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Building your Resilience like a Muscle

No matter how big or small you perceive whatever stresses you’re going through, it will always be key to your mental and spiritual health that you are able to develop and use your own coping mechanisms to help you get through it. The word ‘resilience’ is defined as the power or ability to return to an original form or position; and whilst it may seem like that will never happen for you, it’s important that you understand how and why to make it happen.

A difficult period of your life may be caused by uncertainty, general stress, or a specific situation over which you have little or no control. Whatever it is, there are steps you can take to rectify things for yourself; even if the situation itself doesn’t unravel or result in the way you’d like it to.

The very first step you can take is to recognise that you’re in a challenging situation, in order to be able to reframe it. Give yourself permission to be annoyed and frustrated (you’re human, after all, and you’re not perfect!) before asking yourself: what can I learn from this? Even if nothing else, it may be that you work out how you can avoid being subject to a similar situation again, or how to better manage it to lessen the burden on yourself.

If you need to, always reach out to others. There is no shame in asking for a helping hand or just a chat when things are rough, and others can hold you to account if you’re being overly negative, feeling helpless or indulging in unnecessary stress. You’d be there if a loved one asked you for help or advice, so it’s only right that they’re there for you, too.

During tough times, make time to recharge and be sure to look after yourself to help recovery. Give yourself space to relax away from frustration; be that meditation, a big slice of cake and ten minutes to breathe or going for a run or a walk. Exercise of any type is the ideal activity if you can do it, as a heightened heart rate will release endorphins and promote a healthy mind as well as a healthy body.

Repeat all of the steps above as often as you need and remember “this too, shall pass”. Very few circumstances are forever, and emotions develop and change over time, even the tough ones. Cut yourself some slack, stay patient and find strength in the knowledge that you have the power to imagine better. Look forward to this stress having passed and better, easier days laying ahead. After all, you have to experience some rain showers so that you know (and feel gratitude for) when the sun is shining.

You will go through tense situations again, but by dealing with each as well as you can, you shall feel more in control and more stable no matter how bad, unexpected or different your stresses are.

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