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How flexibility can build resilience


Learning how to control your emotions and mindset will make you much more resilient.

Some people internalise and withdraw when something challenging happens; some like to externalise and let the whole world know about it and some can be total drama queens, turning molehills into mountains. Being emotionally aware, and cultivating the ability to recognise how you can react in certain situations will help you gain more self-control and be more considerate in terms of how your reactions can affect other people.

High emotion can be exhausting so trying to balance and manage emotions during any ordeal will help you focus your energy where it is best placed. People who have better emotional self-awareness are more able to empathise with, and read and understand, the emotions of others. This is important for resilience for two reasons: it helps build relationships with others and this gives more social support.

When difficult events occur, we can feel sorry for ourselves. This isn’t helpful and will often drive us farther from where we want to be. Some people derive comfort from playing the victim and ask: “Why does this always happen to me?” However, they often expect someone else to come along and “fix” their problem. Not only is this mentality self-centred, it is also draining for other people.

Taking responsibility for your circumstances and not looking for ways to apportion blame enables you to seek out solutions. It is by far the most progressive and productive way to approach any adversity. Often you are more in control than you think; if you find yourself in the passenger seat, move into the driving seat and navigate your own way through whatever you are experiencing.

Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you will be much better equipped to respond to adversity or any life crisis you experience. Resilient people often use difficult events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. While some may be crushed by abrupt changes, those who are highly resilient are able to adapt and thrive. When we accept there is no such thing as forever, and that everything changes, we start to bend not break.

Research has demonstrated that self-esteem plays a key role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Keep a record of your strengths and accomplishments to remind yourself what you are capable of achieving. Challenges can be stepping stones or stumbling blocks - how you view them and how much faith you have in yourself to overcome them is down to you.

  • This article is adapted from How To Be Happy: Simpleways to Build your Confidence and Resilience to Become a Happier, Healthier You by Liggy Webb (Capstone, £10.99). Available here.

Liggy Webb is widely respected as a leading expert in the field of modern life skills. She has developed a range of techniques and strategies to support individuals and organisations to cope more successfully with modern living.

How to develop resilience

  • Take emotional control and learn to positively manage your reaction to adversity
  • Take personal responsibility and avoid cultivating a “victim mentality”
  • Be optimistic and keep an open, flexible mind
  • Believe in your ability to overcome adversity and bounce back from crises you encounter
  • Learn from every experience and ensure you turn each problem into an opportunity



Readers' comments (2)

  • Tinkerbell

    yes turn your redundancy from nursing into an opportunity.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Could I ask who wrote this article? I'm trying to reference it but there is no name or volume/issue

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