Many people will chew over events again and again. This not only adds to the stress of the event but ensures that the negativity around it builds in you with potentially disastrous results.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone has said something hurtful to you and you relive the conversation over and over afterwards; thinking of all the things you could have said or wished you had said? You are not alone. Many of us have experienced this. Recognising this to be unhelpful and potentially harmful to your mental health is the first step to doing something about it.
One of the current buzzwords you will hear a lot today is "Resilience". So what exactly does this mean? Most of us recognise it means something to do with bouncing back after a difficult time or stressful situation. But how many of us really know how to do this?
Counselling is a profession aimed at supporting clients through challenging and stressful times. Though it may surprise you to know that some counsellors are building resistance and not resilience in their clients. Maybe you have experienced this. Certainly I am not suggesting this is deliberate on the part of the counsellor.
So let's take a look at what Resilience really is and give you some tips on how you can build it for yourself.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences.
Resiliency is the capacity to absorb high levels of change while maintaining a level of performance and displaying minimal dysfunctional behavior.
Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. People commonly demonstrate resilience. One example is the response of many Americans to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and individuals' efforts to rebuild their lives.
Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn't experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.
Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.
Once we believe in ourselves,
we can risk curiosity, wonder,
or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
E. E. Cummings
This is the key, it can be learned and developed in anyone. So how can this be done? Here are some tips to get you started.
Tips to build resilience:
Step 1: 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 alter.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) teaches us that all the time we fight what has happened or is happening we create tension in our bodies. This tension can lead to physical issues and potentially severe mental health issues. So the first step to building resilience is to accept that bad stuff can happen and does happen.
Acceptance does not mean agreement. It does not mean to agree with what has happened it simply means to acknowledge that it has happened and there is nothing we can do about that.
This frees us to focus our energy on what we can change; what we can do something about.
Step 2: Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
Step 3: Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.
Step 4: 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.
People who are resilient do two things to reduce their susceptibility to dysfunctional behavior during change: They increase their capacity to absorb shock, and they reduce the amount of effort necessary to successfully implement any one change.
To find out more get my change management program and discover how to not only build resilience but maintain it within you. Equip yourself with the knowledge to withstand traumas and stressful life events; learn how to naivgate safely through life's challenges.