Resilience, the art and skill

Resilience Bounce like a ball

Resilience, the ‘capacity to withstand or recover quickly from difficult experiences’, is both an art and skill. Resilience refers to the ability to successfully adapt to stressors. It includes maintaining psychological well-being in the face of adversity and recovering afterwards.

Because it involves behaviours thoughts and actions, everyone can learn and practise it. The more we practise, the stronger we become.

My own resilience is much on my mind as my life changes almost daily and I field a series of curve balls. I’m grateful I’ve had some practice and gained strength and wisdom from past experience.

Read more: Resilience, the art and skill

Information about resilience

We can all learn and practise resilience.

  • We do this by acknowledging life’s adversities and trying to remain calm and focused. In a crisis, it may help to reflect on the difficulties you’ve already overcome. What helped you cope? Who supported you? What did you do?
  • Take care of yourself. Maintain regular routines and rituals when possible. Wind down. Take regular breaks to rest. Sleep. Meditate. Eat well. Be careful about alcohol intake. Walk or swim and stretch. Enjoy warm showers. Get dressed. Maybe lipstick is  step too far – or maybe not.
  • Be kind and respect yourself. Give yourself permission to be angry, sad, stressed, less than perfect. Remember, ‘It’s OK not to be OK’, some of the time.
  • Be mindful of your thoughts. Be as realistic as you can manage. Challenge negative thoughts when you can. Try not to brood or ruminate. For example, allow ten minutes to think about your predicament, then get up and do something different. Make soup, pull up weeds. Do anything which will change your thought patterns.
  • When you think you can’t cope, remember the times in the past that you have coped. Remember your previous resilience and celebrate it.
  • Write a lists of short- and long-term goals. Goals help build or maintain our confidence. They provide something to work towards, even things as simple as making your bed and eating breakfast. Put the list where you can see it and check it regularly. Again, celebrate when you achieve something on the list.
  • Make another list of things you enjoy doing and start to do them. Listen to music. Watch a movie. Read a book. Get involved in your favourite hobby. Activities we enjoy give our minds a break. But even doing ordinary things we love can seem daunting. Set aside a regular time and put it in a diary.
  • Stay connected with the people who love and care about you. Sometimes making new connections can also be helpful. Knowing we belong keeps us safe and can improve our mood. Talking with people we trust about our problems can provide some relief. Even regular contact through an email or a phone call builds resilience.
  • Deal with aspects of the crisis over which you have some agency. List the tasks that need to be tackled and take small steps towards accomplishing them. Let go those things you can’t change

There are more suggestions in my recent post, ‘Build from the wreckage’.

Practise resilience regularly

These suggestions can be used in times of minor difficulties as well as during major crises. Practice in less difficult times and during minor upsets or life-changes prepares us to deal with times when we feel devastated by events.

This isn’t to say that we won’t be rocked to our core from time to time. But at least we’ll have a framework with which to deal with challenges and keep ourselves bouncing back like rubber balls.

Other resources

Professional help from a general practitioner, a psychologist or specialist agencies may help to support the development of resilience. You may also find an online agency like Mindspot helpful.

Crisis agency

Crisis Support Agency   phone 11 13 14

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    1. Hi, Michele. Thank you for your comment. I think we all need reminders from time to time about how we can help ourselves live better lives.

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