Aug 9, 2022 • 24M

218 Thoughts on Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, and it is a critical psychological skill to develop in life and work. Here are four ways to develop it.

 
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The Sunday Letters Podcast is the weekly audio newsletter from organisational psychologist Larry Maguire on the meaning & purpose of daily work and our oftentimes paradoxical relationship with it. We explore how human beings may break free from tiresome means-to-an-end labour and finally take command of their own working lives. Topics include solo working, careers, entrepreneurship, economics, society and culture. Content follows the written newsletter, which goes out to subscribers every Sunday.
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In last Sunday’s article, I wrote about four ways to build resilience and offered a step-by-step process for each tool. These tools work, however, if you find yourself in a difficult place, they may not always be as simple to apply as they may seem at face value. When life kicks us around, we may not always have the energy or ability to focus as we would ordinarily, and tools like these can be overwhelming. That’s where a professional can come in and become a facilitator for change. On a more practical note, I thought I would talk about resilience and offer a few more straightforward means of building resilience.

Check out these four practical ways to build resilience and listen to this week's episode where I flesh out these ideas a little bit more and discuss the mindsets that promote resilience and those that don’t.

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Practical Ways To Build Resilience

What resilience is in research terms is not always agreed upon. However, for practical purposes, we can refer to it as the human ability to bounce back from adversity. What contributes to any given person’s innate ability to bounce back from adversity is also not entirely agreed upon. Still, it is agreed that there are things we can do to build resilience within ourselves.

1. BUILD YOUR NETWORK

Prioritise your personal and friendly relationships. Find and hang out with people that have the same interests as you. This can be done in tight online communities, but it's better in person. Connect with people who understand you and can help you navigate difficult times. Fellowship helps support the growth of resilience.

In addition to close personal relationships, being active in community groups and religious or sporting organisations provide valuable social support. Visit your local community centre, charity or church and find out about where people with similar interests gather.

2. MIND YOUR MIND & BODY

Keeping your body fit and healthy is a legitimate practice for maintaining good mental health and building resilience. That’s because stress has both a physical and an emotional component. Anxiety and depression can be countered by the brain, a veritable chemical factory, prompted into production by physical activity.

Get centred by developing a meditation practice and finding a private space to be alone. You don't need to understand how it works, but it does. So practice journalling, meditating, or praying, instead of ruminating on negative aspects of life. Also, avoid drugs, alcohol and other stimulants. These things tend to exacerbate our negative states.

3. GIVE OF YOURSELF WITHOUT EXPECTATION

Find a local charitable organisation where you can volunteer. Give your time, even if it's only a couple of hours per week, to help people in difficult situations. Helping others in need builds a sense of purpose, self-worth, connection, and resilience.

What about the local school or even an elderly neighbour? How can you contribute and foster in yourself a sense of purpose and meaning by providing simple tasks to others like doing their shopping, cutting their grass or walking their dog?

4. ASK FOR HELP

Having the bravery to ask for help when you need it is a crucial component in building your resilience. For many of us working alone, using the kinds of strategies listed above may be enough to build resilience. But it's not unusual to get stuck or have difficulty making progress on the road to resilience. If that's you, there are resources that can help, so reach out.

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