The Secret of Resilience
Anne has suffered with breast cancer twice and has had a double mastectomy. Despite this she has managed to keep working and has treated the experience as a challenge, thus demonstrating strong resilience. Now in remission, she is back in full time work and spends her free time helping to run a breast cancer support group. Her friends observe "Anne always sees the positive side of her situation and is grateful for the good things in life. She believes she is incredibly lucky that the treatment worked".
I’m sure you can think of someone in your life who has managed to bounce back from trauma or adversity with relative ease. Do you ever wonder how you would cope in that situation? How resilient would you be?
Psychologists agree that while some people are born with a natural resilience, the behaviours can also be learnt. ‘Resilient people are able to experience positive and negative emotions in difficult or painful situations, whereas when non-resilient people face misfortune their emotions are all negative’ says (Barbara Fredrickson author of ‘Positivity’).
How can you develop resilience to the stresses in your life? Here are some ideas:
Believe in yourself. Develop your self-esteem and confidence by recognising your strengths and what you have achieved.
Build a strong social network. Family, friends and colleagues are a great support when crises occur.
Focus on the positive. Look for the good things in all situations and acknowledge the bad. There is always something to be grateful for or to learn from.
Be proactive. Resilient people will take responsibility and take action to change circumstances.
Learn from the situation. We often learn the most about ourselves and life in general when we’ve been through testing events.
Offer and receive kindness. This will boost your feelings of wellbeing and as a result your resilience.
Accept that some things can’t be altered. Don’t waste your energy on trying to do the impossible or by going over and over the situation in your mind.
‘Laugh in the face of adversity’. Humour can reduce the stress levels and make the problem seem less overwhelming.
There are many great examples of inspirational people, who have shown resilience to overcome adversity and achieve fantastic goals. For example, Oprah Winfrey, who had a difficult and abusive background and J.K. Rowling whose Harry Potter manuscript, was rejected 12 times.
Make these ideas a part of your life by practicing on life's everyday small stresses, for example, when stuck in a traffic jam or if your child is off sick. Good luck!
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