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How to Build Resilience During Times of Uncertainty

The year 2020 will no doubt go down in history as a period of prolonged uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every single one of us, in one way or another, leaving many people feeling overwhelmed and unsure about the future. With experts uncertain as to when this pandemic will abate, resilience is one trait that will help us keep going, even when there is no end in sight. As a result, it’s important that we learn to strengthen our ability to cope with trials and challenges that come our way in life.

The good news is, it is possible to develop learned behaviours and coping strategies that will help us to remain positive when dealing with unexpected challenges that we may face.

How to build resilience

Here are a few suggestions from our team at PMW that will help you to build your resiliency:

#1 – Accept Challenges

Be open to new challenges. This includes experiencing your thoughts and feelings, rather than trying to change or suppress them. An important point to remember is that acceptance does not mean resigning yourself to your feelings and thoughts. Instead, recognise what you are thinking and feeling and acknowledge it for what it is. All thoughts and feelings, including difficult ones, are what makes us human. The goal is to find inner peace. Work through the issue on your terms – but understand what makes the challenge a challenge.

# 2 – Connect with others

PMW psychologist Den Eddowes offers the following advice: “When experiencing feelings of stress seek opportunities to connect. This might be with another human – a close friend, a neighbour, a family member or a therapist. Or it could be spiritually through meditation, or with nature.  Go for a walk and listen for different bird sound or notice the way the wind is blowing through the leaves. Another long practised and proven strategy is a connection with the breath. There are many free-breathing apps and YouTube clips on this.

# 3 – Be Self Compassionate

Be kind to yourself – these are trying times right now. Instead of judging yourself negatively, use self-compassion to understand your strengths and limitations and to help you choose a course of action that allows you to deal with the situation at hand. Remember, we are all human and we all experience problems sometimes – so give yourself some grace.

# 4 – Move your body

A regular exercise routine works wonder for our mental health. Den recommends: “Shift your mood by increasing your level of endorphins. This doesn’t mean having to go for a 10 km run or freestyle the equivalent of an ironman swim leg! Do something you enjoy or a task on your to-do list – 15 minutes pottering in the garden, taking the dog for a walk, yoga or vacuuming while listening to 70’s disco music!”

# 5 – Pay it Forward

In times of stress, we can easily become completely consumed by our own thoughts, feelings and circumstances. However, Den gives the advice to “try to do something for someone else without the expectation of anything in return. Better still – do it anonymously. This is a sure-fire way of lifting spirits.”

Learn About Emotional Intelligence

Why is it some people appear better able to deal with and bounce back from adversity? A large part depends on an individual’s level of emotional intelligence (EI), consisting of four domains – perceiving emotions, facilitating thought, understanding emotions and managing emotions. Skills in EI can be learned to support the development of positive relationships and the enhancement of personal wellbeing.

Our psychologist Den Eddowes quoted above offers testing and coaching for Emotional Intelligence. If you’d like to learn more about EI, Den would be happy to meet with you during an initial 20-minute appointment to see how this could benefit you.

These may be trying times, but they offer us an opportunity to build resilience. Our emotions can seem so hardwired that it may be difficult to believe we have control over them, but we do. If you need little help to cope with challenges and would like to learn further coping strategies to help build resilience, why not book an appointment to speak with one of our psychologists?

Click here to book an inital appointment today
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