We live in tough times. Reports abound of financial squeezes, major organisational change, retrenchments, crime, corruption and inefficient government. It’s easy to feel anxious and even fearful which inevitably affects our emotional and physical well-being. The negative impact of these feelings can extend to our relationships at work and even to those with our loved ones. Ultimately, our behaviour may develop into self-reinforcing negative spirals.


So what can you do to cope with these tough times, to deal with the stresses you will inevitably encounter and, critically, still live a life in which you still experience joy and happiness?


100410_renamed_31404A solution is to build your resilience in order to cope, and even thrive. Building resilience enables coping with the turbulence created by change, bouncing back from difficulty, and developing inner resources and a buffering capacity during good times which can be called on in tough times.


Specific tools and techniques can assist develop your resilience which are presented in this article as four steps. Using these steps will enable you to be resilient in times when you need it most to not only cope with tough times, but most importantly also live your life experiencing happiness and fulfilment.


The steps apply to dealing in the moment with a specific challenge such as when a taxi in front of you stops in the middle of a busy intersection to let off passengers or the bank calls to tell you that yet another of your applications for a housing loan has been turned down.


The steps also apply to dealing with more pervasive challenges such as those potentially life-changing conversations. For example, when your partner says: “I need more freedom in our relationship…..” or when one of your offspring says: “I have decided to stop studying and drop out of…….” or when your employer says: “Thanks very much for the long and faithful service that you have given the company over the past years, but……”


The steps to developing resilience are presented as a series of questions to be addressed to deal with tough times as well as to live life with zest. The steps are interrelated and are as applicable when everyday hassles threaten to overwhelm us as when real adversity occurs.


Next week this blog will continue with the first of the four steps. Watch out for it!