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  • Miriam Gilmore

5 Ways to Build your Resilience

Do you feel overwhelmed a lot of the time? Perhaps you find yourself getting emotional, or you take comments from other people to heart?

It is time to find your inner resilience and build your confidence.

build resilience with FIR Counselling

The Oxford dictionary defines resilience as: "the ability of people or things to recover quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc."

In your case the 'something unpleasant' could be stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma, or something else. Sometimes it is hard to fix the cause, therefore it is important we turn our focus on to how we remain strong in the adversity.

As a counsellor and psychotherapist I have put together a list of 5 things you can do today to build your resilience and find growth in times of struggle.

1. Reduce exposure to the cause of the unpleasant feelings

The first action on this list is the most obvious, and could be misconstrued as patronising. The suggestion to distance yourself from what is causing your difficulties is simple to write, however as we all know, it is never that easy.

What I am suggesting instead is to consider what is causing your unpleasant feelings and focus on reducing it.

For example, if you are experiencing body insecurity, perhaps you should reduce the amount of time you spend looking at people of social media that share unachievable (most likely edited) photos of themselves.

If your job is causing you anxiety, could you go and speak to your manager and ask them if your workload could be distributed differently?

Sometimes you just need to act on the most obvious instinct and it takes reading it in a blog post to prompt you to make a change.

2. Practice reflection

The likelihood is you are between a rock and a hard place, therefore making a change to the situation is not an option. However what we can do is take time out of each day to practice reflection.

What I mean by this is, spend a little time each day considering what led to your unpleasant feelings. This could be done in your head in the car on your drive home, by journaling when you get into bed each night, or try talking to your friend, family member or partner over dinner each night.

By verbally or mentally considering what is causing you unpleasant feelings, you are directing your focus on the context rather than your emotional response.

Reflection is one of the most powerful things we can do to bring our minds into the present.

Consider a reflection like this at the end of a difficult day:

"Today had it's ups and downs. I think I focused more on the things that went wrong because I didn't sleep well last night and therefore I was feeling drained. My mother called me at lunchtime, which disrupted my peace. I felt obliged to answer it. Although she meant well with her call, it led me to think about how I feel I might be letting her down. I notice the feelings that came up, and recognise this as an insecurity of mine but now on reflection I can see that I am trying the best I can and my mother's opinion is less important than how I feel at the end of the day."

3. Tap into your inner child

Have you ever noticed that children do not care who hears them scream when they are hungry or tired?

Now, I am not asking you to start screaming at the end of a long day when all you want to do is climb into bed. What I am suggesting is that you ask for what you need.

When a child screams it is because they are not getting their needs met. They scream because they do not have the vocabulary or ability to verbalise what they are feeling or needing. However, you do!

When you reflect (as suggested above), try to tap into what needs of yours are being ignored or put to one side.

For example, the reflection example from my previous point might highlight a number of needs that are going unnoticed.

  • they didn't sleep well

Therefore prioritising an early night might be beneficial.

  • their mother disrupted their lunch

Perhaps they should consider not answering phone calls when they are eating and instead taking this time for themselves.

  • their inner child is asking for reassurance from their mother (this is expressed by the reflection of their insecurity)

Could this reassurance be gained from someone else, maybe a partner or friend? We're hardwired to want our parents approval, however as we grow into adults other people can meet our basic needs for emotional support, love or acceptance.

Focusing on our needs might sound selfish, and in some ways it is. However, it helps grow resilience because we are tending to our basic instinct to put ourselves first. This ultimately means we are ensuring we are best equip to take-on other people's needs, or problems.

4. Reframe your unpleasant feelings

This is another suggestion that may come across as patronising, however there is science behind it.

Our body responds to anxiety in a similar way as it does to excitement. Studies have shown that participants that told themselves they were excited instead of nervous before a stressful event (like public speaking), found that their nerves reduced and they performed much better than they thought they would.

If you are experiencing anxiety related to something specific, perhaps try reframing your emotions in order to build your resilience.

For example, "I'm excited to speak to my boss today. These feelings are not nerves but excitement for the positivity that may come from our conversation."

5. Consider starting therapy

My final suggestion for building resilience is to start working with a therapist.

Sometimes we need the support of someone else to grow through our difficulties. A therapist or counsellor will help you identify what changes you would like to make in your life, guide you through the process of reflection, recognise the needs of your inner child, and reframe your unpleasant feelings.

These are all things you could experience in a therapy session with me, Miriam at FIR Counselling & Psychotherapy.

Contact me today to book a free 20 minute initial conversation and start Finding your Inner Resilience.

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