How to unlock your inner resilience to move forward with strength and positivity

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Depending what website, you read psychological and emotional resilience relates to the ability to come back stronger after being knocked back by life’s adversities.

But I believe resilience isn’t just about ‘bouncing back’ to how you were before something ‘bad’ happened. It’s also about how you adapt to a mentally, physically or emotionally challenging situation and stay well when facing those challenges.

Perhaps you don’t consider yourself a resilient person. But here’s the really amazing news……

The dictionary definition of RESILIENCE is;

1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness

2. The ability of a substance to spring back into shape; elasticity

Resilience isn’t who or what you are. It is a skill that you can learn and develop.

But you can’t learn or develop resilience if life is all cupcakes and unicorns! You need challenges in order to put the theory into practice and developed finely honed skills. Which takes me to the next bit of amazing news…

Nobody’s life is cupcakes and unicorns – no matter what their social media accounts might suggest. And that means you can develop resilience and learn how to become stronger as a result of life’s challenges.

Identifying true resilience

Look around and ask yourself, who are the people you consider resilient?

Chances are they are the people who have faced enormous challenges and come out fighting;

Survivors of oppression or genocide.

Survivors of horrific accidents or unimaginable abuse.

Survivors or life changing illness.

People for whom life is one ‘disaster’ after another yet still they smile. All of those people have one thing in common. They had the resilience to face their adversities and achieve in spite of them.

Eight steps to building resilience

Here are eight steps you can take to develop your own inner resilience.

No more negativity

Learning to reframe negativity takes time but in order to develop resilience you have to learn to recognise when you are dwelling on the negative thoughts and consciously stop them. At first it will take hard work and determination but as you develop new neuro pathways, it’ll become easier to tune out the negativity and focus instead on what you need to do to move forward from a situation.

This isn’t the same as positive thinking. It’s about taking an action that stops the negative thought patterns in their tracks. Go for a run. Meditate. Practice some mindfulness. Do some deep breathing. Work out what will work for you so that when you spot negative thoughts getting in your way, you already have a plan to deal with them.

Feel the fear

Avoiding failure might seem like a great way to build resilience but in truth, it will just stop you doing stuff you really want to do! Fear of failure stops you trying new things because you are afraid that if you fail in that thing, you will be perceived as a failure in life. That means you go into a situation like it’s a fight you have to win. Which means you are on the back foot already.

Try and see situations that you could fail at, as a challenge to see what happens. If it helps, think of things you’ve done in the past that were challenging and look objectively at how they turned out. For example, think about the last time you did something that you were really good at. Then think back to when you weren’t good at it and look at the progress you made….

That, right there, is resilience. You learnt something new and got to be really good at it!

Quit catastrophising

Stop thinking about the absolute worst that could happen in a situation. How often do the absolute, worst case scenarios, actually come true. In reality, very rarely. Even if something goes wrong, it’s often not much more than a blip in the road. A life lesson that you learn from and move on. But getting stuck into an ever decreasing spiral of mentally playing out every possible worst case scenario will only hold you back.

Look behind you

In many ways, this is a bit like dealing with fear of failure, only this time you’re looking for positive affirmations. Think of all the amazing things you’ve done in the past – then think about what went wrong on the way to achieving those goals. What are the lessons you can take from those situations to improve the path you’re on now?

Fast forward to the future

There’s a famous saying ‘this too shall pass’ and it’s true in every situation in life. Thinking forward to a time when the memories of your current challenges won’t be as raw and painful can be a powerful tool to building resilience.

Where will you be in five years’ time? Will the thing you’re worrying about now, still be a big deal or will it have faded into life’s rich tapestry? Even enormous, life-changing events fade in significance over time.

Practice gratitude

I’m not being flippant when I say ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ as sometimes that can be hard to see. However, there are times in life when flipping a situation on its head to be grateful instead.

Maybe your car has a puncture and repairing it will be expensive but be grateful you have the luxury of a car. Maybe that promotion you worked so hard for went to a colleague, but by grateful you have a job and can try again in the future

Stop avoidance tactics

Worry and fear won’t go away unless you make them. Embracing something that makes you feel uncomfortable is the fastest way to overcome that discomfort.

Feeling overwhelmed with your workload? Tackle it head on. Prioritise your tasks and start getting them ticked off. You might not clear them all in one go but do take a moment to recognise the small steps you are taking in the right direction.

The truth is, fear of the unknown is often the scariest thing of all. Run at your fears and embrace them so that you can overcome them and grow as a person.

Find out more

If you need help to develop resilience in your personal or professional life, please get in touch. I have a range of options available. In addition to 1:1 therapy, I can offer workplace resilience training for individuals and teams.

To find out more about how to develop resilience, call 07557668729 to arrange your free initial consultation.

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