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Building resilience

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Resilience is when you can adapt and ‘bounce back’ from difficult times and recover and move on.

Here are 7 ‘skills’ that can help you to cope better and be more resilient.¹

1. Give yourself thinking time

Stop and think through what’s happening. Don’t act on impulse. Consider your options and consequences and take time to choose what is best.

2. Empathy

Empathy is understanding what it is like being in someone else’s shoes.

Think about how the other person feels and try and understand why they are behaving as they are. Empathy is an important part of strong relationships.

3. Believing in your ability

Believing that we can face things, deal with them and come through the other side can be a powerful feeling when things get tough.

4. Staying hopeful (optimistic)

Being optimistic doesn’t mean being blind to reality or pretending things are different from how they really are. It means looking for how to get the best out of the situation and finding a way to be positive and hopeful.

5. Reaching out

Reaching out has two parts. First it means being brave enough to go take a chance or go for an opportunity that arises without being afraid of failing.

It is also about being willing to ask for help. Some people see asking for help as a weakness. It is a strength acknowledging that we all need support at times and that it's ok to ask for help. 

6. Recognising your feelings

Being aware of your feelings is really important, because strong feelings can overwhelm us and affect how we behave.

Anxiety or sadness can make you feel powerless, hurt and resentment can make you feel angry and even violent.

Once you name the feeling, you have more chance of controlling it.

7. Analysing the cause of problems

This means taking some time to accurately get to the bottom of what is causing a problem.

It makes it easier to find a solution, accept things we can’t change and avoid feeling at fault for things we can’t change.

Read more:

These ideas are from a resilience workbook called Bouncing Back. If you want to find out more about resilience you can see the workbook here: http://www.northerntrust.hscni.net/pdf/Bouncing_Back_workbook_Building_Skills_that_strengthen_resilience.pdf

¹ Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte (2002) The Resilience Factor, Broadway Books.

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