Ramp Up Your Resilience
Back in 2007, Arianna Huffington sat at home on the phone, when all of a sudden she collapsed. When she woke up, she lay in a pool of her own blood, and had what she would later discover, a broken cheekbone.
It wasn’t cancer. It wasn’t a disease. Huffington was, of course, exhausted. However, she later described this terrifying period as the “wake up call that changed my life.”
Not only did this lead her to create Thrive Global, but also author bestselling books like Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. Though Huffington had already achieved great acclaim with her eponymous news site, it was this setback that pushed her to follow her passion and also achieve success in her personal life.
Charles Swindoll is quoted for saying, “People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters, they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under”
What is Resilience?
The word Resilience has its origin in the Latin word “resilíre,” which means, “to leap back” or as I like to say, “bounce back”. Knowing how to “bounce back” from adversity and life challenges is something that all of us are able to do – we just need to know how.
The good news is that resilience is a process of thoughts and actions that can be learned. Although we cannot control the challenging events in our lives, resilience can give us the strength to control our responses to these events.
There are eight strategies that resilient people commonly use to manage adversity and to “bounce back” when life has knocked them down. By using these you can learn how to live a resilient and fulfilled life.
1. Laughter, Positivity and Hope
Resilient people live meaningful lives. They love to laugh and have a positive and hopeful attitude of life. Resilient people don’t take themselves too seriously and they have a sense of humour about the challenges of life. For resilient people, happiness comes because they believe in who they are, they know what they are doing, and they love what they do.
2. Accepting and Anticipating Change On a Daily Basis
In today’s world of constant change, it is hard to hold on to who you are and manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. The one constant thing in our lives today is change. Resilience is a quality that enables you to survive and thrive in a world of constant change. Resilient people are always ready for the unpredictable events in their lives. To them change is part of the daily routine of life. It is expected, and in fact, those who are most resilient embrace the opportunities that change brings.
3. Asking for Help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness to a resilient person. Resilient people seek support, advice and encouragement from others when times are tough.
They value the input of others, along with the wisdom and energy to overcome the adversity or solve the problems they are facing. Resilient people do not work or live in isolation. They enjoy belonging to a community and have a very collaborative approach when it comes to decision making and problem solving.
4. Being Self Aware and Connected
Resilient people practice the concept of mindfulness. They pay attention to where they are in the present moment. They are connected to what is important to them in their lives – family and friends. They know who they are and what they stand for.
They are self-aware and are able to monitor the thoughts that flow through them. This allows them to be able to tolerate ambiguity and hold opposing thoughts in their minds at the same time. Instead of reacting to their negative thoughts they will observe these thoughts and then let them pass through like a storm.
5. Valuing The Importance of Health & Well-Being
The energy source of resilience comes from the physical and mental strength of a person. A resilient person understands the importance of being physically, emotionally and mentally fit. They understand the importance of consistently following daily healthy habits that nurture and strength their health and well-being.
6. Practicing Appreciation & Gratitude
People who live a resilient life know that it is not a one-way ticket and that life is not all about them. It is about how they can help and support other people in their lives. They have a deep awareness of people and how they feel. They actively practice gratitude and will always acknowledge their appreciation of others. Resilient people like to serve others and develop supportive and caring relationships.
7) Build relationships and community
In a time of increased social distancing and virtual workplaces we need to be ever more conscious of building a sense of team and our individual trusting relationships. That may mean overcompensating by communicating much more than you typically would, and appreciating people as much as possible verbally and in writing.
8) Watch your words
The stories you tell are powerful, for good or for ill. If you take this week to focus on what you say out loud and make sure to practice discipline around your ‘explanatory style’ it will make a powerful impact. When you want to complain, think first and reframe that complaint into a request or action. When you want to tell a negative story, reframe it into an opportunity to learn from hardship or difficulty versus collapse under it.
Resilient people understand that life is not static – it is unpredictable and challenging. Adaptability, flexibility and flow are key strengths that enable resilient people to manage the unpredictability of life. If you want to live a resilient life, it is a tough journey because to be resilient you have to experience personal setbacks. This is undoubtedly scary, and for many of us, we choose not to embrace resilience and our life languishes. Resilient people know the huge effort and energy it takes to be able to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.