Resilience is the capacity to recover from the unexpected. The ability to experience sudden, unplanned changes, and still function. The capacity to adapt well in the face of adverse circumstances. The ability to stay positive when things are not going as we expect
Here is a basic tool kit I use with people I coach, and the coaches whom I train in my methods, it is adapted slightly to reflect our current situation.
- Supporting others to develop their resilience, in the first instance is about listening to and allowing them to express their fears. It is likely that they are feeling anxious because they are projecting themselves into the future and imagining negative outcomes.
- It’s important to remind people that the pandemic is something that we have never experienced before, feelings of uncertainty and anxiety are absolutely normal, it is also natural that this may stimulate our internal fight flight system.
- Therefore, ask people to remember times in their lives when they have been resilient. We have all experienced difficult times before this and yet have managed to come through them. Reconnecting with the feeling of overcoming a difficulty, will help them to connect to their previous state of resilience and help to them to anchor this. Positive anchoring will also help to boost their immune system.
- Talk to them about keeping their thoughts in the present — here and now — reality. Help them to understand that they can choose their thoughts, and that is more healthy to remain positive and not to focus unnecessarily on imagined negative outcomes which may not occur.
- Suggest that talking [and listening] to supportive family members, friends and colleagues about how they feel is really valuable and important. This will help them to become aware of when their thoughts and feelings are turning towards catastrophising and ‘brain on fire’ kind of thoughts and will enable them to return to ‘here and now’ thinking.
- Encourage them to create a personal mindfulness mantra along the lines of :‘Right now I am healthy and well’ … ‘Right now, I am taking one step at a time’ … ‘Right now, I am staying focussed on what is important to me right now’.
- Suggest they make use of this unexpected change to all of our routines to make some simple plans and routines for each day, perhaps think about projects they have put on hold, jobs/tasks they have been meaning to do. Developing an exercise routine to stay fit, healthy and flexible. Learning a new skill.
- Limit the amount of time spent listening to continuous, non-stop news. Every time we hear the same piece of news, even if nothing in it has changed, it adds to our levels of stress. Decide which news outlet you prefer and trust, then limit the amount of time you listen, so that you can maintain a healthy distance and perspective.
- Use this opportunity to connect and re-connect. If you have not already done so create a social media contact list of family, friends, neighbours, associates, and then make contact with at least one person from the list every day, check in with how they are doing, even if it’s only for a few minutes — longer if you like ( suggest spending only a few minutes talking about what the media says is happening ) focus on what you are feeling and share what you are doing to keep yourself positive. Connection to other people is what makes us human.