How to Build Resilience

The 7 Steps to Building Resilience

building resilience

You know that resilience is a key component of being able to deal with stress effectively—even transforming it into a catalyst for growth. (If this is news to you, read What Is Resilience? ) And you’d like more of it.

Here’s how you go about building resilience:

1. Locate Emotion Radars.

Thoughts lead to emotions, and we develop habits in our thoughts. Some of us scan the world with a radar focused on what bad event is going to hit us next. Do that, and you’ll get anxious and stressed a lot of the time. We can learn to skirt around those radars for less stress and greater calm.

2. Avoid Thinking Traps.

Thoughts matter and they’re often wrong. For example, you walk in to your boss’ office and see she’s on the phone. She gives you a troubled look. You make a hasty retreat, shut the door, and think, “She did NOT want me in there. I’m so embarrassed.” But in actuality, she was on the phone with the school nurse. Her son is sick, and the look on her face reflected her worries about her child and her schedule for the rest of the day — it had nothing to do with you. This is the trap of Mind Reading, and there are 6 others that we routinely fall into. When you can pinpoint the traps you fall into most often, you can then recognize them more quickly, re-wire your thinking more effectively, and move forward with more ease and success.

3. Navigate Around Negative Icebergs.

Iceberg beliefs are big belief systems that we develop over time—such as, “I must do everything perfectly.” We are only aware of the tip of the belief. The bulk is unconscious, just as 90% of an iceberg is below the surface of the water. When we bump against these icebergs, we derail any momentum we may have built. When we become aware of them, we can melt them, steer around them, or even embrace them.

4. Get Flexible with Explanations.

We all develop a style of explaining the adversities in our world. Maybe you like to blame “the Man” or “the system” for recurring frustrations, or perhaps you seek someone else in your life to use as a scapegoat. Any explanatory style can become rigid and be a barrier to good problem solving. Learning how to incorporate more flexibility into your causal thinking enhances your creativity and frees you up to be a more skillful problem solver.

5. Harness Positive Emotion Radars.

Just as certain thoughts lead to correlating negative emotions, others will lead to positive feelings, such as contentment, pride, respect, satisfaction, and engagements. Learning to focus on the thoughts with positive results enables you to experience those as fully and as often as you once experienced negative emotions.

6. Tap Into Positive Icebergs.

Everyone has a set of values that propels and guides them. These are motivating and inspiring, but they often lie hidden below the surface of awareness. Recognizing these positive icebergs provides greater direction in all areas of life, and fosters better and more meaningful communication with the important people in your life.

7. Make Connections.

Connections shift your focus away from your daily tribulations and on to something with greater meaning – whether that’s family, community, or a higher power. The more connection you have, the stronger your resilience and your satisfaction with your life.

Using these seven steps will help in building your resilience and decreasing your stress – and who doesn’t want that?!

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