This page is full of support and guidance in building resilience for children and adults, let's start with understanding what resilience is...
Emotional resilience may be described as "the general capacity to flexible & resourceful adaptation to external & internal stressors" (Klohen, 1996, p.1067)
Emotional resilience refers to "effective coping & adaptation when faced with hardship & adversity" (Collins, 2008)
Emotional resilience has been characterised by "an ability to experience a 'bounce back' from negative emotional experiences by adaptation, to check the changing demands of stressful experiences" (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004)
"Life doesn't get any easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient!" (Resilience Voyage Ltd 2020)
What does resilience look like?
Optimism, Self-belief, Control of self, Willingness to adapt, Willingness to be flexible, Ability to solve problems, Emotional awareness, Social Support, and Purpose.
Best thing is, we can always work on our resilience, it takes time, but it's achievable, even if you have faced much trauma and adversities. This skill set is worth building and maintaining.
Winston S. Churchill
* Spend quality time with your children. I know, sounds simple right! It's very easy to get wrapped up in day to day commitments, the world is moving at such a fast pace it's important to keep a check of how your spending your time. When they feel loved and supported, children develop emotional strength.
*Talk about feelings, keep the conversation simple, don't overwhelm your children with an analytical speech and breakdown of how you came to that conclusion, a simple identification of how you are feeling and a simple why, so your child learns to share their worries and fears with people they trust and start learning to make a connection to their emotions.
*Instead of rushing to solve problems, give your children time to work things out for themselves. I know it's tempting and quicker for us to take over or we find it to painful to watch, but trust us, you are not helping them or yourself in the long run! Problem solving is a huge part of being resilient, but the ability to truly function at our best is through the pre-frontal part of our brain and that doesn't fully finish developing until our early 20s, so stay patient with your children.
*When children experience failure or disappointment, it's important to praise their effort and encourage them to try again. The world can be a very negative place and this will support their development of an optimistic mindset and build their self-esteem and confidence in their abilities. You will help to develop a health core belief, that mistakes help us learn and give us the opportunity to move forward.
*Acknowledge your mistakes to teach your children that mistakes are essential for learning and growth, this will support the previous point.
*If your child can't find a solution to a problem, use gentle questioning to guide them towards it.
*Ensure children are eating well and getting enough sleep and physical stimulation.
Resilience Voyage Ltd
Having a strong sense of self-worth, being self-reliant and having confidence in your ability to solve problem. Knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are and that you can rely on your strengths to cope when things get difficult.
*Be kind to yourself - Avoid "should" & "must" statements. Practice saying nice things in the mirror or write a couple of small messages on paper and place them in places you will view, like your wallet, bag, book, pocket ect. Remember self forgiveness and understanding when we may not perform in the way we hoped.
*Learn to be assertive - Having boundaries are important, they help you recognise what's right and wrong for you. Take the time to sit down and think about what you like and don't like from others behaviours. This will support you in being able to say "no" when you want to.
*Setting challenges - Trying to extend our comfort zones adds to our development within our self-esteem and worth, reminding ourselves what we are capable of, big or small accomplishments should be celebrated. We learn from failure. Start your challenges small and achievable to begin with. Consider what you've learned rather than focusing on the negative.
*Encourage yourself - Be your biggest cheerleader, accept your flaws, fall in love with your perfectly imperfect self.
*Trauma - Relabel upsetting thought's and memories with support and guidance from mental health professionals.
Example "My childhood trauma didn't leave any room to develop self-worth, self-esteem and confidence but once I spoke about my trauma with professionals in a safe place, I was able to start understanding the emotional impact, I was able to take a new look at the trauma and realise it was not my fault, that I was not a bad person and I was not to blame, that I was worthy of love" - Stacey Litster
For many individuals revisiting trauma safely, we have an opportunity to relearn new ways of thinking about ourselves, others around us and start to develop new beliefs.
People who can deal with uncertainty, think flexibly, recognise thinking errors and 'reframe' unhelpful, negative or inaccurate thoughts are more resilient. As are those who face challenge reflectively rather than reactively.
*Learn from others - Do you ever look at another person and admire how they can be so flexible and problem solve when faced with challenges, negative thoughts and beliefs? Ask them questions, take notes on their tips and guidance.
*Find the silver lining - It's hard to find positives in situations that don't go as planned however, being able to find the silver lining, in situations that your a part of is a brilliant example of adaptability because this requires you to reset and reframe your focus, which often requires taking a step back and viewing things less critically and more objectively. If identifying the positives is difficult for you, start by noting down what you learn when things don't go as planned, by doing this exercise regularly you will naturally build a more optimistic approach to your thinking.
*Be willing to make mistakes - Making mistakes is the best way to learn, no-one is perfect, while making mistakes can feel frustrating or even humiliating, it's how we manage after that really matters, it's this phase that will help improve your adaptability skills. If you learn from your mistakes, share the knowledge you've gained and test alternative solutions, then the chances are these mistakes will form some of the most important lessons you will learn throughout your life.
*Ask more questions - Asking questions is a great way to learn more and challenge ways of doing things which is a key component of being adaptable.
Learning how to adapt to change is a soft skill that will support your level of resilience in every aspect of your personal and working life.
Research shows that having a sense of meaning and purpose in what we do, having health expectations and motivations provide us with a foundation that allows us to be more resilient in the face of stress and adversity and a sense of hopefulness. It is associated with higher levels of happiness and satisfaction and lower rates of depressive symptoms.
*Have you considered donating your time or talent? - If there is just one habit you can create to help you find your purpose, it would be helping others. Whether you decide to spend time helping in a charity shop, being a mentor or fundraising for an important cause, doing something kind for others can make you feel as though your life has meaning.
*Listen to feedback - There are people in your life that may be able to give you some insight! There's a good chance you're already displaying your passion and purpose to those around you without realising it. Reach out to people and ask what reminds them of you or what they think of when you entre their mind. You could take notes when someone pays you a compliment or makes an observation about you. Write them down and look for patterns. Whether people think of you as "a great entertainer" or that you have a talent for cooking, or that you have a passion to help others, hearing others say what they notice about you might reinforce some of the passions you've already been engaging in.
*Surround yourself in positive and encouraging people - As the saying goes, you are the company you keep. What do you in common with the people who you choose to be around? Don't think about the people you are obligated to see, like family or people around you at work or school, think about the people you choose to spend time with outside of family functions, work or education. If your hanging around with negative individuals who drag you down, you might want to make some changes! It's hard to feel passionate and purposeful when surrounded by people who aren't interested in making positive contributions.
*Start conversations with new people - It's easy to browse social media while you're alone on a bus, sitting in a café waiting for a friend, resist that urge, instead take the time to talk to the people around you. Even though striking up conversations with strangers may feel awkward at first, talking to people outside of your immediate social circle can open your eyes to activities, causes or career oppurtunities that you never knew existed. Who knows what you may discover! It may be the key to helping you find your purpose.
*Explore your interests - Is there a topic that you are regularly talking about in a Facebook status update or in a Tweet. Are you regularly sharing articles about a particular topic? Are there pictures on Instagram of you engaging in a particular activity over and over, such as performing, gardening, cooking ect? Consider the conversations you enjoy holding with people the most when you're meeting face to face. Do you like talking about politics, or do you prefer sharing the latest gaming techniques and computer hacks? The things you like talking about and the things you enjoy sharing on social media may reveal the things that give you purpose in life.
*Consider injustices that bother you - Is there anything that makes you so deeply unhappy to think about that it bothers you to the core? It may be animal welfare, the environment and saving the planet, online trolls, refugees or rehabilitation oppurtunities - the organisations are out there, and they need your help!
*Discover what you love to do - On the other end of the spectrum, simply think about what you truly love to do, this can help you find your purpose too. Do you love analysing data? Many places would consider this a valuable asset. Discovering new mental health theories? Research and problem solving is a huge benefit to many charities. Consider what types of skills, talents, and passions you bring to the table, then brainstorm how you might turn your passion into something meaningful to you.
People with high emotional awareness who understands their own emotions tend also to be high on empathy which is having the ability to read and understand the emotions of others. This is important for resilience as it helps us to build relationships with others, creating social support. High levels of social support are associated with good health and foster adaptive coping strategies.
It's beneficial to practice asking for help and be receptive when it is offered. Maintain high-quality relationships by telling people how much you value their support. Return favours and thoughtfulness, which is the principle of reciprocity.
Having close friends and family - This has a far reaching benefit for your health. But building and maintaining these relationships can be tricky, as we are only in control of how we behave. Here are some ideas for building your social network;
*Volunteer- Pick a cause that's important to you (by using the advice given above) and get involved. You're sure to meet others who share similar interest and values.
*Join a gym or a fitness group - Incorporating physical fitness into your day is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. You can make friends while you exercise.
*Take a class - A local college or community education course puts you in contact with others who share similar hobbies or pursuits.
*Look online - Social networking sites can help you stay connected with friends and family. Many good sites exists for people going through stressful times, such as chronic illnesses, loss of a loved one, a new baby, mental health struggles, divorce and many other life changes. Many groups are formed on many social platforms. Be sure to stick to reputable sites and be cautious about arranging in-person meetings.
This is a very important thing to understand when you are building your resilience because it makes you stop and think, "am I looking at this in a helpful way?"
Admit you are wrong - Don't hold mistakes so personally, everyone makes mistakes. Take responsibility, forgive yourself, learn what you can and move forward. People who do something wrong and then spend so much time trying to defend their actions when they are indefensible, become more intrenched in their problems.
Here are a few ways to gain a better perspective.
*Choose humility - Nothing ruins perspective like ego. Humility is being humble, it helps us not only to listen more, react less, and see life through a more objective lens, humility also helps us put into perspective WHAT MATTERS MOST.
*Discipline your mindset - Your thoughts influence the way you view the world. Research shows if you perceive yourself to be bad at maths, you will perform badly at maths. Studies have shown a person who reads a very frightening news article will perceive his or hers surroundings with greater suspicion and fear. Be disciplined about the thoughts, images and stories you allow in your mind, they influence your view of everything and everyone around you.
*Impact and Intent - One of the most difficult things to navigate in life is relationships, what helps in relationships is to understand the difference between intent and impact.
Intent is what you mean to happen.
Impact is what does happen.
Picture a mother and son. A mother has the intent to motivate her son, she asks in a stern tone to "tidy your room, ive asked you twice already, if i have to ask again, you will lose time on your gaming." Her intent is to motivate her son to listen and complete a very needed task. The son interprets the stern tone as the mother is angry with him and doesn't like him in that moment, from this sons viewpoint a stern tone means dislike, anger and even threatening. The mother must recognise the impact and the son needs to be more aware of intent. Working together, they will be able to understand each others persons way of viewing the situation by communicating. Bonus is they learn from each other.
*Elevate gratitude - Bitterness, blame, ego, resentment, feelings of inferiority or superiority all influence our perspective. One of the great ways to clear our minds, and come to a better, more wise place is to elevate our gratitude. Studies have found, a person with a high gratitude level is able to problem solve significantly better than a person with a lower gratitude level. Gratitude is a decision and like any skill requires repetition and purposeful intention.
Building and maintaining resilience is not black and white, as complex human beings, everyone will have a different approach that will work for them. If you would like to continue your journey with building your resilience, then feel free to join us in our Facebook group for daily support and guidance.
We have a Resilience community on Facebook! Mental health support, Tips, Strategies, Guidance and Education, all to help you strengthen your Resilience.