student runningAll of us could benefit from more resilience to the pressures of work and the challenges life throws at us.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to respond to and capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. These difficulties can be life-changing traumas or tragedies, but can also be the build up of stress in our day-to-day living. A resilient person is not only able to handle such experiences and difficulties in the moment, but also to ‘bounce back’ more effectively afterwards.

Resilience is not something you either have or you don’t – all of us can develop resilience by managing our thoughts, emotions and actions.

Building resilience

Awareness

To increase resilience, you must first increase your awareness of what is having an impact on you. Consider:

  • What could be having a negative impact on your ability to bounce back from difficulties?
  • What will be the signs that you are feeling more resilient?
  • What motivates and really matters to you?

Language

Our use of language is more important than you may think in affecting our resilience. Consider:

  • Do you have a positive view of yourself?
  • Does your language reflect this?

Think about how you describe negative and positive events in your life. Consider both your internal and external dialogue – what you say to yourself in your head, and what you articulate out loud.

  • Do you give yourself credit for when things go well?
  • Do you have a tendency to dwell on or beat yourself up over problems?

action and support

Action

Next, think about what action you can take to move forward. Try to avoid seeing difficulties as insurmountable problems and do your best to focus your attention on what you can control. Consider:

  • What is the best small, helpful step you can take first to start to solve a problem? Success encourages success.
  • You may have a few difficulties or pressures in your life – which area is most important to you? It’s good to start by taking actions based on what you value and what motivates you. The rest can follow.
  • Could you see difficulties, mistakes and failures as a challenge from which you can learn?

It can be helpful to accept circumstances that cannot be changed and to not blame yourself for having occasional struggles – it’s a part of being human. Change your circumstances if possible, but if not, consider how can you bear them better? How can you be on your own side in the difficulties you are experiencing?

Spending time worrying about uncontrollable events can leave you feeling lost, helpless and powerless to take action. To feel more empowered and confident, try to put your efforts where they can be most useful.

Support

Accepting help and support from those who care about you strengthens resilience. Consider:

  • Who will listen to you?
  • Are there any groups you can join that will provide social support?
  • Is there anyone you can help? Helping another person benefits both of you.

Further information and advice

student studying

  • How to make stress your friend – did you know that how you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress? Watch this TED talk to find out how you can change your body’s response to stress.
  • The Road to Resilience – a helpful guide to resilience by the American Psychological Association, which sets out 10 ways to build resilience.
  • Headspace offers easy 10-minute meditations and some great meditation advice.
  • Stop, Breathe and Think and Calm are simple and accessible apps to get started with meditation.
  • Take this 10-minute free energy test to measure your energy and to find out where you can developing more healthy habits to improve your health and energy.