Resilience – How to get through tough AND good times

It’s useful to have developed a range of tools and techniques we can use when the going gets tough.

The trick is to turn these tools and coping strategies into habits by doing them ALL the time, even when we’re going through good times. They then become automatic when we really need to use them.

Think about this, when does an athlete train for a race? Before the race or during the race? Before the race, obviously. Because they know when they’re under pressure and the time comes when they need to perform, they’re ready, they know what to do. So why learn strategies to build resilience, manage change and achieve goals ONLY when we’re going through a tough time? These strategies should be practiced at ALL times.

By the way, it’s important we develop healthy coping strategies as opposed to unhealthy ones. Unhealthy coping strategies would include binge eating, eating unhealthily, smoking, taking drugs, drinking alcohol and isolating ourselves. These behaviours don’t help our bodies and minds, certainly not in the long term.

So here are five coping strategies to help you through tough times and good. It’s not an extensive list, and if you’re having a really hard time you might need professional help. But they will at least get you started, they will certainly help, just pick one or two to work on.

1) DON’T TRY TO CONTROL THE UNCONTROLLABLES 

Some things we just can’t control, Eg a colleague’s personality or a procedure we have to follow at work. If you know it’s outside of your control do your best not to obsess over it, drop it, let it go. If you have to work on a contingency plan, that’s good, but otherwise forget it.

2) COMPARE YOURSELF ONLY TO… YOURSELF

Stay focussed on what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it. Often our biggest distraction is when we compare ourselves to others. We see somebody who’s famous being celebrated as a success, or we see someone on social media living a phenomenal life. We don’t see the issues and challenges they’re having. How do I know they’re having issues and challenges? Because we all are. Everyone is fighting some sort of battle. So focus more on what you need to learn and do to achieve your objective. Learn from others, even be inspired by others, but don’t compare yourself to them. Focus on you.

3) GET SUPPORT

We all know getting support from friends and loved ones is so important when dealing with a setback or tough situation. Surround yourself with confidants, people you can turn to for advice or just to use as a sounding board. The secret to forging great support is not to turn to them only when help is needed, instead nurture intimate conversations and mutual support when all is going well.

4) ENJOY ‘HELPFUL DISTRACTIONS’

Sometimes you just might need to back off for a while and find a diversion of some sort. This is not about running away from the challenge or putting it off but just giving yourself some breathing space to allow your brain to process the situation and find a solution.

Typical diversions could be gardening, going for a walk, watching a movie, being of service to someone in need, meditation, watching videos of kittens on YouTube, maybe even knitting.

Find something that works for you.

By the way, I’m not joking about knitting. It’s a repetitive task, it doesn’t consume your full attention and it can help new ideas surface. A little like taking a shower, when we relax and let go, ideas can ping in to our minds.

5) ALWAYS FOCUS ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE

Focus on what you’re doing well, focus on your colleague’s good attributes, focus on the brighter side of every situation. I’m not saying ignore the problems, issues and challenges, there’s always something that’s good about every situation.

So there’s your starter for five. Pick a couple of them and start using them now.

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