Resilience Training Tips and Advice
If you are reading this blog as an employer, an individual or a Mental Health First Aider within your organisation. We are explaining the 5 core themes in a ‘Resilience Toolkit’ and will be introducing SMART goals as a resource that you can use yourself or share with your colleagues.
Everyone has different levels of resilience in different situations and the same type of situation can effect people differently, at different times depending on the stresses placed upon them. Having the tools to stay resilient in uncertain times is extremely important for our mental wellbeing. A good way to sure up our resilience skills while socially isolating, working from home or just changing our routine in an uncertain climate is to practice the elements of your resilience toolkit. This blog helps explain what resilience means and the aspects of creating better resilience for yourself. Its part of a wider range of courses we have developed for Mental Health First Aiders.There are some practical tips here you can start out with which will help manage your situation.
Tip: A simple way to help yourself is to write a list of 10 things that you really like and make you happy. It can be anything, from coffee, a smile from a loved one, ah holiday, a special time in your life or something your pet does, just write down these things and add to the list when something else pops into your head. Keep that list handy so you can refer back to it when you are starting to feel unhappy. That will help interrupt a negative cycle of thoughts and you start to realign your thoughts into something that makes you happy.
Now lets dig a little deeper and look at the core elements of resilience in people and some simple techniques to help people re-centre and build up resilience.
There are 5 main tools that are essential to the Resilience Tool Kit:
Self Image – Having a positive self image or self worth is an essential element of resilience. If a person has low self esteem or is experiencing a period of low self worth, they can feel they deserve the misfortune they may encounter. People with positive self image believe they are just as worthy of experiencing pleasurable things in life as anyone.
Tip: As with the list of things that make you happy (suggested above). Now list the things you like about yourself or things you do well. Again, its anything. So it can be something you do at work, sport, cooking, being healthy or looking good! Again, add to this list when something pops into your head. We all need a reminder of what we’re good at and this will help re-enforce that.
Personal Responsibility – People who have resilience don’t automatically blame themselves when bad events occur. Instead, they take an honest look at the other people, or the circumstances, as the possible cause. However, Personal Responsibility for their own lives is an important trait to the resilient person. If something bad happens due to a mistake or misjudgment, the resilient person can hold their hands up and take responsibility. Then learn what they can and move on without dwelling on the mistake.
Tip: We are all pre-programmed to avert from danger or risk. Our brains can be a bit grumpy like that and so a pattern of thinking can occur when something goes wrong that stops you from trying again. Just try to distance yourself from what went wrong and look at the situation from afar and note down what you would do differently or what you could do to fix it. That’s the starting point for your planning and you can start to form some goals, which is a really positive way to move towards a solution and solve that problem.
Positive Expectation – The way we perceive setbacks is crucial. When people are being optimistic they see the effects of bad events as temporary rather than permanent. For instance, they might say “My boss didn’t like the work I did on that project” rather than “My boss never likes my work.” Over time, resilient, optimistic people develop a default attitude that says “ Don’t worry, everything will work out fine”. This is a much healthier and helpful position to take than any negative, pessimistic thoughts.
Tip: So if that scenario at work occurs, it can be really difficult when a situation to deal with. And sometimes our ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ thinking can kick-in. We’re all emotional beings and this stuff can really hurt. So let those emotions out but in a positive way. Go for a run, exercise, cook, treat yourself to a glass of wine (but don’t drink the whole bottle!) Doing something positive to take you out of that negative situation.
Crucially, talking through the issue with someone is really helpful for your brain to process the event and manage the stress. A good friend or a loved one can offer comfort. Remember its fine to cry. That’s the human body’s natural way to release your emotions (but you might not want to cry in front of colleagues or the boss), so be safe in the knowledge if something goes wrong you have a method to deal with it. But also, once you have dealt with the issue, you can talk to the boss/person/colleague about the situation that made you unhappy and ask them more detail about what they weren’t happy with. This will give you positive steps to move things forward. And from experience, a lot of the time it help the other person see things from you point of view and you there’s and the initial issue doesn’t seem to be as big as it was in the first place.
Goal Setting – Resilient people have solid goals, and a desire to achieve those goals.
Being motivated to achieve goals gives a positive future focus that a person can look forward to achieving. Focusing on a goal provides people with a reason to be resilient, as dealing with setbacks and bumps in the road is necessary to achieving that goal. Solid goals will ensure a person sees these setbacks as worth dealing with to achieve their goal.
Tip: Use our SMART goal poster to write down some goals for the day/week/month or year. That’s the start of your planning.
State Management – Referring to your state of mind. State management is an incredibly useful tool to develop. This is simply learning to recognise what state of mind you are in, then deciding if this state is the most useful or appropriate state to be in. Then changing your state of mind will make an enormous difference in how you deal with situations.
Tip: You can always use your list of things that make you happy or things that your good out to help take you out of your current thinking. Mindfulness is also a useful tool, if you can take yourself physically into a new situation or concentrate on your breathing you can typically change your mood and reset ready for challenge facing you.
How we process adversity and stress strongly affects our mental health and wellbeing. That’s why it’s so important to work on our resilience “tools”. Life can be extremely challenging at times so having a resilient mindset gives us the power to overcome those setbacks and misfortunes that my come our way.