This is the second and final part of the blog which described tips on how to be resilient. The first three tips were contained in the previous blog dated 18 February 2010.
4. Change the way you feel
Feeling down and even depressed from time to time is only natural after significant adversity and is part of the healing process. In order to move forward however we need to deal with our negative emotions so that they don’t overwhelm and paralyse us. Ways of doing this include: challenging negative thoughts to check what basis they have in reality and then replacing them with less catastrophic thoughts; identifying those things you are grateful for; and interacting positively with others. The saying “smile and the world smiles with you; cry and you cry alone” is apt in this context.
5. Adopting a positive or optimistic attitude
Realistic optimism is a way of thinking and an attitude that can be learnt. As an attitude, it can even be fostered by people that are naturally inclined to be pessimistic. Our attitude is a choice we make about how we perceive our circumstances. In this way we have control over our attitude even though we often are not even aware of having the choice because it’s been made automatically so often in the past.
6. Reach out to others
There are two aspects to this tip – reaching out to ask for help and reaching out to offer help. Our pride and also the fear of “owing favours” often makes it difficult to ask for help. Yet in times of adversity, the vast majority of people report that when they finally pluck up the courage to ask for help, they are overwhelmed with the generosity of responses they experience.
Offering help is sometimes easier, particularly in an organisational context where work roles require this. Thus managers of staff often find it easier to counsel and mentor others than to ask for help themselves, and this difficulty is often exacerbated the higher the person is in the organisational hierarchy.
7. Take small steps towards your goal
Resilience requires a shift of focus away from the adversity itself and to the changed circumstances it brings about and the action that is requires. This inevitably necessitates staying goal- and solution focussed, prioritising, being action-orientated and taking small steps.
As my friend Shelly copes with this cancer, she has became a wonderful example of resilience in action. In the pain and humiliation created by both the disease and the side effects of the medication, she chooses each day not be defeated. She deliberately uses all seven of these techniques to find joy and fulfilment. In so doing, she becomes a source of strength to her loved ones and friends which reinforce her ability to resilient.
Most people fortunately don’t have to cope with cancer, but do have to cope with the relentless build up of pressures associated with living in tough times. By following these seven tips, you will be able to better remain task focussed at work whilst experiencing adversity and live with joy and fulfilment.