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Building your resilience – tips for times of stress

By David White - 25th August 2013  |  Career Management , Individuals

Flower blooming under snowMany things come to mind when we hear the word resilience; character, inner strength, never giving up are all such wonderful qualities, but how often do we pay tribute to the importance it plays in our daily lives as our patience, temperament, and values are constantly being tested.

What ensures that the aforementioned stays intact when it hits the fan is our resilience; the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity; The ability to get up and say “is that the best you’ve got?!”

More often than not, a person’s ability to be resilient can define whether they succeed in what they set out to do, and of course is directly applicable to how you approach a highly competitive job market. Persistence is the key to finding a job, but the more rejection you experience, the more difficult it can be to persist.


How to improve your resilience

This is where resilience comes in. But how do we improve our resilience? Like anything in life it takes practice. Think of resilience as a muscle. If you want it to grow you need to train it regularly. Increasing your resilience is no different. There are several ways that this can be done but today I’ll be focusing on just a small handful; the most important being the power of positive thinking.

Positive thinking seems like such a simple choice but depending on your circumstances it can be difficult to achieve. The more you keep telling yourself you can’t do something the harder it tends to become to achieve that goal. Why? Because you start to believe it. So why can’t you reverse this effect? Keep telling yourself you CAN do it, and eventually (with realistic goals), things should fall into place.

Other things to consider when trying to boost your resilience are:

  • Social support – spend time with people that care about you
  • Physical exercise – don’t ignore this: exercising is scientifically proven to reduce stress
  • Nutrition – eat properly and try to drink a bit less coffee
  • Professional help (GP etc) – if you feel the stress is getting too much, get professional help: you can ask your GP for a referral.

How I personally deal with negative situations is to embrace them. If my life was completely smooth sailing I would never have developed into the person I am today. There’s no real substitute for learning from the experiences life throws at you. Negative situations, depending on how you deal with them will help you to build character, teach you how to handle certain situations in the future, and will make you both stronger and wiser. So next time life throw’s a spanner in the works, take a deep breath and try to reflect on what you could potentially achieve by getting through it. Chances are you’ll be a better person for it.

On a final note, I’d like to leave you with a quote to ponder over. It deepened my understanding of the word resilience and I hope it does the same for you.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

Matt Appassamy
Senior Career Transition Coach


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