The habits and skills of resilience can be acquired at any point in your life. All you need is the intention, and practice combined with self-awareness. When you are aware of how you think, feel and act, you have started on a path that will help you adapt and flourish.
Building personal resilience focuses on five ‘building blocks’ each with a subset of personal characteristics:
A Resilience attitude:
- Life as a learning process
- Optimistic outlook
- A proactive mindset
- A positive self-image
- Self-awareness of one’s emotions
- Emotional control, particularly for strong emotions
- Tolerance for uncertainty, the ability to ‘wait and see’
- Grit; perseverance, in the case of setback or rejection.
- Supportive relationships
- Confidence to approach others
- Communication skills
- Willingness to cooperate with others.
- A proactive attitude
- Stress management skills
- The ability to set goals
If you want to build the skills of resilience, it helps to understand that you almost certainly already have much of what you need. What’s more, you may find that you are naturally more resilient in some areas than others. Start by identifying your strengths, and then working to strengthen the areas where you feel less able or confident.
Having identified the areas you can work on to build your resilience, focus on one at a time. We suggest exercises to help you understand and foster each of them.
We recommend that, as soon as you’ve understood what resilience is about, and got the gist of these exercises, you begin to train yourself by trying out some of the ideas. To help you, here are some simple guidelines:
Make it regular
Practice the habits daily so that you start gradually to build them into your way of thinking and behaving. Resilience is a set of personal qualities; it is not something you DO, as much as something you ARE. You’ll become more resilient by doing the exercises over time. The more you remember to practice the easier it will be to adopt what are called the ‘habits of resilience’.
Keep at it, daily. It’s no good simply ‘intending’ to think and act like this. Developing the skills of resilience must become a habit with you. Should you neglect these ideas for several days and then attempt to catch up suddenly when you are having a bad day, it is you’ll find that your progress towards becoming more resilient will be slower.
The habits of resilience will shape how you respond and react as you go about your daily life. ‘Little and often’ is the message here. Be steady and reliable and you’ll train yourself into the habits of resilience.