Mind coach Alison Blackler, founder of Wirral-based 2minds, explains why resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic is so important and what you can do to build it
We are into our third COVID-19 lockdown and now, more than ever, we are having to dig deep, manage our emotions, keep motivated and rely on our resilience. This comes in three forms - physical, mental and emotional.
Resilience refers to our ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises. More resilient people are able to ‘roll with the punches’ and adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties. Less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor.
Resilience is important for several reasons: it enables us to develop mechanisms for protection against experiences which could be overwhelming, it helps us to maintain balance in our lives during difficult or stressful periods and can also protect us from the development of some mental health difficulties and issues.
How do you collect yourself after a stressful event?
Emotional resilience is not about winning the battle. It is the strength to power through the storm and still keep the sail steady. It means bouncing back from a stressful encounter and not letting it affect our internal motivation.
Another way to describe it is when you are able to settle your busy, frantic mind after encountering a negative experience. It is intrinsic motivation, an inner force by which we can hold ourselves through all the downsides of life.
When we are resilient, we not only adapt ourselves to stress and disappointments, we also grow the insight to avoid actions that might lead us to face such situations.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”… Former South African president Nelson Mandela
Stress Management and Emotional Resilience
Coping with stress, or better to say, effectively coping with stress contributes directly towards building resilience. The whole idea of being emotionally resilient revolves around how well we are able to handle stress and get back on the track.
Getting tied down with the daily stressors of life can be a big reason that we lose our emotional resilience. We become more sensitive, over-reactive, and emotionally unbalanced. Even a little change of plans can leave us in a state of anxiety and panic.
“Resilience is a muscle. Flex it enough and it will take less effort to get over the emotional punches each time.”… singer Pink
Five ways you can build more resilience:
1 Self-Awareness: This is the ability to tune into our own feelings, internal conflicts, and perception of the world. Through self-awareness, we gain a deeper understanding of how feelings contribute to our actions. Rather than looking for help outside, or blaming the world for our miseries, self-awareness gives us the courage to look for answers within ourselves. By making us more attuned to our inner world, building self-awareness helps us in becoming more capable.
2 Persistence: This is our ability to stick with some. This sounds so obvious although it is vital to have something that we are achieving with or in. If we do not feel that we are committed to something then our focus drops, our inner motivation is reduced, and we miss an opportunity to build resilience.
3 Emotional Control: This is our ability to self-control or redirect feelings. People who are good at this are less likely to be overwhelmed by stress or let it affect their lives. They think before taking the leap and avoid jumping to conclusions.
4 Flexible Thinking: This is a powerful social skill that incorporates optimism, adjustability, rationality, and positive thinking. A person who has these skills are more likely to be emotionally resilient and well-balanced in life.
5 Interpersonal Relationships: Having good personal relationships is both a by-product and a requisite for emotional resilience. If we have the power to build strong interpersonal bonds at the professional or the personal level, we have already taken one step forward for a resilient life.