The top 10 tips to building your resilience

When I talk about resilience, people's reaction is often to think about the British stiff upper lip and 'pushing on through'... but that's not what resilience really is. To be resilient is to recover quickly from difficulties rather than to not be affected by them.

I can think of a number of difficulties I've had in my life such as divorce, bereavement and illness, some of which I struggled to recover from and others I was more resilient to. I'm sure you can think of your own examples too.

Being resilient also applies to less dramatic life situations like not getting a job you interview for, falling out with a friend, or your son/daughter being a 'typical teenager'.

When life gets difficult or unwanted things happen to you, how do you react? Do you fall apart, do you get through it and then fall apart, or do you recover quickly?

Score yourself from 0 to 10 on how resilient you think you are. Where one = I have very little resilience and need a lot of time and support to recover, and 10 = I'm very resilient and can bounce back from problems easily.

If you've scored below a 10 you'll probably find these tips helpful:

The top 10 tips to building your resilience

  • Look at the situation as an observer - is it a genuine problem or could it be your perspective that makes it feel like that?
  • Think of the different possible solutions and only focus on those you have control over.
  • Ask for help and don’t be afraid to show vulnerability.
  • Stop ‘what if’ thinking. It is almost always unhelpful at finding a solution and will only make you worry more and be stressed.
  • Take time out from the emotional stress to recover after a situation.
  • Develop a support network which you can turn to at difficult times.
  • Avoid replaying the situation in your mind. Your brain doesn’t distinguish between reality and imagination, so you’ll just bring the thoughts and feelings back again and again.
  • Choose to be optimistic, and if you don’t know what the future holds, choose the positive outcome.
  • Keep a journal of situations, how you felt, what you learnt and the positives from them.
  • Practice self-compassion. If you are punishing yourself, it means you're hurting. Show yourself some compassion instead.

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