“Once more unto the breach dear friends” this is the rally cry from the play King Henry the Fifth, by William Shakespeare that has been rattling around in my head since the latest lockdown was announced. With all the indications that we shall endure a prolonged isolation to at least the end of the month I thought it was a good time to talk about Resilience again and how we might understand it, build it and hold on to it for the future.
Resilience is about holding on. Resilience is important in our usual day to day world but in these changed times it is more important than ever. Any change is difficult but changes on the scale that Covid19 has brought are unprecedented in our lifetimes. It has been suggested that resilience is one of the psychological attributes that may help in decreasing the impact of the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resilient individuals who can cope with difficulties, easily recover from difficult situations and are psychologically flexible and adaptable will fair better during a crisis. The more resilient that you are the easier you will find it to adapt to new circumstances and therefore you will be better off in the long run. Adaptability is the real key to survival (just ask Darwin).
Being resilient however does NOT mean that you are not worried, uneasy, scared…it simply means that you can acknowledge these feelings and still be able to change yourself and your surroundings to best solve the problems and issues you are currently facing and come up with the best possible solution.
Your brain may be on high alert at the moment on “Fight, Flight or Freeze” mode but this is not inevitable. Your higher reasoning brain has the ability and power to stop this instant reaction and focus your attention to where it is important. Bringing your awareness to the emotions and feelings that you have is so important if you want to regulate them and not be a slave to them.
Journaling can be an amazing tool. A journal will help to name your feelings, or pick them apart and discuss the effects that they have on you. Acknowledge that the feelings are there but know that you are capable of moving past the immediate threat/reaction/feeling and rationally considering the bigger picture.
Mindfulness is a great tool in helping you to be aware of your feelings and reactions. Taking ten minutes every day to be mindful and meditate can change the neural pathways in your brain and improve your mind immensely. It can help you to relax and be more focused providing some additional balance to your day. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a widely used mindfulness training program, has been reported in scientific journals to produce positive effects on psychological well-being and to reduce symptoms of a number of psychological disorders. There are many podcasts aps and videos freely available, try typing Mindfulness into youtube.com or Google for an idea of just how much content is available.
Goal setting. Having goals and sense of what you want for the future is so important during times like this, especially if you have a lot of time to think. If you personally have a sense of having goals, expectations, hope and you believe in bright future you can consider yourself a fairly resilient creature. However we have to be careful about goals and make sure that they are realistic and achievable. It is worth taking the time to write down your goals and revisit them regularly as a boost to build up your resilience.
In an effort to help if possible we are running a resilience building workshop in the near future for anyone who might be interested. email email@example.com to get more details.