Develop Your Self-Awareness — The key to being able to develop your resilience, is to know where you’re starting. It’s hard to see how we’ve grown or assess where we’re going, if we don’t know where we are starting. You can start doing this by becoming more aware of how you are responding to situations in your life. Consider these questions to developing your self-awareness: How do you show up when you experience a stressor or a challenge? Do you sit in it and feel like you are at the affect of everything, or are you able to see the opportunities in the challenge? What is triggering those stress reactions and do you notice a pattern? This is a big first step and although can be uncomfortable, it’s like holding up a mirror for yourself to see how you are showing up and how that is serving you and what you want, or holding you back. This was a critical first step for me in developing my resilience to get really honest with myself of how I was handling tough situations and stress, and if that was getting me closer to or further away from my goals.
Give Yourself Grace & Compassion. I think in general, we are really hard on ourselves. We tend to beat ourselves up about what we do or don’t do, and how we handle situations. After you reflect on how you handled something or a tough challenge, usually the first thing we do is to put ourselves down. With my clients, sometimes they try so quickly to “fix” things and move past them, that they don’t acknowledge what they are all feeling and just use a “bandaid” approach, and yet those feelings are still festering under the surface. Try giving yourself some grace and compassion. Allow yourself to sit in the feelings for a little while from a place of compassion instead of self-judgment. Then, with your awareness and your compassion, you can ask yourself “now, what do I want to do with this?”
Practice Gratitude and Affirmations. I truly didn’t understand the power of gratitude and affirmations until the last few years in growing as a business owner. It’s a great tool in developing your resilience to be able to practice gratitude for what you have, what you’ve done, and all the things you appreciate. You are able to more quickly bounce back and see opportunity in a time of challenge, when you are grateful for what you have. I now start each day by writing out 5 things I am grateful for. Sometimes they are big things, sometimes they are small things. I challenge you to try this and see how it impacts the trajectory of your day.
- Affirmations are things you say to yourself. I encourage my clients to also incorporate these into their day because it helps set you up for how you CHOOSE to show up, instead of letting the day go by and reacting to challenges by default.
- Affirmations are things you say to yourself about yourself, about your abilities, about how you want to show up.
- Not only do they make you “feel good” they are also actually backed in science for helping your brain on what to focus on.
-I once attended a Tony Robbins event and I remember him saying “where focus goes, energy flows”. So many people focus on what they don’t want to have happen, instead of what they DO.
-Try starting your day with a few “I am..” statements
-“I am confident.” “I am capable.” “I am powerful.” “I am smart.”
Put Things Into Perspective. We often go right to “worst case scenario” and create these big stories in our heads. People who are really resilient are able to put things into perspective and see the bigger picture and realize things really aren’t as bad as they might seem at first, and that there is always a way to get through it. If you find yourself going down this path, a few questions I use with clients to help them are:
-What story are you telling yourself? How true is that really?
-What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best that could happen?
-If you are really stuck in the negative spiral, checking in and asking “What is the gift or opportunity here?”
Develop Your Mental Fitness. I love how in the question you reference resilience being like a muscle we can strengthen. That is exactly how I describe it to clients is that this is really developing our mental muscles to be able to handle life’s challenges with a positive rather than negative mindset. Just like with physical fitness, it takes time and practice. If you wanted to get faster in running, you wouldn’t just run once and expect to be faster. If we want to develop our resilience, we need to take action and develop new habits, each day. A few ways you can develop your mental fitness: Several times throughout the day, take a pause and draw your attention to one of your five senses for a few moments. Things like taking a few deep breaths and noticing the air going in and out, feeling your feet on the ground as you sit or walk, rubbing your finger tips together and noticing the ridges, listening attentively to the sounds around you. We so often run from meeting to meeting, or from task to task that we are often operating primarily from our left side of the brain, which is also called the rational or survival brain. To build our resilience, requires us to also be tapping more into the right side of our brain that allows us to see situations with more creativity, curiosity and clear-headed action. Doing these “mental reps” actually helps you activate that part of your brain. - Julie Menden