“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet,” said Helen Keller. Leaders today should be full of character, given the challenges we face. What helps some people weather the storms, while others lose their way? Resilience – that ability to fall down and get back up, stronger and better equipped to handle the next problem.
Resilience isn’t stoic toughness, but an ability to take the pain, learn from it and bounce back. True resilience is fed by a reservoir of spiritual, emotional and physical resources. You build resilience when you:
Make connections. Nurture your relationships at home and at work. Though it can be challenging to find the time, schedule check-ins with your support system and don’t allow this time to be co-opted by other tasks.
Help others. Do something for someone else on a regular basis. Studies have shown that helping others improves your mental health. Plus, you’ll keep your own problems in perspective.
Control your thoughts. Yes, you can control your thoughts. Not in a new-age, mantra repeating way. Simply slow down enough to recognize the interior dialogue; then replace negative thoughts with something more positive. Rather than thinking, “I’ll never get through this,” think, “This too shall pass.”
Treat your body with respect. In times of stress, we turn to comfort food, comfort beverages and comfort TV. What we really need is to ramp up our efforts to care for our bodies – eat and drink wisely, and exercise to ease stress. Think about how you can reward yourself for treating your body like the temple it is.
Fast forward. George Burns said, “I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” Hard times aren’t here to stay. Focus on where you’re going, and take steps now to make those expectations a reality.
No one, not even a resilient person, is immune to stress and anxiety. Resilience is what makes you put down that bag of potato chips, turn off the TV and get back to work.
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