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  • Writer's pictureLucy Johnson - Director

All about Resilience

So what is Resilience?

Resilience is described as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or toughness. It is a process, and the outcome of being able to adapt to difficult or challenging situations.

We all experience stressful situations in our lives, whether from illness, the loss of someone close to us, abuse, bullying, loss of our job, or our home or financial instability or uncertainty. Other shared experiences such as the pandemic, terrorist attacks and war for example result in us having to try and cope and work through difficult life experiences.

Resilience includes mental, emotional and behavioural aspects, so how we think in different situations, how we feel and then how we behave in response to these situations.

Over the last 2 years many of us have faced additional challenges in personal or work lives, whether as a direct result of COVID19, or in relation to the life changes that the impact of the pandemic had on each one of us. Adjusting to both internal and external demands is a challenge, however there has been an increase in people struggling to remain resilient, perhaps because of the extenuating circumstances we have found ourselves in.

When we think about resilience, it is useful to think about how we are affected by both internal and external demands. Some people demonstrate more resilience than others, sometimes we feel that we are less resilient in certain situations, or around certain people. When we look at resilience its important to think about the external factors which affect us, such as our working environment, relationships, culture, and socio-economic factors for example.

We are also affected by internal factors which can affect our resilience. Some of these might include; empowerment, self-control, cultural sensitivity, our own self-concept and social sensitivity.

What does resilience look like?

Resilient people are able to 'bounce back' or recover quickly from stressful situations, demonstrating self-awareness and self-control in adverse situations. Other characteristics of a resilient person include; the ability to keep calm when under stress, to stay motivated and optimistic, and to remain realistic in all situations. Resilience is also the ability to demonstrate empathy to others, which helps them to see the 'bigger picture' and consider others as well as themselves.

What other factors do we need to consider?

When we think about the way we behave in different situations, we are quite often responding to the environment around us, the people we are surrounded by and the level of stress or difficulty in the task we are facing.

There are a number of personal factors to consider, such as our own self-esteem. What opinions do we have about ourselves, how do we value ourselves If you are someone that feels quite negative about yourself, this can affect your ability to make decisions or to assert yourself in different situations.

It's also important to think about communication skills and how we communicate. Relating to the three main communication types, the snail will hide under their shell if faced with difficult people or situations. The tiger will fight back and show aggression and anger. The owl is considered the most assertive communication type, being able to think, consider and communicate assertively.

It's also important to consider external factors such as our own social support / network around us. Who do we have around us to support, that we really trust, that we can rely on? Someone we can talk to and share thoughts, feelings and concerns to help to work through difficult decisions or situations?

Finally what resources do we have. These could be personal resources; so the resources internally that you already possess such as your talents, mindset, abilities or personality traits. External resources such as information resources, physical assets, money or relationships around us.

So here's an important question;

During times of stress, do you feel able to continue to make realistic plans, do you feel able to continue to carry out those plans and whilst doing so feel able to effectively manage your thoughts, feelings and your behaviour in a healthy way?

Think about the last time you found yourself dealing with a stressful situation, either at home or at work.

Then using the checklist below think about which of these you were able to continue to demonstrate;

  1. The ability to keep calm and collected

  2. The ability to demonstrate that you were flexible in your thoughts and approach to the situation

  3. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively with those around you

  4. The ability to stay connected to friends, family or work colleagues

  5. The ability to make a clear plan, and to continue to work towards your own goals without influence

  6. The ability to manage any strong or overwhelming feelings

  7. The ability to feel confident and secure in your choices, decisions and feeling able to confront fear or manage feelings of anxiety

  8. The ability to continue to see the bigger picture, and seeing the issue as something that had an impact on a part of your life, but not on your 'entire' life

  9. The ability to continue to be able to focus on self-care - eating well, sleeping well and exercising or continuing with normal routines

  10. Finally, the ability to continue to care and support for others around you

This exercise can help to understand your own personal levels of resilience. If you answered 'No' to two or more of these options, it may be useful to spend some time understanding resilience, assessing what impacts on your own resilience, and what you can work on to develop or improve your own resilience.

British Psychological Society; skills-based model of personal resilience

The model above introduced by the British Psychological Society, shows resilience at the core. It outlines the skills around this, which are important in achieving improved resilience and positive outcomes when faced with adversity.

Using this model can help each one of us to identify which area(s) we are feel are weaker areas for us; for example do we find it a struggle to consider self-care, do we find it hard to manage our emotions in different situations, do we struggle to make or maintain meaningful relationships, or find it hard to balance the demands placed on us at home, at work or managing to balance these together.

So what next?

It is important to note that even if you are not naturally resilient, you can learn to develop a more resilient mindset and attitude.

Sometimes a lack of resilience can be attributed towards your own mindset, previous 'conditioning' or childhood issues. Hidden factors which we may not have considered, or be aware of.

Being resilient doesn't make our difficulties go away, but it does provide you with the ability to see past them, to find more enjoyment and to be able to better handle stressful situations.

How can Therapy Centre Services help?

Accessing an assessment with one of our team, will help you to understand the factors which are affecting your current resilience levels, and to define goals to work towards to improve this.

Counselling sessions can help anyone who is struggling emotionally, struggling to manage behavioural responses in different situations, struggling to communicate effectively or feeling negative about themselves, struggling with self-confidence and self-esteem.

Email for more information or to book a resilience session, or counselling appointment.

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