Boost your resilience with these 4 tips

Resilience helps you to cope better under stress. We could all use a bit more of that then.

Resilience is our psychological immune system that protects us from the fear of failure. Here is a quick quiz to see if your resilience could do with a polish. The skills of resilience help us to do better than expected in difficult situations. Resilience builds your survivor skills, such as flexibility, not taking things personally and looking at things in more helpful and realistic ways. It protects you from feeling helpless or sinking into despair. And with practice this builds a deep and genuine self-confidence and a sense of control over what happens in your life.

When we feel low, our brains are expert at reminding us of bad experiences. This is a survival mechanism which teaches us to stay away from danger. But it can put us on the look-out for threats, making us feel the world is more dangerous than it really is. So no wonder we feel anxious, frightened and even depressed. This useful app gives practice at directing attention away from threat. The result is greater self-esteem and resilience, so we can look at things in a more realistic and balanced way, even in hard times. Research supports these results.

Psych Me Up! is free app, underpinned by psychological research into worry and anxiety. It takes about a minute a game. It helps to reduce the urge to be l

There are lots of online resources to help you strengthen your resilience. You can find some on my Self Help page. Developing the skills of resilience allows us to override the instinctive fearful state that we get into in hard times.  If you are facing problems now, then working on your resilience will help you through. And if things are fine, then developing the skills now will help you cope even more effectively when the going gets tough.

Here are some simple tips as you embark on boosting your resilience. Practising some or all of them every day is a kind of resilience gym. Building up mental muscles, so you will have greater mental strength to draw on when you need it the most. This is not about pretending to be happy, but accepting that that life can be hard; not forcing yourself to always think positive, but to take action to help you cope better.

  1. Give your emotion a name. I am sad now. I am anxious now. I am worried about … Just naming your feelings gives you a little bit of distance from them. It shifts the brain into a state where it can recover more quickly. Does this really work? There is lots of evidence that it does but you might wonder if this is not a bit too simple. But since it is the thoughts that are upsetting and thoughts are words, a different string of words is maybe not such a strange idea.
  2. Breathing techniques help. Often when we get upset our breathing becomes rapid and shallow. Try this: Breathe in for a count of 5, hold it for a count of 3, and breathe out as slowly as you can. This allows you to catch your breath so it doesn’t run away with itself. But it also changes the balance of hormones in your blood stream. You get more of the calming hormones and they push out the hormones that make you feel anxious.
  3. Give yourself praise and encouragement. If we only feel good when someone else reassures us and expresses appreciation, then we are putting our wellbeing in the hands of someone whose own moods go up and down even if they do generally wish us well. Reward yourself with congratulations and encouragement. Make a list in your diary every day of 3 things that went well enough.
  4. Get any sleep problems sorted. A good night’s sleep will make all the difference. As adults we sometimes forget that sleeping well was something our parents taught us. We were woken at the same time in the morning and we had a routine for bedtime. We still need this as adults! Our body clocks are very sensitive and easily disrupted and confused. So if your sleep is not good enough, going back to basics can be a real help. Read my blog. And try my sleep app.

And if you want some expert help, get in touch with me.

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