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  1. What Resilient People Don’t Do

    January 27, 2015 by Jenna

    We all respond to change differently. For some of us it comes naturally and we can go with the flow, as for others, having that sense of security removed can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Regardless of which type of person you are, it is important to develop resilience so that we can continue to move towards our goals regardless of the situation.

    So what does it take to be an emotionally resilient person? Perhaps it is best to start by clarifying what they don’t do in order for us to understand what it takes to be resilient. An article by Brad Waters in Psychology Today will be my inspiration for this week and I have outlined ten of his points below:

    1. They don’t cross their own boundaries – Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary The stress/trauma might play a part in their current story but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

    2.They don’t surround themselves with bad company– In any environment, your behaviour can be greatly affected by the people you surround yourself with. Resilient people surround themselves with other resilient people who give them space to grieve and work through their emotions. These supporters know when to listen and when to offer enough encouragement without trying to solve the problem, allowing the individual to remain in control of their decisions. Good company will help calm a situation as opposed to adding frustration to it.

    3. They don’t avoid self-awareness – Being ‘blissfully unaware’ can get us through a bad day but it’s not a very wise long term strategy. Self-awareness helps resilient people to know what they need, what they don’t need and when it’s time to reach out for extra help.

    Prideful stubbornness without emotional flexibility or self-awareness can make us emotional glaciers. While strong on the outside to stay afloat, you can get prone to massive stress fractures when experiencing unexpected changes in your environment.

    4. They don’t pretend there isn’t a problem – Pain is painful, stress is stressful and healing takes time. Resilient people understand that stress/pain is a part of living that ebbs and flows. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with the truth or pain than to ignore it, repress it, or deny it.

    5. They don’t ignore quiet time – Some of us find the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety is to dull out with distractions such as television, eating, drinking too much etc. While not all distractions are bad, you still need to be mindful of the current situation you may be in and not use distractions as a means of avoiding problems. Somewhere in between shutting down or ramping up is mindfulness – being in the presence of the moment without judgement or avoidance. It takes practice, but finding a quiet space to reflect is well renowned for healing and resilience-building.

    6. They don’t presume to have all the answers – Sometimes we try too hard to find answers in the face of stressful or traumatic events, that activity can block the answers from naturally arising in their own due time. Resilient people can find strength in knowing they do not have it all figured out right now. They trust they will gradually find peace when their mind/body is ready.

    7. They don’t put self-care aside – Resilient people have a list of good habits that support them when they need them most. Anyone can build their own list by noticing those things that recharge their batteries and give them a boost.

    8. They don’t underestimate the importance of team input – Being resilient means knowing when to reach out for help from others. It also means knowing who will serve as a listening ear, and who won’t. A supporting team will help you reflect back on issues where you may have been too emotional or overwhelmed to do so at the time they occured.

    9. They don’t overlook other possibilities – Resilient people can train themselves to ask which parts of their current story are permanent and which parts can possibly change. This helps to maintain a realistic understanding that the present situation may be coloured by their current interpretation. Our interpretations of our stories will always change as we grow and mature.

    10. They don’t dwell on issues – When we’re in the midst of stress and overwhelmed, our thoughts can go at a hundred miles an hour. Resilient people can find reprieve accepting the situation and moving on. One technique that works for some people is the write down the issues causing the current stress.

    While writing is one resilience strategy you can keep in your back pocket, there are other ways that resilient people can get out of their head. Examples include healthy distractions like going to the gym or going for a walk, cooking or baking, volunteering or any self-care items as per point #7.

    How have you built resilience in times of change or difficult situations?

  2. The art of procrastination: Why we put things off

    October 30, 2012 by Jenna

    At one stage or another we are all guilty of procrastination, I know I am. Perhaps you are procrastinating right now by reading this blog.

    For me procrastination is putting off those tasks that I just don’t enjoy doing as much. Nearly half (43%) of you said that you too are procrastinating because the “Task is unpleasant or something that I don’t like”. Whilst another 43% are procrastinating because there are “Too many tasks on the to-do list, I don’t even know where to start.” The rest are procrastinating because “I don’t have enough time or energy to do it perfectly and I don’t want to do it badly.”

    “If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.” – Olin Miller

    The easiest choice would be just to get started and do those less appealing tasks first, so why is it that we continue to put those tasks off?

    Timothy A. Pychyl posted an article in Psychology Today about procrastination summarised:

    ‘… if we have internalised unrealistic standards, are plagued with self-doubt and prone to self-criticism, we’re most likely to avoid our work to avoid what we believe is inevitable failure. And, while this short-term avoidance may provide some immediate mood repair, in the longer term, we pay the price with the distress that task avoidance and last minute efforts bring.’

    And let’s face it, how many times have we put something off, only to then be thinking about it and letting it ‘stew’ in the back of our minds until we actually do complete it? And the more we worry about trying to do something perfectly, the less time we have to actually complete it.

    Whether you are a perfectionist or not, or whether you put off items for only a certain period of time, the long-term results will be increased stress, missing deadlines, and most importantly not having time to do the things we actually enjoy.

    The more I think about a task as unpleasant or impossible to start, the reality is I will make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. We create more stress by struggling to balance other deadlines and not knowing where to start…perhaps what we really need to do is Just Start!

    I am making a choice from now on to do the important tasks of the day first so that I can plan the rest of the day in a more realistic fashion.

    Make that dreaded phone call, send that response email to a complaint, do those tedious tasks or not so ‘thrilling’ filing jobs and don’t look back! Don’t let the fear of doing/completing the task prevent you from achieving results. As they say, ‘The greatest thing to fear is fear itself.’

    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank

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