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What does it mean to be resilient? There are a variety of definitions, but this one sums it up for me:
resilience: the ability to be happy, successful etc., again after something bad has happened.
Resilience is something you learn to be despite what life has thrown at you. I saw this in my own life. My Mum was in a psychiatric unit for 3 years with psychotic depression, then spent the last 4 years of her life in a nursing home. The effect on my Dad and I was intense. After a few years of this, plus having three young children and working a high-pressured job, I burned out and ended up off work with chronic fatigue. I knew it was stress induced. Ultimately this situation and a passion for good mental health lead me into coaching. So how do you build up your resilience to counter the effects of stress during challenging times in your life?
Accept what you can’t control: We can’t control how others behave, think or feel, but we control our own thoughts, feelings and actions. This is locus of control. Those who have a strong internal locus of control, who believe they have power to change their response to situations, suffer less stress, anxiety and depression.
Some negative situations are out-with our control. We often waste energy worrying about things that we can do nothing about, creating stress and burnout. To overcome this, learn to relax by meditating, praying or speaking to a trusted friend.
Where there is the potential to control a negative situation, we can take action to resolve it. This empowers us and we feel less stress. The feeling of overwhelm and stress is a direct result of inaction. When we’re feeling stressed by a situation, you can ask yourself, what can I do to improve the situation? Who can I get practical help from?
Change your perspective: We all see the world through our own personalities, beliefs and experiences. Through our experiences as children, we set rules about ourselves, other people and the world in general. As a result, we experience situations in our own unique way. Sometimes we speak to ourselves harshly. This is negative self-talk and it hinders your peace of mind, your ability to relate well to others and to make progress in life.
What happens when you make a mistake, for example? Do you beat yourself up? Let’s say you arrive at work and have forgotten your pass for the office. What do you tell yourself? If you tell yourself you’re stupid and people will be annoyed at having to let you into the building, that does nothing for your sense of self-worth! An alternative thought could be that you simply made a mistake and most people forget something at some point in their lives. People won’t mind helping you out. This idea of changing perspective can be applied across many difficult situations in life.
Build your self-efficacy:Self-efficacy is our belief that we can succeed. You can do this in a number of ways:
In my 20 year journey of self-development, one of the changes that has most helped me is to be kind to myself. When you accept what you can control and take action where you can, when you change your perspective and when you’re actively building self-efficacy, you’re showing yourself kindness. These actions create a positive and confident attitude within you and ultimately help buffer you against what life might throw at you.
Susanne McCabe is a Life Coach, Podcaster, Mum and singer with a passion for positive mental health. She loves to help clients increase their confidence and pursue important life goals, while overcoming the obstacles that hold them back such as stress, anxiety or depression. Find out more about Susanne at www.lifeswitchcoaching.com
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