Seven Effective Ways to Build Resilience.


1) Re-frame your Mindset

Reappraise or re-frame the stress that you’re feeling in the situation - ask yourself is this really stressful or is it simply annoying, disruptive or uncomfortable? This can make your feelings more manageable.

Athletes for example use stress as a skill to optimize performance. And it's comforting to know that a history of some adversity is related to greater life satisfaction and strengthens one's ability to cope with stress in life.

Can you also change your mindset so that your stress is a challenge and not a threat? This is not the first time many of us have had to abruptly change course in our lives.

TIP: Try making a list of all the other times you pushed through to remind yourself of the skills and strengths you previously called upon in challenging times. Then tell yourself those stories of resilience today.

“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails” Elizabeth Edwards

2) Fuel your Motivation

You can fuel your motivation by breaking down your goals into small daily tasks that you can succeed at.

Then when we make progress, we feel better and that leads to more progress.

Establishing a daily routine that starts with small tasks and enjoyable activities we can succeed at will maintain good feelings throughout the day for everyone in our households. Remember that emotions are contagious!

3) Slow Rhythmic Breathing

If you can slow down your breathing, you will deactivate the 'fight or flight' system and activate the 'rest and digest' system.

When we're stressed, our breathing is shallow which activates a chaotic heart rate and increases our anxiety. We can de-stress our body through short breathing practices during the day, for example:

  • In-breath for 4 seconds

    • Rest for 4 seconds

  • Out-breath for 4 seconds

    • Rest for 4 seconds

  • Repeat for a few minutes.

4) Balance Your Body Budget

To effectively manage stress, we must take care of ourselves: we are a mind-body system; to have a healthy mind you need a healthy body.

Taking care of our physical health should be the first step in managing stress and building resilience. The 3 basics for a balanced body budget are:

  1. Good quality sleep

  2. Healthy diet

  3. Regular exercise

As we are spending a lot more time indoors, there are many online resources for exercising inside.

*'Body Budget' is a term coined by Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett. Your body budget is like a bank account where we are continually making withdrawals and deposits. If we make too many withdrawals and are unbalanced we will experience low energy, fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, feeling overwhelmed and so on.

5) Mindfulness

Mindfulness practice can be a way to cope with stress. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing. It's also about not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us.

Whenever you bring awareness to what you're directly experiencing through your senses, or to your state of mind through your thoughts and emotions, you're being mindful.

Meditation and yoga that focuses on your breathing is a wonderful way to become fully present in the moment, relax and de-stress. There are many apps and online resources available on guided meditation and yoga, you could try to explore the approach that best suits you.

6) Acceptance

Accept that you are feeling stressed. This reduces the emotional charge and calms the amygdala, the sub cortical structure in your brain involved in the processing of emotions, especially fear and anxiety.

Identify and accept your emotions and then move on - motion changes emotion, actions change attitudes and movement changes mood.

7) Journaling

Journaling evokes mindfulness, helping writers remain present while keeping perspective. It has many benefits including improving your mood and giving you a greater sense of overall emotional well-being and happiness. Journaling can also help in the management of personal adversity and change and emphasize important patterns and growth in life.

© Copyright 2016 Mikki Gaskell

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