Rolling with Resilience
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. It is also the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
Psychological Resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or return to pre-crisis status quickly. It is the ability to reframe things, most notably moving from feeling disappointment to seeing opportunities. Resilience exists when the person uses mental processes and behaviours to promote their assets and protect themselves from the potential adverse effects of stressors (something that causes a state of strain or tension).
The Reframing Technique
The reframing technique (or cognitive reframing as it is also called) is a psychological technique that involves identifying and then changing the way situations, experiences, events, ideas, or emotions are viewed. The reframing approach is when you challenge and change the concerns or thoughts to more helpful and productive ones.
There are three stages to the reframing technique which are:
- Being in touch with your attitudes and beliefs – Understanding and being aware of your way of thinking and feeling about things and your opinions and views about yourself, your skills and abilities.
- Recognising when your beliefs are harmful or constructive – Being able to quickly identify when opinions and views about yourself are counter-productive and tearing you down instead of building you up. This would include condemning self-judgements, over analysing, reliving the events/failures of the past, entertaining the inner critic, imposter syndrome and focusing on all the things that could go wrong.
- Immediately turn your beliefs around so they are positive – The final and most crucial stage is reframing your thoughts or opinions, which are constructive instead of destructive. Self-efficacy, a core attribute of resilient people, is demonstrated by how an individual takes control of situations, thoughts, and emotions.
The power of negative thoughts
It will help if you become mindful of the mental chatter that happens within your mind. The average human being has about 60-70 thousand thoughts a day, and 90% of those thoughts are rumination. If you approach a situation, event or day with cycles of negative thinking, you are syphoning away your energy and strength. Research from neuroscience has shown that negative thoughts are seven times more powerful than positive ones, so it is paramount that we guard our thinking processes. Negative thoughts are thick and fast. They are oppressive and leave you feeling overwhelmed about your situation.
Developing a Resilient Mindset
When it comes to Resilience, all roads lead to the mind. The mind is the BATTLEFIELD! It is, therefore, paramount that we build up and develop our mental resilience muscles.
Here are some ways to develop a resilient mindset:
- Know your WHY: Having a sense of purpose and knowing you're why are critical drivers in building a mental fortitude that focuses on the end goal rather than the present reality. It gives you the energy and strength to keep going despite setbacks because you focus on the vision that burns deep within your heart and mind.
- Believe in Yourself: Thoughts are the building blocks for a strong mind. Think of them as going to the gym to do a workout. If you go to the gym and don't use the equipment correctly, you injure yourself (negative thoughts), but you become fit, healthy, and strong if you use them correctly over time. Remember, the average human being has about 60-70 thousand thoughts a day. This means that we are always in the mental gym, but are we using the equipment correctly? It is time to start believing in yourself and seeing yourself from a place of strength, capabilities and Resilience.
- Stay Connected: You have all heard the saying, no man is an island. There is a reason for that; we all, at some point, will need the support, help or advice of others. It is essential to have allies and healthy support networks that you can draw on in times of need. Sometimes a listening ear or an empathic word of encouragement is all it takes to get back on the road of progress and give things another shot. In times of crisis, their time, input and feedback can be priceless!
- Be Optimistic: Be hopeful and positive is vital markers of Resilience. Seeing the glass as half full and looking for the silver lining in situations can be the difference between failure and defeat. If you are not sure what the difference is, failure is when you miss the mark but learn from it and make a more informed choice next time as you continue the journey. Defeat is when you experience a failure, but you stop trying because you lose hope and can only see the negatives in continues the journey. Optimists can see the point of trying, and they believe there's a future worth trying for. They also possess a can-do attitude.
- Self-Care: Self-care is just as crucial to your confidence as brushing your teeth is to have a fresh breath. My definition of self-care: "Self-care is when you are aware and mindful on a holistic level, so you pay attention to the upkeep, maintenance, repair of all facets of your being". This means that in all aspects of your life (including your thoughts), you are mindful and operate in ways that support and nourish you. To do this means paying close attention to the thoughts you entertain, the words you utter, and the actions you take.
- Sharpen your problem-solving skills: It is a given that we will all experience problems, difficulties and challenging situations. Therefore, we all have two choices: 1) Develop the skills to manage them when they arise or 2) Don't do anything and hope that we don't have to go through many struggles in life. We all have a different reaction to stress, adversity and crisis based on our resilience levels. If you want to handle situations better, invest in yourself, whether that be reading, listening to podcasts, watching Ted Talks, attending courses, getting a coach, etc. Remember, resilience muscles, just like physical muscles, develop by doing nothing!
The seven C's of Resilience
Dr Ginsburg is a professor of paediatrics in the Division of Adolescent Medicine. He identified that seven areas play an essential role in creating resilient people. These are:
- Competence: This is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. Competence becomes extremely important when addressing situations, barriers or obstacles in life.
- Confidence: This is the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something. In order to have self-confidence, there has to be a level of competence that an individual has. This is often developed over time as handle and overcome real-life situations.
- Connection: Having people around you that value you and are supportive. Being connected to others and having solid networks, whether family, friends or the community, can provide a sense of security and belonging.
- Character: These are the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. It taps into things such as morals, ethics and values. It is about weighing up what is right from wrong and making responsible choices in terms of steps forward. When we live in line with our values, we experience a sense of self-worth that can drive us to make the right choice in difficult times.
- Contribution: Being a part of something, helping others and having a passion or purpose beyond self-interest can be a powerful motivator that pushes people out of their comfort zones and, by default, increases resilience.
- Coping: The ability to face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties. When individuals learn to manage and handle stress effectively, they grow and become more resilient. It is essential to understand that adversity and setbacks are a unique gym that produces significant resilient muscles.
- Control: We cannot control everything that happens around us or what other people choose to do. In every situation, we can decide how we will either react or respond to each scenario when it arises. Learning to manage our emotions and remain calm acts as critical tools to ensure we are problem-solvers instead of victims of circumstance. The more an individual can control themselves and deal with situations appropriately, the more capable and confident they feel the next time a problem presents itself.
The ability to identify and then deal effectively with stress is an essential quality in resilient individuals. This is why avoidance often is counter-productive and often breeds the offspring of procrastination, fear and anxiety. Wherever you are in your journey with Resilience, always remember ABC: Action Builds Confidence! It is only by taking action that you will grow. We all had to do this throughout life when learning to walk, ride a bike, learn to read and gain the skills in our work profession. You are stronger than you think. So don't just go through the struggle; grow through the struggle and build your resilience muscles.