Stoking Resilience

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Every Tuesday is Just the Tip Tuesday.  Below is a resiliency guide: 12 tips for making the best of tough times. 

I need to pump up my resilience.  Until tonight, I wasn’t convinced I actually tore my Achilles heel over the weekend.  But after cutting off my splint and examining my ankle earlier tonight, there’s no denying it: a nymph named Paris totally shot me with an arrow.  Ankles aren’t supposed to look like that.

Resilience is defined as an ability to recover quickly from illness, depression, or adversity.  It is the process of adapting well in the face of difficult situations or significant sources of stress.

Resiliency is not something that you either have or you don’t.  Resiliency involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in any one of us.

12 Tips for Staying Resilient During Hard Times: 

Make connections.  Studies show that good relationships with close family members, friends, and others are most important in developing resiliency.  Our relationships are at the root of our well-being in good and bad times.

Develop a capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.      

Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems.  You have no control over the highly stressful events happen, but you do have control over how you interpret and respond to these events.  Try looking beyond the present to see how the future may be better.

Humor.  Try to make light of a serious situation.

The silver linings to my following in the steps (or should I say, mis-steps) of a Greek God:

-People buy me sympathy coffee/lunches;

-I get happy messages on my Starbucks cups (“Feel better”);

-My boss severed both his Achilles = we are bonding;

-Tearing your “Achilles” paves the way for some witty quips and repartee (although, until now, I think people have taken one look at me, and decided not to go there);

-In my Achilles-heel googling, I found out that Brad Pitt injured his Achilles while playing “Achilles” in Troy.  The incredible irony aside, if Brad hurt his Achilles, I’m okay with hurting my Achilles, too.

Accept that change is part of life.  Certain goals may not be attainable as a result of adverse situations.  Accepting that which cannot be changed can help you focus on that which can be changed.

Creativity.  Express yourself through artistic endeavor or another means of creativity.

Take baby steps towards your goals.  Do something regularly that enables you to move towards your goals.  Having an idea of where you’re going is important, in spite of your setbacks.  Put the question to yourself, “What is one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?

Take decisive actions.  Act on adverse situations as much as you can.  Bounce back from the painful experience stronger, smarter, and with more self-esteem.  Take decisive actions rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses you wish would go away.

Nurture a positive view of yourself.  Developing confidence in your problem-solving abilities and trusting your instincts are building blocks of resilience.

Keep things in perspective.  Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context.  Avoid blowing things out of proportion.

Maintain a hopeful outlook.  When not so resilient people face adversity, all of their emotions turn negative.  Resilient people let their feelings sit side by side.  I might be sad about not being able to walk for awhile, but it’s nice to have people bring me my coffee.  Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.  Try to see the ways in which you’ll grow from your challenging experience.

Take care of yourself.  Pay attention to your needs and feelings.  Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.  Exercise regularly.  Taking care of yourself primes your mind and body for being resilient.

Interested in learning about developing resiliency?  I consulted these sites to develop my list:

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/10-tips-for-developing-resilience/ 

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/resilience.htm

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