3 more ways to build resilience

3 more ways to build resilience

In an earlier article I described 3 ways to build personal resilience, namely take care of yourself, learn from your past, and avoid getting stuck by making an action plan.

It seems to me that resilience is a constant challenge for many of us, and given the pace of change taking place around us these days, it is hardly surprising that we struggle to keep our “bouncing back” capability. Then when a sudden unexpected drama or trauma strikes us, our reserves of resilience are strongly tested.


I recently delivered a short talk on managing resilience to a group of HR professionals, arranged by an Oxfordshire based Employment Lawyer Jill Kelly, and we discussed a number of personal strategies for developing resilience. Here are 3 further ideas which are generally regarded as useful:
  1. Learn to be optimistic
  2. Accept change
  3. Set and achieve goals

Being optimistic

Studies of people’s reactions to the traumas of life, carried out by psychologists, reveal some interesting and useful insights. Positive emotions seem to be key to building resilience in individuals. Being realistically optimistic about your situation can give you hope. It may help to try looking beyond the present and consider whether the future may be a little better. Pessimistic people appear to be less resilient that Optimistic types. Pessimistic negative thinking can be changed into optimistic positive thinking….. and the emotions will flow from the thoughts. The good news for Pessimists therefore is that Optimism can be learned. There is HOPE for pessimistic thinkers. Look out for future articles on how to learn to be optimistic.

Accepting change

Change is an unavoidable and vital part of life. It seems to be a constant for most of us, and much of it is outside ourselves and beyond our control. Certainly there is nothing useful to be gained from pushing back or ignoring inevitable change. Accepting change and adjusting to it can help you put your energy into the things you can control. Indeed our ability to respond to changes often can make the difference between survival and extinction. Accepting change as a natural part of life will help us to focus our attention on ways to positively respond, adapt and innovate thereby turning change into new opportunities for growth.

Setting and achieving goals

Learning to set realistic goals for yourself and taking steps to achieve them can help you manage stress and give you hope for the future. Achieving even the smallest goals can have a significant impact on your life. There can also be great satisfaction to be gained simply from ticking off a completed task on a “to do” list!! Looking ahead, making plans and setting realistic and achievable goals will put you back in the driving seat, feeling confident, focused and in control. This is a good habit to adopt during stressful and uncertain times, and will certainly help build and maintain your resilience.

© Barbara Capstick

Summer 2015.