Have you ever wondered how some people seem to cope better than others and bounce back more quickly from the inevitable challenges that life throws at us?

This ability to “bounce back” – often referred to as resilience – is not simply down to personality as you might think. We all possess resilience in different degrees but there are steps all of us can take to boost our resiliency resources, building our inner strength and capacity to cope with adversity.

Here are our Top 5 tips to building resilience:

1. Adopt a balanced view
When faced with difficulties, it can be very easy to focus on all the negative things that are happening and fall into a pattern of self-destructive thinking, often berating and blaming ourselves for our problems. We tend to overlook the good things that are happening in our lives and our own strengths and qualities. When you find yourself thinking this way, try writing down at least 5 positive things about your life right now and at least 5 positive attributes about yourself. Keep these lists, add to them whenever possible and refer to them whenever you need to, to adopt a more positive, balanced view of yourself and your situation and remind yourself that things aren’t perhaps as bad as you think they are.

2. Accept bad feelings as well as good
When things are going well, we feel happy, positive emotions: conversely, when bad things happen, we can feel horrid. It is important to realize that ALL of these emotions are OK – the bad as well as the good – and part of being human. It is normal to feel let down, worried, frustrated and over-whelmed when faced with difficulties. This acceptance and the knowledge that negative feelings will come and go, as do positive ones, helps us deal with the uncomfortable feelings that often accompany challenging situations.

3. Approach challenge as a growth experience
We often look at difficult life events as predominantly negative but in actual fact, without these experiences, we often wouldn’t move forward in life and grow personally. The more we look at challenges as opportunities to learn, grow and evolve, the more resilient we can become.

4. Build your support network
Having supportive relationships in your life with family and friends seems to be an important component for building resilience according to research. Good work relationships are important too. Having a strong network of people around you can help you feel reassured and encouraged when times get tough and boost your ability to deal with difficulties.

5. Take care of yourself
When you’re going through a rough patch, taking care of yourself and your own needs can seem bottom on the list of priorities; however, self-care can really help you feel more able to cope with pressure and stressful situations.

Looking after your physical health
There are the basic things like making sure you are eating at regular intervals, choosing balanced, healthy meals; sleeping enough and being physically active: all vital for our physical and mental well-being.

Lifestyle changes
Do more of the things you enjoy doing (if you can remember what these are)! These feel-good activities are very unique to us: everybody enjoys different things. For some it may be laughing with friends or family; for others it may be running marathons or spending times with pets. Take time to reflect on what it is that provides you with enjoyment and make sure you engage in those activities – even if just for 30 minutes at a time.

Use relaxation techniques
You may already know what helps you relax and unwind, like having a bath, curling up on the sofa with a good book or listening to music. If you know that a certain activity releases stress and tension, try to set time aside to do it.

If you, or someone you know, is affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article and would welcome further support, Lisa, Abi or Claire from Counselling Connection would be happy to discuss this with you. Simply call 0300 124 5575 or email info@counsellingconnection.org