Building personal resilience
Sometimes life can feel like sailing the ocean, enjoying calm waters and negotiating waves when they arrive. We may coast along for a while then hit unexpected rough water and have to use all our physical and emotional strength to balance and successfully navigate through. Too many high waves may feel exhausting and less able to manage the next one. Traumatic events may even temporarily capsize our boat leaving us in chaos. This is where our personal resilience is important.
Resilience is the ability to rapidly and effectively rebound from the effects of a stressful or traumatic incident.
Resilience is particularly important if you work within a high risk organisation, such as the emergency services, security or cash handling and transportation. Here, you can’t always avoid potentially traumatic events such as assaults, accidents, or robberies but, you can build your protection against the impact.
If you were a sailor setting off across the ocean, you wouldn’t dream of going without appropriate physical protection and risk assessment – but how well do you protect yourself mentally against life’s big waves?
Maybe you see yourself as strong and independent, able to deal with anything and so you don’t need to think about this. But, being mentally strong is the same as being physically strong – we have to work at it. Mental resilience – the ability to endure and bounce back from adverse life events – varies just as physical resilience does. You may take care over what you eat or spend time in the gym building a healthy body. Some days you can be on top form and others are harder. You may recognise those days as time to increase your nutrition, push through the pain or ease back on demands. But would you know how to do the equivalent for your brain? Would you even recognise a dip in your mental resilience?
The demands of modern life can mean that, at times, your mental resilience gets stretched.
When resilience dips it can lead to chronic symptoms that impact on your health and wellbeing and can affect your happiness and those around you:
- Sleep problems
- Difficulties focusing and concentrating
- Poor memory
- Snappiness or irritability
- Poor self-care and unhealthy behaviours
These symptoms in themselves can cause more problems thereby creating a downward spiral.
You can take steps to build your personal resilience meaning you are more likely to bounce back quickly from choppy waters. Our blogs over the next few weeks will look at some of the small steps you can take.
If you’re interested in building resilience in teams or across a wider organisation, then our tailored training courses are CPD certified – ask for more information or take a look at our training page.