How to build resilience

13th November 2018

Developing resilience is a personal journey because we are all exposed to different life experiences and influences that shape how we cope with challenges or stressors. Because we are all individuals, when we are faced with stressful events we will react differently from one another, and perhaps our reactions will also vary from time to time.

What is important to realise is that we are constantly learning and this applies to our resilience as well as all other areas of life. One approach to building resilience might work for one person but not another so it is important to have a variety of tools and strategies to draw upon both for yourself and in order to support others.

• Human Connection

One of the most important needs of humans is to connect and to socialise. Make time to see friends and family and go out and meet people. Avoid isolating yourself, particularly if you are feeling stress or pressure which can often happen as we retreat into ourselves.

• See the best in yourself

It is very easy to put ourselves down and to focus on our ‘failings’ leading to a cycle of criticism and self-loathing. Be mindful of self-talk and your ‘inner critic’, be compassionate and kind to yourself. Take time to recognise the positives rather than focusing on the negatives.

• Seek personal growth and development

We are continuously changing and adapting as we journey through life. Have an open mind to see opportunities. Embrace challenge as potential for learning, growth and self-development and develop confidence in your ability to solve problems.

• Self-care

There are many ways to look after yourself and it is vital for overall wellbeing to look after your physical, mental and emotional health. Take responsibility for your own health and wellbeing and pay attention to your needs and feelings. Maintain a strong mind and body in order to be resilient in difficult situations. See pillars of brain health for more detail.

• Keep things in perspective

When faced with multiple stressors we can easily become overwhelmed. It can feel as though the situation is unbearable or that it won’t ever change. Take a step back and see the bigger picture. Remember situations, thoughts and feelings are temporary.

• Maintain a hopeful outlook

In times of struggle it can feel as though there is no way out and no light at the end of the tunnel, and thoughts can quickly become focused on only seeing the negatives. Think glass half full rather than half empty and be aware of natural tendencies to lean towards optimism or pessimism.

• Accept that change is inevitable

Change is something that we will all experience and it is completely normal to feel uncomfortable with change. It is something that most people find scary as it is unknown and can threaten our feelings of safety and security. In life, change is inevitable, sometimes through our own choices and sometimes through circumstances beyond our control. It’s important to maintain a flexible approach to life and be open to the opportunities change can bring.

• Set Goals and take action

Goal setting is a way of keeping us on track and giving us something to work towards. Have a clear and realistic goal and then break it down into small steps with deadlines where possible. Make sure your goal has an end point so you know when you have reached it. Be willing to take risks and see challenges as a learning opportunity maintaining ownership and flexibility of thought.

Resources from the ‘Staff Resilience: improving Psychological Health and Emotional Wellbeing‘ training, being held on 20 November at Tettenhall College – run by Delivering Resilience

If you would like to get more information about how to build resilience and improve your emotional wellbeing, join our course here