08 Jan Do You Have Bounce-Back-Ability?
Today we are talking about Resilience! Topical for me this week as I have been delivering Resilience Training for a team of people who work with young people with learning disabilities. What was great about that was that not only did the staff get to learn how to be more resilient with all of the pressures of the roles they are in, they also get to take that learning and share how to be more resilient with the young people they are working with. Win-Win!
We were exploring…
What is resilience
Who has it?
How do you get it?
The impact of having resilience vs not having resilience on your life and the people who live and work with you.
Now, resilience is a HUGE topic. So we are only going to scratch the surface here but it will definitely be the subject for more podcasts to come as we look at some of the elements of resilience in more detail so I’m excited to get this conversation started with you.
You’re tootling along, life is good, everything is fine and then out of the blue “Life” happens! Something changes, and often unexpectedly.
You are told you’re being made redundant, or you find out your partner is cheating on you, you’re diagnosed with an illness or you lose someone you love, or maybe it’s just the next thing in a long line of things that seem to go wrong!
Have you ever had times in your life when things just seem to get on top of you? Stressful events or situations are just too much to bear. If you are a human then the answer is most likely YES!!
This is when it helps people to be resilient.
But what does being resilient mean?
I asked my group and got lots of great definitions…
Resilience is the ability to recover and move on in the face of difficult circumstances. It is being able to “bounce back” from life’s struggles.
Bounce back ability!
Resilience is not the absence of distress or difficulty.
The person who feels no emotional distress when difficulty arises is not displaying resilience. The person who fails miserably feels intense negative emotions and survives to try another day, learns valuable lessons to apply in the future, gains new skills and brings the gift of those blessings with them for others… is displaying resilience.
Put simply, resilience is the ability to adapt when faced with difficulty, trauma, or tragedy.
The art of being flexible vs rigid in our beliefs and standards so that w bend not snap when life happens. If you have too many rules about how life should be and what should happen when and how other people need to show up every day it’s likely that your rules will be broken often and you will feel stressed, upset and disappointed often. Fewer rules with more give will definitely reduce these emotions for you and increase your resilience.
We all demonstrate resilience throughout our lives. While some people may be more resilient than others, resilience is not an immutable trait or characteristic that you either have or don’t have. Resilience is a learned ability, one that can be learned and built and developed by anyone.
You may think you’re not very resilient.
The word “resilient” might bring to mind all of the struggles and setbacks that have plagued you in your life. You might be thinking about how hard it is to recover from some of the worst ones. You may be thinking “I’m not resilient at all – just look at how often I’ve struggled to get back up!”
If you’re thinking any of this, then you are probably one of the most resilient people.
You have suffered, you have struggled, you have waded through a seemingly unstoppable tide of difficulty – and you have survived.
We tend to think of resilient people as those who are unaffected by the challenges of life, who take a setback with a smile and laugh in the face of their obstacles. That’s not necessarily resilience or – maybe they have already learned to become more resilient to be able to now respond in this way.
If you still don’t believe you’re very resilient, the good news is that there are many ways to grow resilience and these skills can most definitely be learned – you don’t have to be born with them!
I’ve been doing a bit of digging and research on resilience and there are many different views on what are the most important areas or ways to build resilience. This is the list I liked the most from the APA – American Psychological Association
- Making connections and building your social support network.
- Avoiding the tendency to view crises as insurmountable challenges.
- Accepting that change is a natural and unavoidable part of life.
- Moving towards your (realistic) goals.
- Taking decisive actions that will help you face your challenges.
- Looking for opportunities for self-discovery.
- Nurturing a positive view of yourself and your abilities.
- Keeping things in perspective and in context.
- Maintaining a hopeful outlook on life.
- Taking care of yourself
Great list, all important but in my experience the biggest thing that impacts on your ability to have resilience and grow your resilience is what goes on between your ears! Your self talk.
Yes…we all have it!
That little voice inside, the perpetual inner dialogue, the stream of mostly unconscious conversation that chatters away all day.
They say we have 60 thousand thoughts a day – and most of them are the same thoughts going round and round!
The first step to bounce back ability is to start to notice what you are saying to yourself every day.
Thoughts become things so what things are you creating in your thoughts that you might not actually want to have in your life!?
Is your self talk mostly positive or mostly negative? Does it make you feel great or are you making yourself feel sad, bad, uncomfortable, afraid, stressed?
Words create your reality so we need to notice the reality we are creating and if we don’t like it – change it!
You have NO control over things that happen around you or the people around you or how they think, act or feel.
The only thing that you have control over is you – your thoughts, your emotions, your actions, how you react or respond, how you show up and live your life. What meanings you give to the things that happen outside of you.
When we start to notice what we are saying to ourselves when an event happens, we can observe the thoughts rather than be consumed by them. We have to be curious about the situation rather than judge it. Stopping to ask yourself what happened – hearing the answer and then asking, Is that really true? What REALLY happened!
What else could it mean is really powerful question to ask. If I walk out of the room and the door slams behind me would you automatically assume I was angry! Went out in a strop!
Or would you assume that the wind caught the door and blew it hard shut? Perhaps the closer on the door was broken and I pulled it harder than I thought that time? I’m standing behind the door thinking “Ooops! Didn’t mean to slam it!!”
Steven Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said that the space between stimulus and response is called FREEDOM – ie Reacting habitually or impulsively vs taking a moment and deciding the response proactively. So before immediately reacting or judging it’s good to explore possible meanings first.
This is a great skill to practice so I invite you to practice it over the next few days. Have fun with it. Come up with at least half a dozen different meanings for situations, make some of them humorous even and see how differently you feel as a result. I’d love to hear your examples so do share them with me.
I look forward to your comments – that’s all from me for now so have a truly incredible week – stay amazing and speak soon!