10 Tips for Developing Resilience

1. Make connections

The connections you have with family members, friends, colleagues and others are important. When you accept help and support from those who listen to you and care about you, it strengthens your resilience.

In addition to making connections with those close to you, participating and interacting with community groups, social groups and faith-based organisations could help you retain hope in difficult situations. Developing these types of relationships is especially important if you have a smaller network of friends and family.

Remember: supporting others in their time of need doesn't only benefit the person experiencing difficulty, but also the person providing support.

2. A crisis should not be seen as an insurmountable problem

Accepting that highly stressful events will happen is important, as you cannot control every situation. You can, however, change how you respond to these events.

Event + Our Response = Outcome

Unhelpful thinking styles play a role in how you respond to and can exacerbate a problem. Being able to recognise and understand unhelpful thinking styles will help you stop them before you react negatively.

Looking at how future circumstances may be better, rather than focusing on the present, will help you see how things can be different. Think about what changes you can make to how you respond in difficult situations, as these may be small changes that have a significant impact. Think about a situation you've experienced in the past and how you could have responded differently, considering what impact this would have had.

3. Accept that change is part of living

Things change around us all the time and this can impact on our day-to-day life, with future goals no longer attainable as a result of adverse situations. It's important to reconsider your goals by looking at what you want from your situation and what you're able to influence as you move forward. This allows you to devote your energy to those things you can change, rather than situations you have neither control nor influence over.

4. Develop goals – ask yourself where you want to be in 6 months, 12 months, 2 years…

It's essential that you have goals in your life, whether in respect of your career, personal development, health or relationships. Having goals ensures that you move forward rather than remaining stagnant or living in the past.

Use the wheel of life to develop realistic goals, and consider different areas of your life to ensure balance. Rather than focusing on goals which seem unachievable, you should set realistic, short-term goals that will help you inch closer to your life vision. Look at the areas of your life you wish to improve and think about what you can do in the next few weeks to move forward in this area.

5. Take decisive actions where appropriate

Taking decisive action in adverse situations can help reduce stress and avoid emotional trauma. Problems rarely go away on their own, so instead of disengaging from problems and wishing they’d just go away, take action to resolve the situation. Whether this is you developing skills to recognise where your emotional mind is overplaying, or whether you need to act to resolve a difficult situation or conflict, it’s important that you act appropriately.

6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery

When people experience tragedies, hardship, conflict or loss, they often learn something about themselves. You may find that your experiences during a period of struggle encourage you to grow, allowing you to build robust relationships and become a stronger person through having felt vulnerable. This can help you develop a greater appreciation of life, an increased understanding of your self-worth and in some cases, a more developed sense of spirituality.

When faced with stressful situations you have the opportunity to learn from your behaviour and the behaviour of others. Try to look at what you can take from your current situation and imagine how you might deal with similar scenarios moving forward. Looking for positives during a difficult time will help you cope with the more stressful feelings you’re experiencing.

7. Nurture a positive view of yourself

You may be very critical of yourself, questioning your capability as you consider negative thoughts and comments more frequently than you do the positives. This tendency may have led to you developing limiting beliefs about yourself from an early age, which will often become embedded as you mature. These beliefs may hold you back, reducing your resilience as you deal with difficult or stressful situations.

Your self-confidence, your ability to solve problems and your trust in your instincts can all help you build resilience. Believe in yourself, look back at your successes and use these experiences to grow stronger.

8. Keep things in perspective

When in the midst of a painful event your perspective may often be skewed, and if you blow the event out of proportion you’ll discover that events can quickly escalate. If you find yourself reacting based on previous experiences and emotional memories that have no relation to the event taking place, it’s important to try to see the situation in a broader context in order to maintain perspective.

Take a breath. Think about where this event is on a scale of 10, where 10 is a total catastrophe. Consider how important it is in relation to everything else and whether it will remain this important in several month’s time.

9. Maintain a hopeful outlook

Be optimistic in your outlook as this will enable you to look forward with expectation that good things can and will happen in your life. Try visualising the future: think about what you want, and what it will feel like when you have what you want in your life. This focus on the future will allow you to look to what is good in your life and what your future holds, rather than agonising about the things that you fear.

10. Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself should be a priority. You cannot operate at your best, either personally or professionally, if you’re stressed or unwell. Ask yourself what your needs are and then ensure that you meet these needs. Participate in activities that you enjoy and that give your pleasure. Look after your health by following a balanced diet and taking regular exercise. By prioritising your well being you’ll be able to keep both your mind and body healthy, which will support you when dealing with events that require resilience.

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