Building Resilience, Made Simple

Can Building Resilience Really Be Simple?

Building resilience can seem as though it’s something very complicated. There’s so much out there that seems to say different things – it ends up being difficult for people to navigate.

Whether wading through conflicting lists of ‘how to manage stress’, or ignoring the stress stuff in favour of being tough, it’s easy to get lost in it all!

Professionals are wading through just as much as any of us. Health clinicians must follow clinical evidence, and that is informed by clinical psychologists. Coaches and therapists look wider afield and take into account practices such as yoga or mindfulness, the power of our belief systems and applied psychologies such as NLP, and we search in leadership and performance literature from the likes of Harvard and other business schools.

Sports psychologists take it all in, but hone it for their guy in their sport, and we end up with a team of people supporting one individual to be our hero. We all love Andy Murray, bite our nails when he seems to lose focus in any of his matches, but shout and jump when he comes back and wins. We all want to be heroes like that, but we don’t have a team behind us oiling our resilience machine to get us to perform. Instead we’ve got the internet, our doctors and some friends and family to advise us. And ourselves. 

Building your resilience without a professional or a team behind you may seem daunting.

However, the Resilience Dynamic’s research shows that at its core it’s actually very simple. Resilience is simply your capacity to adapt to change.

The Hidden Truth: How Resilient We Already Are

If we are coping, we are resilient. If we have higher resilience we can bounce back from challenges and adversity. The Resilience Dynamic’s research has proven that with high resilience we won’t even need to bounce back from challenges because we are able to identify them and deal with them early.

Those with the highest resilience don’t really suffer from stress. Stress naturally exists for them, but their internal responses are not driven by stress.

The point is: most of us already know some of the conditions for what makes us resilient. And we can build on this to get to this stress-free zone.

The conditions for each person’s resilience are unique. It’s a particular blend of aspects to do with inner attitudes and beliefs, individual purpose, and Adaptive Capacity.

Building Resilience Made Simple: Resilience Is Dynamic

A key aspect of resilience to recognise is that it goes up, and goes down. It’s dynamic. Even for those who are at the highest levels of resilience! 

You can be the highest performing leader in your organisation, but if your capacity is low because you are having to deal with multiple tough assignments, your resilience will go down for that period. It’s not that you can’t respond resiliently in many and perhaps all work circumstances, but you can’t sustain that level of response in every moment of every day. Over time, if you continue to outrun your own resilience resources, you will run dry and risk your wellbeing as well as your performance.

So What’s The Key To Building Resilience?

With an understanding that resilience naturally varies, you can start to figure out the conditions you need to support your resilience and wellbeing and create the environment to implement them more in your day-to-day. 

Building your resilience could look like;

  • Giving yourself a one minute breathing exercise, and doing that every day. 
  • Getting a hug from your loved ones, and doing that every day.
  • Saying ‘no’ to 100 things and saying ‘yes’ to the one most important for you, and doing that every week. 
  • Connecting with your purpose, and doing that every day.
  • Minimising what you need to cope with and maximising the fun to counter-balance it, and doing that every week. 

One caveat in this is where our coping mechanisms break down. If you are reading this and thinking “yes, all very well but I can’t do that”, then stop and seek some support. Not coping is a very tough and health-reducing place to be; there is much help out there from very highly qualified people. The most qualified to help you might be your loved ones since they know you. It’s good to ask for help and indeed is one of the core inner attributes of people with the highest levels of resilience. 

Asking for help is important in building resilience; no one can take on the world solo.

The Bottom Line Of Building Resilience

Resilience is our ability to successfully adapt to change. Change is upon us constantly, and it is ever more demanding and increasing. Let’s connect with our own personal resilience and honour it by giving it a chance to be available to us daily.

If we notice our resilience more, we can stabilise it.  And that already will increase our resilience.

Next Steps

  • Check in with your resilience using our simple
    Resilience River© method. Watch this video to
    discover how:
  • Try out our free Resilience Dynamic® Indicator (RDI) self-assessment. If you have done it before, retake it to see if you are making a difference.

Author: Jenny Campbell Founder and CEO of the Resilience Dynamic

Follow Jenny on LinkedIn for more of her thoughts, resilience research, and ideas.

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