Finding your resilience assets

By Leann Jones.

2020 has tested our resilience in ways we could never have imagined. From the summer’s disastrous bushfires to the coronavirus pandemic, building and maintaining our resilience has never been more important.

Resilience gets talked about a lot, so it’s important to recognise what resilience actually is. Resilience is not so much about stress prevention, nor stress management, but rather is about our ability to effectively flex and adapt when we are faced with adversity or stressful circumstances.

Thankfully, resilience is a skill which we can develop and grow, just like any other capability. We can all build our resilience by understanding our own individual resilience assets and focusing on the four Rs: reframe, refocus, regulate and recuperate.

Reframe

Individual thoughts are underpinned by a variety of things: our values, beliefs, attitudes and mindsets, which we’ve developed over many years. Reframing helps us reconsider how we interpret or create meaning from a situation by shifting how we think about it.

The responses we have to situations relate both to the stimulus (or circumstances) and the way we think about them.

stimulus + thinking = response

Reframing allows us to clearly work through a solid and considered response by focussing on the “thinking”, rather than relying solely on our instinctive or ‘gut’ reaction. It encourages us to ask, ‘is there another way to look at this situation if I reframe my thinking?’

Refocus

Refocusing helps us avoid being derailed and serves to remind us that we need to find the space to stop, reflect and consider our response process. At times we may need help to break unhelpful patterns and using guard rails, or buffers, can help us stay on track. For example, getting up from the desk and heading out for a coffee when we’re not in our best headspace.

Of course, in the COVID context, many of these opportunities have been limited. Our homes have morphed into our offices and the buffers between home and work life become blurred, so we may need to find new ways to refocus.

Regulate

Being resilient does not mean we are fine all the time. Even the most resilient people feel stressed, hurt, scared or wounded at times. Resilience is about how we react and regulate our responses when we feel these emotions during challenging times.

Being mindful of when things are negatively affecting us and how our wellbeing may be impacted is critical. The ability to identify the signs that things are getting a bit much allows us to regulate our response proactively, before we reach a tipping point. This is crucial in ensuring we manage our responses before they manage us.

Recuperate

Bouncing back and bouncing forward! Resilience comes not only from thinking and proactively managing responses, but also taking time to recuperate and recharge in order to move forward, is fundamental to developing our resilience.

We need to find the space to be kind to ourselves in a way that works well for us individually. For some this may be taking the time to grab a cup of tea and sitting quietly for a while, whereas for others it might be going for a hard run. Understanding how we best recuperate during tough times allows us to recover, to reflect, and rebuild our resilience resources to keep getting up and going again.

Our Resilience and Recovery webinar will help you to shine a light on your thoughts, challenge you to consider your ingrained patterns and help you recognise in yourself what can be developed to bring your resilience growth to the fore.