Resilience – What is it and how can we increase it?

Our level of resilience is defined by our ability to overcome issues and challenges quickly, minimising the emotional impact and maintaining a high level of self-esteem despite being subjected to negative situations.

We’re all born with a high level of resilience and self-esteem – have you ever met a 4-month-old baby who is concerned about what other people might think of them or is self-conscious in a room full of people? No, the baby wants to feed when it’s hungry, wants entertainment when it’s awake and doesn’t care if its parents are tired or busy. It wants what it wants and puts its own needs first.

As we grow, we experience challenges that can decrease our resilience. We may not be as academic as other class members leading us to feel incompetent, our parents may separate, leaving us with a feeling of disconnection, we may have a diagnosis of dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADD, ADHD or Autism and feel we don’t fit in or experience bullying at school which leads to us feeling unable to cope or out of control. So many life events can decrease our resilience if we’re not given the tools, to be able to deal with them.

85% of adults suffer from low self-esteem and resilience, leading to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, proving how important it is to manage them effectively. We’re unlikely to go through our lives without challenge, distress, grief or some level of trauma. Building our resilience helps us cope better and bounce back from difficult times.

How can I build my resilience?

Accept what is happening – Very often, when we experience a challenge, we focus on ‘why is this happening to me?’, ‘life is so hard and unfair’. Our focus is on something that has happened and is out of our control. Instead, turn your attention to the things you can control or influence.

Ask yourself these questions:-
• What can I control?
• What choices do I have?
• What/who can I influence to improve the situation?

When we’re focussing on what we CAN do, rather than the situation itself, we’re naturally building our levels of resilience.

Take action – Action relieves anxiety. When working towards a positive outcome we’re developing strength and building resilience. If a problem is too big to overcome in a short time, break it down into smaller steps and, as you achieve each step, recognise the progress you’re making. Focus on the successful outcome by visualising how it looks and creating the feelings you’ll feel once you’ve reached it. Each time a negative image or thought comes into your mind, turn your attention to your successful outcome.

Be kind to yourself – The mind/body connection is a powerful one, every thought creates a physical response, and focusing on our physical health is important. Take time out for your body and mind, practice meditation and relaxation or go for a walk in nature. Exercise regularly to increase those endorphins which improve your mood. Think about your diet too – ‘you are what you eat’ and a healthy diet, with limited amounts of processed foods, increases vitality and motivation to overcome challenges.

What if I need more help?

Work with a therapist to overcome past events that have impacted your resilience and self-esteem. Find a reputable therapist with proven experience who can provide the extra support you need. Find out more about our services in the YourTime section of our website.

Nicki Williamson

Nicki is a qualified trainer, advanced hypnotherapist, Neuro Linguist Programming practitioner and founder of NO TIME LIKE NOW®. Nicki has over 25 years of senior management experience in the corporate world, giving her a real edge in understanding business as well as individual needs. Alongside her years of experience working with school-age children, Nicki is uniquely able to build resilience for adults and children alike.

Finding the thought of change overwhelming and need a helping hand, why not get in touch!

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