Please welcome Belinda Gore to the blog. Today she shares some thoughts on how you can build your resilience to turmoil. Here’s Belinda:
Resilience is a hot topic these days as people try to figure out how to bend with the winds of economic change without breaking. I’m reading articles that link resilience with positive self-image, courage and commitment, emotional maturity and integrity.
The challenge seems to be what to do to develop resilience when yours is getting low.
To start down the path of building your resilience and ability to deal with today’s frantic pace of change and stress, there are three practices you can start building immediately.
Sleep, Eat, and Be Active
The foundation for resilience is somatic strength, keeping your body healthy and contributing to your energy instead of draining it. For decades we have been hearing about basic stress management techniques: get enough sleep, exercise, eat well. Guess what? It’s all still true.
The latest research tells us that normal adults need 7 – 10 hours of sleep a night, as in every night. No macho points for surviving on 4 -5 hours. Sooner or later it will catch up with you as reduced immune strength, compromised ability to concentrate, anxiety. The list goes on…
Eating well means keeping caffeine to 1-2 cups/cans a day (you won’t need it if you have been getting enough sleep), cutting trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup (it’s in everything packaged), and eating fruit and fresh vegetables every day. And of course, if you still smoke, enroll in a smoking cessation group right now.
Exercise is pretty basic. If you get 45 minutes of good heart-pumping exercise, which could be something as simple as fast walking, walking up and down steps, or playing volleyball, four times a week, you’re there.
Silence the Voices in Your Head
Once you have somatic strength so you aren’t tired all the time, the next step in developing resilience is paying attention to how you talk to yourself. The technical term is Internal Narrative. If you flood your mind with negative talk all the time, you significantly reduce your ability to deal with change and adversity in positive and creative ways. You are using all of your energy keeping yourself stuck.
Usually we either ruminate over what has happened, telling ourselves that we shouldn’t have to be going through this, or we worry about worst-case scenarios for the future. Our scope may be too narrow, as when we can only focus on one issue like improving sales revenues at all costs, or too broad, as in trying to solve the world economic problems instead of thinking creatively about solving the need for updating your products.
For one day, practice telling yourself that challenges are normal and healthy for any organization and the current problem is a doorway to an innovative solution. Don’t roll your eyes – just make a genuine effort and at the end of the day pay attention to what has happened.
Be Open and Direct
Finally, communicate. Learn to say things as simply, clearly, and honestly as you can. One sentence may be enough. Let other people ask when they are not sure if they understand you, and make it safe for them to ask by being responsive.
When in doubt, share information. Except for a few explosive outbursts, most organizations suffer from repressed communication, when people keep their mouths shut for political reasons or because they are afraid of the consequences of speaking up.
There are lots of other tips for building resilience but it is better to focus on a few changes, and actually make them, than have a full buffet of options to choose from and then just nibble from it.
– Belinda Gore is a psychologist, executive coach and experienced seminar leader who is skilled in supporting clients in high-level learning. With 30 years’ experience in leadership development and interpersonal skills training, she is known for helping teams discover strength in their diversity to achieve their mutual goals. She is a founder and former managing partner of Wilbridge Consultation Center, a multidisciplinary group using a holistic approach in working with individuals and groups. She is also a Senior Instructor at thoughtLEADERS, LLC.