We all have an incredible capacity for resilience – human nature is truly stunning in this regard. There are times however, like right now during this crisis, when you might feel you are not functioning as you want to be and the 'how to' of resilience, seems illusive.
Resilience – your capacity to adapt well or bounce back when faced with adversity, uncertainty and traumatic events – is by definition – action. You don’t build resilience through avoidance, hiding and pushing away the ‘uncomfortable’. You foster resilience by ‘flowing with’ and ‘walking through’ difficulty to develop new perspectives, inner strength and build coping skills that serve you - for life.
If you find yourself having moments where you wonder ‘how will I get through this [minute, hour, day, month, year] . . . . read on and above all - act.
Resilience building actions you can take right now:
Action 1: Foster wellbeing - by leaning into simple daily routines that take care of you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The simple actions of ...
taking time to prepare and eat yummy food
moving your body – in active and soothing ways
finding time to be amongst the beauty and calming effects of nature
connecting with your natural breath to 'tune in' and live more mindfully to calm your nervous system
prioritising good sleep hygiene through 'preparing' for bed in nurturing and healthy ways
... will deeply support and ground you. Your whole being (mind, body and spirit) is truly your temple, your solid foundation during difficult times.
Bonus *** when you do this for yourself, you also model 'the how’ to those around you (especially children). You become a beacon of light and strength others can draw from and learn from.
TIP **** sometimes you convince yourself it's easier to numb or mask your feelings through drinking, shopping, gaming, substances, etc, but these weaken your foundation in every way - and in the long-run lessen resilience.
Action 2: Build and nurture relationships
When you connect with others you are reminded of our shared human experiences of suffering - you're not alone! This is the antidote to anxious and helpless thoughts, which can convince you no-one understands your pain, or that everyone else seems to cope just fine.
Seek out people who validate and appreciate your feelings and sensitivities to maximise your feeling of being supported. Asking for and accepting support from those around you is a sign of strength, not weakness. Most of us need this at times in our lives.
Action 3: Choose a growth mindset
The thoughts you attach to have a significant impact on how resilient you feel and behave.
Choose a growth mindset and ask yourself - what can I learn from this? The more you experience, the more you reflect on your experiences, the more you will see life events (negative and positive) as opportunities to grow.
This translates deeply to a felt sense that you can cope, no matter what life throws at you. Sure, it's not always easy and you might not have chosen it, but you will know deep-down that YOU have what it takes to face it, you will be able to hold onto hope and step into each new day stronger and more resilient.
Action 4: Articulate / define your purpose and take steps towards your life goals
Regardless of what happens that is not in your control - there are always things you can do that are.
Resilient people are clear about what they want for themselves, even when the goal posts get shifted (or change completely). Remember who is driving your bus - there are always choices you can make to feel in control of your life. Sometimes being in control is simply about allowing or surrendering to 'what is' rather than fighting an unwinnable battle.
Develop goals for yourself and act 'towards' them- even in tiny ways - every day. Keep a forward momentum, even when you feel life is pinning you down and you feel stuck. Take time each evening to reflect on the ways you moved 'toward' your goals today. Just taking steps to nurture and look after yourself (Action 1 above) is a powerful and productive example of this.
TIP *** remember the depth of self-worth you gain from kindness towards others - this is a mood changer - guaranteed!
Action 5: Seek help
Seeking professional help when you feel you need it can be resilience-building.
There are times when many of us need extra support - for a time - to feel validated, hear new perspectives and reconnect you to your innate capacity for resilience.