There is a lot of talk about resilience lately. Many of my clients are ambitious and successful individuals who want to grow more and achieve more, so being resilient to pressure and the challenges of the external world is extremely important to them. The same applies if you happen to be in a challenging emotional situation or if you are facing any type of uncertainty or transition in your life. The more resilient you can be the sooner you will reach your goals or simply feel more at ease in your day to day life.
So, what is resilience? – The Oxford dictionary tells us this:
The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity
Both very accurate in the context of my work. We are all facing difficulties in our daily lives, we all get stressed, upset, angry, frustrated, impatient or sad; and this won’t change. We can minimise the extent to which we experience those difficult emotions but we are unlikely to completely eliminate them from our lives. No one can protect us from losing our close ones, no one can protect us from illness or heartbreak; the question is how quickly are we able to recover and learn from those challenges. Modern society is becoming more and more demanding, work culture for many of us is increasingly demanding of our time and energy. More and more often we live away from our close family and friends and we need to constantly adjust to new realities, while our support network is unlikely to be expanding at the same rate. Once you take all this into consideration you realise the importance of personal growth. We need to master new skills and discover new tools, which will allow us to counter balance these pressures and help us to become more resilient.
Below are 5 simple steps you can start exploring today. All of them will contribute to your general sense of wellbeing and in the long term to feeling more resilient. None of it is complex but you must remember to practice it on regular basis, which, considering the pace of modern life, can be the most challenging part of this process.
1: GET ENOUGH SLEEP
However boring this may sound and regardless of how often you have heard it in the past, this is still number one on my list. We often look into advanced practices and complex solutions for which all we really need is a good night’s sleep. And this doesn’t mean one night a week to catch up on the rest. This means you should sleep a minimum of 7-8 hours every night. I know it is super (uuurgh kill me now!) tough for some of us, especially those who struggle with FOMO (me included) but it is something worth considering. Our ability to be less reactive grows in proportion to how much sleep we are getting. I could talk about extensive scientific research here but we all know that when tired or unwell, most things seems to be a lot more difficult than when we are well rested and feeling 100%, it is a fact.
2: LIBERATE YOURSELF FROM THE IDEA THAT PEOPLE ARE WATCHING YOU
Once and for all let go of worrying about what other people are thinking about you. Whatever judgment they might have is based on their personal experience, not yours. Whatever they see in you is a mirror of their own thoughts, fears, attachments… don’t let it affect you. Someone once told me: what others think about you is none of your business; I try to stick to it as much as I can. Saying all that, it’s pretty unlikely they are thinking about you at all. Most of the time they will be caught up in their own thoughts which have nothing to do with you, or will be worrying about what others are thinking about them! So really if you haven’t yet, let go of it entirely.
3: PRACTICE SELF-CARE
The key to maintaining that perfect balance is to perform little acts of self-care on a daily basis, not wait until you feel you are up against a wall, already getting ill, or you’re completely exhausted. The more balanced you can stay in your day to day the more positive and resilient you will feel in the long term. People often think that self-care is selfish and egocentric but really, it is the opposite. You can’t give to others what you don’t have yourself so you need to fill up your own tank first. You can look up simple self-care ideas in one of my previous blogs.
4: TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE
Don’t keep things to yourself, don’t feel like you should work through stuff alone and not bother others with your ‘shit’. Sharing is caring. People will often appreciate the fact that you trusted them with your problems and will be more than happy to listen or help you find solutions if that is what you are looking for. We are often struggling with the same challenges and the fact that someone starts the conversation is not only opening our eyes to our own problems but often empowering us to take action. When you talk things through you get them out of your head and into the open. This allows you to get a bit of perspective. When you talk you are also releasing emotions attached to those challenges, which helps you to see things in a more balanced way. If you want to be more resilient, start talking about what is bothering you, you will move beyond it a lot quicker.
5: ACCEPT WHAT YOU CAN NOT CHANGE
The key contributing factors in feeling stressed and unhappy come from wanting our reality to be different. When we struggle to accept what is presented to us we can become frustrated, angry, sad, disappointed, discouraged. All these emotions drain a huge amount of our already limited energy and lead us to stress, or worse. The biggest gift you can offer yourself is to learn to accept what is out of your control. Our experiences of the world depend on context, our conditioning, coincidence and too many other variables to mention. Often it takes a lot more courage and strength of character to accept and let go than to fight and resist. Once you accept you can start creating something new. Our past can be a great advantage, as long as we don’t live in it.
Thanks to neuroplasticity of our brains, well-being can be mastered like any other skill. What you practice you get better at, simple as that. Practice the above and you will become more resilient.