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5 top tips to develop your resilience

25th August 2017

Why do some people bounce back from adversity and misfortune and others fall apart? 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.

Resilience is the ability to:

  • persevere and adapt when things go wrong
  • overcome obstacles
  • steer through adversities
  • bounce back from major setbacks
  • cope with stress and pressure

Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary.

Resilience has become essential in today’s workplace where everyone feels increasingly pressured to deal with constant change – while getting more work completed of higher quality, in new ways, with fewer people, in less time, with less budget.

Everything starts in the mind – the way we think has a big impact on what we do (or don’t). Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’ll probably be right!

We all encounter stressful situations, but the truth is, we somehow manage to resolve them or they simply disappear as a ‘new’ problem surfaces.

Martin Seligman formulated six great questions we can ask ourselves to put an event into perspective:

  1. What is the worst thing that can happen?
  2. What is one thing I can do to help stop the worst from happening?
  3. What is the best thing that can happen?
  4. What is one thing I can do to make this best thing happen?
  5. What is the most likely thing that will happen?
  6. What can I do to handle the most likely thing, if it happens?

Using these 6 questions, what extra help can you take to help develop resilience in future situations, both in the workplace and your personal life?

Here are 5 of our top tips:

  1. Focus on building and maintaining relationships

Create a support “team”. Studies have shown that resilient people tend to have strong social networks – family, friends and colleagues are a great source of emotional support when crises occur.

The first step to becoming more resilient is to surround yourself with people who will listen and be supportive without offering judgement. These people help you emotionally cope with difficult situations.

  1. See the good and be optimistic

We’ve all heard the ‘glass half full’ mentality – resilient people tend to see stressful events or crises as temporary or even as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as unbearable problems.

Optimists believe that their own actions result in positive things happening, that they are responsible for their own happiness, and that they can expect more good things to happen in the future. Resilient people maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting positive outcomes.

Always remember: you’ve already made it through many changes prior to this – and tough though it may seem at the moment – you’ll make it through many, many more!

  1. Accept that some situations cannot be changed

Some things are simply the way they are and cannot be altered – resilient people accept this. They do not waste energy on trying to do the impossible. Don’t waste lots of your time and effort trying to change others or change situations that are fixed. Instead, use your energy to focus on changing yourself, your attitude toward the situation and those things you do have the power to change.

Remember, while you can’t control everything that happens in life, you can control how you react to it.

  1. Develop goals and take appropriate action to achieve them

Having a sense of where you are going is important. Everyone needs a sense of direction in their life. Set some goals and most importantly, if you really do believe in them, take the actions to accomplish them. By achieving something that you set out to do (however small it may be) you will fuel your inner motivation, your self-esteem and your mental toughness to keep going.

Glitches and setbacks are inevitable, but resilient people keep the destination in mind.

  1. Keep things in perspective

Accept that stressful situations occur. We can easily get caught up in the here and now emotions and we ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’. Once we learn to step back and take in the bigger picture from a bird’s eye point of view, many of our immediate problems can seem to become far less important. What’s the worst that can really happen?

Keep in mind that no matter how large the problem you are facing seems right now, it isn’t insurmountable. Believe in yourself and you will get through it – you have before and you will again!

Did you know…

Henry Ford

While Henry Ford is today known for cars, he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

J.K. Rowling

Before she published the series of Harry Potter novels, JK Rowling was verging on being penniless, severely depressed, divorced and trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Despite 12 publishers rejecting the manuscript, Rowling went from depending on welfare to surviving and becoming one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.

‘I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom’ – George S. Patton Junior