Ways to build resilience
By Andrew Embling, DCC practitioner
Firstly, let us agree what we are seeking to achieve and consider what resilience is.
“Resilience is the way we cope with stress and adversity in life. By learning new ways of thinking, behaving and interacting with others, we develop ways to cope even when life is tough.”
Put another way, resilience is building the ability to make choices when under pressure. Our primitive instincts are designed to protect us and can take over and make decisions for us, but this isn’t always helpful. Resilience gives us the awareness to notice this and the ability to choose how to act rather than a knee jerk reaction.
There are a number of ways we can build resilience and a few of these are discussed here:
At times of stress, the body focuses on increasing the blood supply, and therefore oxygen to our extremities which allow us to react to the situation – perhaps fight it or run away (flight). However, if we can optimise the blood, and therefore oxygen to the brain, this can help re-oxygenate the brain, enabling better decision-making.
Attributes for resilience
There are a number of components to resilience, these include:
- Sense of self
Let us explore what these may mean for you:
Self-care (caring for yourself)
Something you do just for you. It can be helpful to think about what recharges you and makes you feel refreshed or rested. One way of thinking about this is using your 5 senses and what brings you a smile and perhaps lifts you:
- What do you like to see or remember seeing?
- What do you enjoy hearing/listening to?
- What do you like to feel or touch or pet?
- What tastes do you enjoy?
- What smells do you enjoy?
Sense of self
It is important to know and remember who YOU were before you also became a carer. What are your likes and dislikes? What are your joys and passions? And then to find ways to connect with them.
Having an interaction or attachment with a person, place, animal, or item is very important. The immediate things we think of are pets, or a person who may be a big part of your life, but a phone can also be important to some as it is an integral way to interact with others and a source of engagement and entertainment.
Learning and developing skills and knowledge going forward gives a sense of purpose. This may be taking a course, reading about a topic or learning from everyday experiences and talking to others.
Feeling part of something such as a network, club, organisation, like-minded people, group of friends or colleagues can give a sense of wellbeing. These can provide a connection through a mutual interest and/or experience.