How to be more resilient

In a previous post I wrote about how resilience is far more powerful a predictor of success than age, gender, nationality, educational background – well, pretty much anything. The post talked about what resilience entails and what behaviours are part of resilience. Crucially, none of these are things you are born with, but habits that one can learn. I know, I know – we are all busy and there are a million things we are all trying to get better at – but fortunately there are also some great tips that Marelisa Fabréga has put together – designed to get you moving in the right direction:

1. Work On Your Mental Flexibility. Mental flexibility is having the ability to shift gears when the context calls for it and being able to generate and evaluate several different options in order to respond effectively to any situation.

2. Look for Ways to Derive Meaning From Adversity. When facing adversity or a negative situation you need to look for ways to derive some positive meaning from what is happening.

3. Transform Hardship Into a Challenge. Hardship connotes suffering. Challenge connotes opportunity. Ask yourself how you can turn the negative situation which you’re facing into a productive one.

4. Avoid Thinking Traps. When things go wrong, do you get stuck in a spiral of asking yourself over and over again how or why something like this could have happened? If so, be warned that these are all thinking traps.

5. Shift to Active Thinking. Active thinking leads to action, and in order to get yourself out of a negative situation you need to act. In order to shift into active thinking, ask yourself questions such as the following:

  • How can I contain the problem so that it doesn’t get worse?
  • What can I do to limit the scope or the duration of this problem?
  • How can I reduce the potential downside of this adverse event?
  • How can I increase the potential upside of this event?
  • What aspects can I control?
  • How can I best respond?

6. Look for a Role Model. Study people you admire who are resilient, analyze how they deal with adversity, and create rules for yourself based on your findings.

7. Inoculate Yourself Against Stress.  You inoculate yourself against stress by intentionally exposing yourself to various stressors – that is, anything that’s outside of your comfort zone. Here are some ideas:

  • Go out to dinner by yourself;
  • Learn something new;
  • Do something that frightens you; and so on.

8. Practice Realistic Optimism. Resilient people feel that they can cope with whatever life throws at them. What it means is that they see the situation for what it is but they’re confident that by taking right action they’ll be able to overcome the adversity and continue on their way.

9. Visualize a Positive Outcome. Visualize what you want as clearly as you can and then think of a series of steps that you can take in order to start moving in that direction.

10. Adopt a Strengths Perspective. Think of an adversity that you’ve had to face in the past and ask yourself what strengths you relied on in order to get past it.

11. Nurture Yourself. Ask yourself what you can do in order to nurture yourself. This will help you to shift your outlook from dejection to hope, and to transform anxiety into positive energy.

12. Be Connected. By building strong, positive relationships with others you’ll be creating a support system which you can rely on when things go wrong.

13. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation.  Meditation and mindfulness cultivate an inner life of self-knowledge, self-nurturance, and peace which acts as a buffer from external pressures.  Having this buffer makes us more resilient.

14. Embrace Wabi-sabi. Leonard Koren defines wabi-sabi as follows:  ”Wabi sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, the antithesis of our classical Western notion of beauty as something perfect, enduring, and monumental.”

Read the full post here

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