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Building Resilience

23 days to go.

Resilience is a word that’s been much used this past year. The dictionary gives two meanings for it:

  1. i) the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness
  2. ii) the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity

There’s a phrase that I feel describes it more accurately which is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and one of the reasons I like this saying is that it means that resilience grows with us. The more adversity we face the stronger we become in our ability to deal with it.

When the first lockdown happened last year and changed many of our lives overnight, we were initially unsure how to spend our time but fairly soon people were adapting to the change as it affected them. Hobbies were restarted or new ones taken up, the weather was great and enabled may to get outside for their daily allotment of exercise and more time was spent baking or gardening.  With subsequent lockdowns there was no delay as we already knew how we could spend our time.

This is an example of how we all built on our resilience by adapting.  This ability to adapt to changed circumstances, and particularly to make the best of the imposed change strengthens us and helps give us confidence and enable us to remain calm on future occasions when things change out of our control.

It doesn’t mean that we won’t initially feel overwhelmed or distressed and wonder how we will cope in the face of future disappointments, setbacks or tragedy, but each time we suffer such an event, we have some coping tools and skills available to us and we add others to our arsenal. Our social networks are an important part of our resilience both in giving and receiving support at difficult times.

We can also help ourselves to build resilience. We may not be able to change the event but we can change the way we think and feel about it. Silver linings may not always be present but there may be small ways in which life may change for the better as a result of the disappointment – one door closing but another opening, for example.  Share your problem with others and more than likely you’ll find someone who’s been through the same thing and share some of the ways they dealt with it.

Stress is a major factor in how well we approach adverse life events so another way to help us develop our resilience is to learn and adopt tactics to help us manage our everyday stresses. Such things as

  • making a little time for yourself each day even if it’s just reading a couple of pages of a book before bed or taking a ten minute walk.
  • build physical activity into your life on a regular basis which helps with mental wellbeing and problem solving
  • practicing meditation and mindfulness help you to focus on the now, not worry about the past which you cannot change or be anxious for an as yet unknown future.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courage doesn't mean you don't get afraid. Courage means you don't let fear stop you