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Five Tools for Creating the Habits of Resilience

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I won’t tell you that I don’t get worried about our economy, my business, my family and my community these days.  I do.  I’m hearing people talking about waiting for energy prices, the economy and other world events to come around and to hunker down today and wait it out until those events turn around.  Time alone doesn’t fix anything, it inevitably makes it worse.  Instead of hunkering down, I’m taking action to be innovative and take control of my own situation and in doing so I’m also finding the need to develop resiliency skills (and practice them) to keep me from diving into the negative news that seems to fill the media each day. Psychology Today describes Resilience as:

Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on.

Resilience isn’t just choosing a state of mind to bounce back of from life changing situations and stressful moments.  It comes from having the tools that help you move through the emotions of setbacks and stressful moments and news to process what’s happening and practicing those tools until they become resiliency habits.  Resilient people are leaders others look to in tough times.  When you’re working through your stuff and keeping healthy both physically and mentally, you become an inspiration others look to for guidance on how they can develop their own resilience habits.

Here are five tools to help you build resilience to get back up and share with others to help them get back up too:

Empathy:  Reach out and talk to someone you trust and share your feelings, concerns, worries and tough stories of setback, disappointment, loss or failure.  When life gets difficult, it can be tempting to isolate and tough it out alone, yet the path forward to coming back stronger starts with sharing your struggles with someone you trust.

Goals: Create realistic new goals and take regular action to move toward your goals. When you feel like your goal is too big, break it down into the next smallest step you could take.  Just like running a marathon, when you can’t go any farther, look for ways to motivate yourself to take just one more small step.

Breathe:  Mindfulness is about being present in the moment.  Taking a few breaths following this box breathing technique (There’s even an App for that! http://boxbreathing.org)

Journal: Write about your deepest thoughts and feelings related to the struggle, worries or stressful events in your life.  Move beyond the facts and write about the emotions that you’re rumbling with.  This one can be a hard one if you’re not used to writing about yourself, like it is for me and I can tell you first hand that when I do engage in journalling, it has proved invaluable in moving me out of struggle.

Gratitude:  At the end of each day, write 5 things you are grateful for.  Do this over a period of 21 days and notice your perspective and outlook when new challenges come your way.

Bonus:

Avoid Comparison: When you’re struggling, avoid comparing your struggles with the struggles with others.  We each have struggle and your struggle is no harder or easier than those around you, its struggle and its hard for you.  When you compare your struggle and rank it as lower than the struggle of someone else, you lose a little compassion for yourself.  Instead take care to recognize that every struggle is unique and cannot be compared.

UncategorizedJenn Lofgren