Life Coaching Blog

Why resilience is such a buzzword, and how to build it…

Unprecedented times call for unexpected buzzwords. Pandemic, lockdown, meta, vax, WFH, NFT, a flurry of terms that seem urgent, severe and complicated. These terms, whether relating to Covid-19, economics, real life, or virtual, connect with one another through a less popular, though potentially more significant buzzword… Resilience. 

Resilience, the ability to withstand or adjust to challenges, to have grit, toughness, flexibility, optimism and persistence. It is easy to see why, among all of the techy jargon and covid keywords, a concept like resilience is so popular. 

For a lot of us, becoming a more resilient person can be a highly valuable personality trait. Flexibility, adaptability and positivity can improve our experience of difficult situations and may also help us to appreciate the good times. So as you work on becoming a resilience pro, here are some things you should remember. 


Ditch the toxic positivity

First, go easy on yourself. Being resilient isn’t about absorbing and suppressing stress and other difficult emotions, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Positivity is great, but in excess it can become toxic, masking your feelings and invalidating them. Letting yourself experience emotions is a key step in moving on from them and improving a situation, or at least adapting to one. 


When life gives you lemons…

There’s an age old saying, “you can’t always control what happens, but you can control how you react to it”. Not familiar? Maybe you recognise the one about life, lemons and lemonade instead? Overused, yes but still a timely reminder given all the lemons over the last few years, that instead of bemoaning the ‘could haves’ and ‘would haves’, look and focus instead on what you can control. There’s no pressure or hurry to be the best, most successful version of yourself straight after a pandemic, a job loss, a break up or a stressful life event, but you can make small changes in your day to day life to improve your response to these adverse situations. 

Small things like long walks, conversations with friends and loved ones, new hobbies, creative pursuits or even journaling may seem insignificant in the broader picture, but they add up. The sum of these ‘self-care’ activities is a more whole, fulfilling daily practice that can change your mood and perspective. When we take care of ourselves and engage in activities that are beneficial to all facets of our personal health, we may find that these major, often unexpected, misadventures carry less of a toll. 


Step outside of your comfort zone

Almost as cliché as the whole ‘when life gives you lemons’ mantra, the concept of stepping outside of your comfort zone has the essence of a corporate success poster or a weird chapter from 80s motivational psychology. But it truly does have real world psychological applications and here’s why… When we dwell for too long in a constant routine of minimal stress and risk, we become ‘closed off’ to opportunities. This regular avoidance of smaller, day to day stress, challenge or uncertainty can put you in a state of autopilot, but in the context of resilience, this just won’t cut it when issues arise. 

Push yourself each day to do one simple thing that you would consider beyond your comfort zone. It might be speaking up in a meeting at work, trying a new skill, or being more open and vulnerable in personal situations. These minor shifts outside of your normal, neutral state of being will prime your thoughts and emotions to respond effectively to more intense life stressors. Through challenging yourself on a small scale, you will experience major personal development. Not only will you become a better problem solver and goal achiever, you will also find resilience when those unplanned life events do occur.

If you are truly wanting to make a difference to your life by becoming a more resilient person, these are just some of the daily actions that you can incorporate into your life. Remember, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to respond perfectly every time something goes awry, it’s normal to react intensely and with pessimism. Step by step you can learn to accept these emotions, while developing tools to become more resilient over time, and finally, after all of the hard work, you may finally see what the buzz is about!