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Ten tips to build personal resilience

20th March 2017 | Beverly Landais

"Keep calm and build resilience" reads the poster advertising the community events in a village near to where I live in Kent. I see a range of activities that aim to bring together the residents regardless of age or gender. There are exhibitions, demonstrations, fun activities and a social element that encourages people to meet up and get involved. The tagline proudly states “building community resilience”. Bravo!

Reflecting on this display of community spirit, it occurs to me that building personal resilience requires a similar set of approaches. Here are ten tips that will have a positive impact on your ability to deal with challenging situations:

It is good to talk. Build a network of like-minded people who will encourage and support you through good times and bad. Being isolated during testing times distorts and magnifies a sense of fear and dread. A strong social and professional network is invaluable and will ground you.

Raise your pulse. Find time to exercise: play a sport, walk, dance, run up the stairs, cycle - or my own personal favourite - hula hoop! It doesn't matter what you do, just get moving. The effort will invigorate and energise you.

Mind your mindset. Our beliefs and attitudes shape our reaction to events. Watch out for negative self-talk. Foster a growth mindset by seeing the effort you make as the key to success. In the face of setbacks or mistakes, focus on what you are learning and how you might apply this in the future. This will enable you to thrive in the face of a challenge.

Get enough rest. Sleep is a wonderful restorative and can help you cope with the difficulties life puts in your path. Catnapping is a great way to refresh yourself too.

Practice mindful minutes. Just a couple of minutes spent in the deliberate practice of living in the moment can quiet the mind, improve your mood and bring clarity to your thoughts.  

Drink enough water. A simple yet effective way to keep your brain and body in tip-top condition. Don't wait until you are thirsty as this is a sure sign that you are already dehydrated. Keep a bottle of tap water by the side of your desk and sip throughout the day.

Tame your workload. Undertaking an audit of all the things you are involved in, then use the technique of ditch, do, delegate to bring it under control. Do this without passing judgment on what resource might or might not be available to support you. This way you will have a clear-eyed view of what is truly important and what is not. 

Keep breathing. Take a few minutes to breathe properly. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Enjoy the feeling of being composed through a focus on the breath. It is free and easy to apply!

Be grateful. Start your day reflecting on three things that make you feel positive and happy. Share the feeling by practising ‘random acts of kindness’. Make your first email, text or phone call an occasion to thank someone for their help, pass on a compliment or to notice their effort.

You are the CEO of your responses in any situation. Choose how you react and reflect on the difference a calm and measured approach has on your well-being and ability to cope.


20th March 2017 | Beverly Landais

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