5 steps to resiliency

wpid-2014-12-26-18-55-285 ways to boost your resilience for life changing results. Not only do resilient people handle stressful situations better, they are more successful athletes, they are more successful at behaviour change, like weight loss, and they are able to bounce back from adversity faster.   

Successful professional athletes are known for their resilience. Think about it. How would you perform at centre court at Wimbledon? It is estimated that 1 billion people worldwide watch. 

Stressful. You bet.  

What about pro cyclists? Or marathon runners or cross country skiing? Long distance, endurance sports with little financial reward that comes from hours of training, in poor weather, for little recognition.

Physically and mentally demanding efforts that may go unnoticed to the casual observer.

You can get the same benefits without all the stress of competing center stage by practicing these 5 ways to boost your resilience.

1.  Be positive.

That doesn’t mean you don’t acknowledge the negative, but resilient people see both sides. When they experience a negative event they can also see the positive at the same time. Resilient people see the silver lining, “this is bad, but at least it’s not as bad as it could be” This isn’t about ignoring negative emotions or events. It is acknowledging and responding with an a balanced emotional response. We naturally remember the negative. By learning to appreciate and notice the positive events whenever they happen you can flourish. We need a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative experiences in everyday life to thrive and enjoy life.  

How to practice positivity:

Take the positivity ratio.

Be grateful. Every day remember three things you are grateful for today.

Appreciate the beauty around you.

Help someone.

Tell someone one thing you appreciate about them.

2.  Learn daily.

Often we believe that we are the way we are. We set about proving ourselves, instead of improving ourselves. People who learn from mistakes, ask questions about what could be done differently and look at their choices are more resilient than ‘judgers’. Judging questions are centered around who is to blame and what went wrong. The more you learn from the challenges in life the more resilient you become, the better able you are to handle adversity and grow.

How to practice learning:

Ask questions about what you can learn from your current situation. How can you deal with a similar situation differently. Building your confidence in your ability to recover rather than blaming others or the situation promotes expansive acceptance and creates connections with others.

3.  Be kind:

Serotonin, associated with feelings of happiness, gets a boost when you perform acts of kindness. You can build up a bank of happiness to draw upon when times are tough. All those acts of kindness come back to you when you really need it. Keeping a gratitude journal helps build resiliency as well as thinking about how things might not have happened. Couples asked to imagine that they didn’t meet their partners rated their relationships as happier than those who thought it was “meant to be”. Remembering how things could have been instead is a strategic way to build resilience and happiness.  

How to practice kindness:

Keep a gratitude journal and write down 3 things you are grateful for daily.

Imagine if you didn’t meet your partner or chose another path, when you think of how things might have been otherwise you are practicing “strategic positive thinking” according to Dr Barbara Fredrickson PhD and happiness researcher.

4.  Practice healthy habits.

Being in good physical health promotes mental health. Eating well, sleeping and being active improves our resilience. Practicing mental fitness like meditation and mindfulness keeps stress levels low and improves our ability to cope with life’s daily challenges.  

How to practice healthy habits:

Have a regular bedtime and stick to it.

Eat whole, unprocessed foods.

Exercise regularly.

Get out in nature.

Meditate and practice mindfulness.  

5.  Laugh about it.

Laughter is medicine and being able to laugh it off improves resiliency.  

How to practice:

Watch funny movies and comedians.

Read a funny book.

See some humour in your situation, even “black humour” helps resiliency.

Want to know how resilient you are?

Take the quiz at  Resiliency Quiz . Resiliency isn’t fixed. You can build your resilience. Your can improve your abilities. You can also see the results even if you aren’t going to Wimbledon anytime soon.

Change your mind, change your health,


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