Resilience II

In our previous conversation about resilience (Resilience I), I asked you to think about a time when you were resilient.

Do a resilience audit. Look at your usual behaviors and beliefs when faced with a challenge. What actions do you take? What do you tell yourself and others about the situation and your ability to deal with it?

Think of that time now, and look for two things.

What actions demonstrated resilience for you?

What did you believe that helped you though?

Resilience reserves are created by our actions and our beliefs. It isn’t just a state of mind – when we are resilient we do something. It doesn’t have to be big. One person told me the action that demonstrated her resilience was getting out of bed every morning. Exactly. When we are resilient we stay engaged and focused on problem solving in the present. We may face temporary shocks and setbacks, but we continue to act.

Just as important as engagement is what we believe. Our beliefs can help support our resilience and build up those reserves, or our beliefs can drain our assets and leave us scraping bottom.

Some beliefs that clients have shared include: “This will not last forever.” “I can get through this – I’ve done it before I can do it again.” “There is some meaning for me in this – and I will create it.” I can learn and change.” “It won’t get the best of me!” “I am not alone.”

You will have beliefs that are your talisman in difficulty. Some people use sacred texts, scripture and quotes of inspiration. Some rely on poetry and heroes and heroines from literature to inspire them. The only requirement is that as you say or write your beliefs, that you feel that tiny lift from them. Then you know you are filling your resilience tank.

If you flip these beliefs, you can begin to detect where you are drawing down reserves. Beliefs like “I am alone and no one really gets me.” “I have to do this all myself.” It will never change – I can’t see it ever getting better.” “I don’t’ know what to do.” “There isn’t a way to figure this out.” “Only fools cling to hope.”

You can feel your energy start to fall just by reading these statements.

This is the first step to building your ability to bounce back.

Do a resilience audit. Look at your usual behaviors and beliefs when faced with a challenge. What actions do you take? What do you tell yourself and others about the situation and your ability to deal with it?

Then be willing to tweak your habitual thoughts and actions. Instead of endless games on your computer, call a friend. Go out to a movie, yes even if you aren’t feeling great. Make an appointment for some body work. Get into action, even on a small scale.

Write down what you believe about the situation, and edit it. Or talk to someone and ask them to listen for where you can shift a belief.

This is the path to filling your resilience account and having some to spare!

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