Photo by Sneaky Elbow
Resilience can be summed up to be the one’s ability to handle setbacks that occur in life. Improving resilience means you can bounce back quickly when you need to and also not experience the extreme highs and lows that can be very overwhelming at times. Easier said than done, right? What is the best way to recover from having your heart broken? How do you navigate that pain and bitterness? How do you handle yourself as you undergo chemotherapy for cancer? Surely, it’s just as tough for everyone, isn’t it? How do you manoeuvre around a difficult task at work? How do you deal with stubborn or demanding relatives? All these need resilience but as you have probably picked up by now, they are not on the same level as stress factors. That is why you need to have the different kinds of resilience to be able to efficiently go through your life.
The types of resilience
There are different kinds of resilience, each playing a role when it comes to our ability to handle all the kinds of stress that we are all likely to experience in the world today. These include:
Are you often unwell? Do you find that a small thing like a cold can often turn into an infection and lead to time off work or even a hospital visit? You probably lack physical resilience. Physical resilience is said to be how it is that one's body reacts, deals with, and ultimately recovers from physical injuries, illnesses, and demands. Research has shown that physical resilience impacts not only how people age but also how their bodies can recover from any kind of medical issues and physical stress. Eating well (mostly unprocessed foods your ancestors would recognise and not too much), reducing alcohol consumption, getting enough sleep as well as exercising regularly can really help to build physical resilience.
This kind of resilience is the ability of a person to adapt to both change and uncertainty. If you are mentally resilient, you will possess flexibility as well as general calmness during moments of trouble or crisis. You will be able to stay positive and bounce back from challenges, remaining hopeful in the face of adversity. Mental resilience can be built in a variety of ways including practicing self-compassion, gratitude, mindfulness and learning to see events as only having the meaning we attribute to them.
This is also called community resilience. Social resilience is how well groups can effectively recover from tough situations. You need to be able to connect with other people as well as work in a group to get solutions to issues that affect both yourself as an individual and the group at large. Some aspects of social resilience are providing support for each other socially by being aware of the various issues that affect the community and generally building a sense and feeling of belonging and a community. This was something that many communities saw increase in the early days of COVID 19.
Building resilience, like building muscles, takes time and patience, but the payoff is huge. For the longest time, you may not even notice you are making progress, not until you are mentally or physically put to the test. The ability to regulate and handle emotions when stressed, stay calm when things aren’t going the way you’d hoped and to be able to rely on your body to bounce back from illness and injury is the key to having a strong sense of happiness and wellbeing.
25 years experience in helping teams build user centred products and services, now helping digital colleagues learn how to bounce back better than before from the challenges life throws at us from time-to-time.