How To Be More Resilient – By @anamal91

Anam Kibria

By Anam Kibria


How To Be More Resilient

I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop on ‘Resilience: Survive and Thrive’ today. I thought that resilience was just something that we would need as SCA students, since we have at least 100 ideas killed on a daily basis. But I realised that resilience is something that everybody can benefit from in their everyday lives. 

The definition of resilience is the ability to spring back into shape, to have elasticity. It is how we repair and recover after difficult situations in our lives. Whether its at work, or in our personal or social lives, there comes a time when we face situations that are not particularly pleasant. These could be things like presenting an idea to a client, sending a report to  your boss or motivating yourself to eat healthier. Sometimes you are forewarned and sometimes they strike with little notice.

Laura Bartlett taught me a few things you can do to help you be in control of the situation. 

1 Mindset

Having the right mindset makes the entire process a lot easier. The first and most important pillar of neuro-linguistic programming states that ‘There is no failure, only feedback.’ Everything is a learning opportunity. It is helpful to have a learning mindset when going into difficult opportunities.

2 Visualise it

Visualisation techniques are used by athletes all the time. They picture in their head the final outcome that they want to achieve (winning the race). They then picture the journey backwards from that final pedestal to the starting point (all the practice and training that they would go through). Similarly, create a scene of the final outcome that you want to achieve. Picture what you would wear, how you would feel, how would the people around you react. Make it very visual. And then go backwards step by step and create the journey that you would need to achieve it.

3 Step into it

This is a slightly different visualisation technique. Think of the mental state you need to be in to achieve your goal (e.g:. confident). Then think of a situation when you felt like that. Try and picture it as clearly as you can. Then, imagine that there is a pool of light in front of you that would turn you into a confident version of yourself when you step into it. I find that physically stepping into that little spot in front of you helps with the mental transformation process.

4 Body Language

During difficult situations, our body stance really affects the way we think. We might find ourselves slouching and shrinking into ourselves, legs crossed. Sitting confidently really helps to bring your mind into a confident state. Think back to a time when you felt confident. How were you sitting? How were you standing? Practice these stances till they come naturally to you. Did you know that speakers on Ted Talks undergo 250 hours of training with a mentor just to perfect these stances?

5 Breathing

We often hear people telling us “Take a deep breath and feel better.” This does not exactly help in stressful situations. When you take a big deep breath in and then exhale, you don’t manage to release all the excess carbon dioxide and that in turn hinders oxygen travelling to your brain which causes you to feel stressed. It is important to breathe correctly. Spend 6 seconds breathing in, 8 seconds breathing out. This gives you more oxygen, which helps you to feel calmer.

Oxygen is the petrol of the voice. If you don’t breathe, your voice doesn’t come out. That is how you end up with squeaky/croaky voices when you are stressed. Breathe!

6 Don’t beat yourself up!

This is important. After a difficult scenario, we all tend to walk out and start dissecting and analysing every little thing. This is very detrimental to our mental wellbeing. Instead, ask yourself what did you do well. And you must come up with at least one thing.

7 Sleep

Enough sleep is important for resilience. If you do not get enough sleep, you are not giving your body the chance to repair physically or mentally. 6-8 hours of sleep is made up of two parts: deep sleep and REM sleep. We usually 3-4 cycles of deep sleep during the first half of the night, this is when our body repairs our cells. The second half of the night is made up of many REM cycles, which is when our brain is going over our thoughts and categorising them. To fully recover your body, you need at least 2-3 cycles of deep sleep. Sadly, your body follows the circadian rhythm and not your timetable, so having a lie in doesn’t actually enable you to ‘catch up’ on sleep. The only way to catch up is to sleep earlier.

I hope these help you reach a more successful, resilient you. Good luck!

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