’t require any specialist equipment – just you and your brain!
5 ways to instantly build your resilience:
- Practice the art of reframing - When something negative happens, no matter how big or small, ask yourself ‘in what way is this a gift?’ or ‘what is brilliant about this problem?’ and focus on that.
- Stop handing your power over to other people – If you ever find yourself thinking things like ‘he makes me so angry’ or ‘she makes me so sad when she ignores me like that’ you are basically handing responsibility for your thoughts and feelings to someone else. Is that really what you want?!Think about it…responsibility… response/ability. Be consciously aware that you are the only person who has the ability to choose how you respond. And you’ll realise there are many different choices available when you think about it like that!
- Know your goals – When you are clear about your short and long term goals you have a positive focus. Your attention is drawn to what you DO want to achieve and what you need to do to achieve it. Without this your attention can easily drift towards worrying or meaningless things.
- Stop sabotaging yourself – consider all of the factors in your life that could be holding you back and preventing you living out your full potential. For example do you drink or smoke? Are you in a job that isn’t giving you everything you need? Do you have any negative relationships that it is time to let go of? Write down all of the possibilities and then underline two of them; the one that is easiest to change and the one that will have the biggest impact on everything else. You know what to do next…..!
- Ask for what you need – If you don’t feel like you are getting everything you need from other people whether that be support, attention, understanding, space, time or practical assistance, the chances are the person who can help is more than able or willing to meet that need but has absolutely no idea that you need it! Maybe you need to let your boss know that registering for a particular training course would help you to do your job better. Or perhaps you’d like to take up a new hobby but you’re worried about how it will impact on your family time. If you don’t bring it up with the people who can make a difference, how can you expect them to know what you are thinking….mind-reading!?
10 ways building your resilience will make you better at your job:
- You will be more confident and sure about what you want
- You will enjoy your job more
- You will be better at seeing the bigger picture
- You will have more energy
- You will be better at prioritising and you will stop doing the things you don’t need to do
- You will be focussed on your goals
- You will be better placed to support other people
- You will be a better leader
- You will have the right work/ life balance
- You will be healthier so you’ll take less sick leave
Don’t forget to come back and let me know how you get on!
Saffron Grant specialises in employee engagement and employee wellbeing. She provides resilience training, coaching and can help you to create the perfect Employee Wellbeing Strategy for your organisation.
Saffron is the author of ‘A Practical Guide to Employee Wellbeing - How to create your strategy’ which can be downloaded for free here. Her new book ’10 Steps to Resilience - A step by step guide anyone can use’ will be released in January.
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