Resilience is a habit. It’s not something that we are born with and it’s not naturally occurring. It’s defined by many things, from what you were told about yourself as a child to the coping mechanisms modeled to you, the experiences you’ve had in your life so far and your connection to others and the world. So, if you don’t feel very resilient right now it’s something you can change with these resilience tips.

1. Build trust with yourself

The word ‘confidence’ comes from the Latin root ‘confidere,’ which means ‘I trust fully.’ So, confidence is, at its heart, a feeling of complete trust in ourselves. Where is this lacking for you right now, making you feel unsure or unsafe? The basics of improving confidence and self-esteem revolve around creating this feeling of trust so that you can respond with more resilience – adapt (bounceback) or transform (bounce forward) when you need to. When it comes to resilience tips this perspective shift – seeing confidence as an internal well of trust – is important. Approach building trust with yourself as you would with another person – do the things you plan to do, set healthy boundaries with yourself and others, embrace your vulnerability, give your thoughts space and get relentless with self-compassion so you never make yourself feel unworthy or less than. Once you have a strong sense of trust in yourself the world around will feel like a much less scary or impossible place.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

Comparing ourselves to others takes a heavy toll on self-esteem and whether or not you feel capable of solving your current challenges. It clouds judgment, makes you ignore all your own talents and attributes and can make you feel heavy and stuck. It can also be very time consuming e.g. spending hours scrolling on Instagram. Research by Stylist magazine found that we are most likely to be stung by ‘people who make life look easy’ – 44% of Stylist readers compared themselves negatively when they saw others having amazing experiences on social media, 40% felt this with respect to career success and 38% felt a sense of inferiority comparing where there peers were at in terms of benchmark moments. Some comparison is a natural human instinct but it can become intensified and warped if you’re already struggling with self-esteem or spending a lot of time on social platforms envying others’ lives. Start minimising comparison narratives by cutting them off at the source – less time on your phone, for example – and then putting real energy into reminding yourself that a) no one’s life is perfect b) we all get to different stages at different times and c) there’s a whole load of things you have to be proud of and celebrate about you, just the way you are.

Rocks balancing like a scale to show comparison always hurts us.

3.Take some risks

If this is the one of all my resilience tips that makes you instantly nervous then go back to 1 and look at more ways that you can build trust with yourself and your ability to handle challenges and the unexpected. We all have a different level of comfort when it comes to risk and this can be different with respect to physical and emotional risk. Think about how you feel about risk – are you willing to step into the unknown and embrace success or failure or do you avoid any situations where you might not get something right? Taking risks is how we grow in life but it doesn’t have to be reckless. In any situation that feels risky you can prepare, research, investigate, ask questions, look for ways to calm yourself physically and be inspired by others who have taken risks and grown through it. Why does this matter for resilience? Because regularly getting outside your comfort zone provides your mind with proof that transformation is possible – and will make you more resourceful even in a challenging situation.

4. What are your triggers? (resilience tips 101)

We all get thrown off track from time to time – into anxiety or fear, losing motivation, feeling unfocused or falling into numbing ourselves with food, sex, booze etc. Our triggers usually send us into a habitual pattern of thinking or doing that often explains why we are stuck, unhappy or not achieving the things we want for ourselves. Start noticing what you do if you feel afraid, ashamed, unwanted, unappreciated or unseen. What painful feelings are the hardest for you to handle and what are your habitual responses to painful feelings? This is all about being able to continue making kind and mindful decisions for yourself even if you’re in a difficult or painful situation. It’s resilience tips 101.

5. Identify your (self-imposed) limits

We all have habitual places where we stop – these are the thresholds that we need to move beyond to feel differently day-to-day. Signs that a limit is there might be “I’m not someone who can have that” or “I could never do that” or “that’s not me.” The reality is that most of us could achieve almost anything we put our minds to. Limits are usually other people’s stories about us that we’ve internalised – a boss who told you that you were too sensitive to be a good leader, a parent who said that boys don’t express their feelings, an ex-partner who said you were just naturally bad with money. Start thinking about where you place limits on yourself and how these are making you approach life with less resilience. This is often where working with a coach can be especially useful as it can be tough to recognise self-imposed limits – an experienced third party can reflect back to you exactly how, and where, you hold yourself back so that you can start to make change.

6. Be relentless about self-compassion

This is your super power in resilience terms, which might sound surprising. We often view compassion as something soft and a bit pointless but it’s actually incredibly transformative and empowering. This is what allows you to see your challenges and weaknesses as just part of being human, to give yourself the freedom to try and fail and to create the space for being vulnerable. Which is important because it’s through vulnerability (showing up and letting ourselves be seen for who we really are) that we find intimacy, connection, creativity, belonging and validation.

7. Make small steps your goal

We often have an expectation that change comes in one big moment of powerful transformation – that’s not the case. 99.9% of the time change is the result of small steps consistently taken over time and that’s especially so when it comes to resilience. That’s going to look different for everyone but it could be anything, from consistently practising how to stop saying ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no,’ creating a healthy bedtime or morning routine, feeding yourself differently, doing self-awareness daily, changing the language you use, putting your phone down more or trying something new every day. 

A penguin taking small steps as you would in resilience coaching.

8. Throw off the social conditioning

Moving on from toxic shame and insidious social conditioning is incredibly liberating – it can set you free to do the things you’ve always wanted to do but never allowed yourself to go for. What does toxic shame or insidious social conditioning sound like? “I’m too old,” “I’m not supposed to,” “What will people think..” are a few examples.

9. Learn how to work with your nervous system

This is one of the most powerful resilience tips available because it’s what will create the space for you to have a different type of response in the future. A dysregulated nervous system often means that you’re stuck in a fight/flight/freeze/fawn response, rather than making conscious choices using your own intuition and intelligence. So, learning how to work with your nervous system to bring yourself out of that state can be transformative. This is really simple stuff – breath work to bring activate your calming response, for example.

10. Repeat these resilience tips

As I said, resilience is a habit. Forming habits is different for everyone – it can take longer or shorter depending on you and depending on the habit. However, one thing is the same for everyone – repetition is required. So, go through this list again and again until you start to feel the difference.

The process of building resilience is easier and faster when you have support. As a coach I can provide support and guidance, as well as the challenge you might need to break out of old patterns and behaviours. I offer a free intro call so that you can see whether this process is right for you – book now and let’s chat about your challenges.

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