Your Guide to Resilience
Posted by PR Neom
Every single one of us has been through some sort of upheaval in recent months, and we’ve had to dig deep into our mental reserves to make it through. In a recent poll we found that 45% said wellbeing was worse in lockdown - and of those over half said they were feeling more anxious and 37% feeling more worried. So, Action for Happiness’ Head of Psychology Vanessa King shares three, simple ways to stay centred when the going feels tough.
The wonderful folks at Action for Happiness have been releasing some amazing tips for staying balanced in tough times, and Jump Back July - their month to focus on resilience - had us throwing our hands up in appreciation at the tips that are SO SIMPLE, but so easy to forget. Their Head of Psychology and author of Ten Keys to Happier Living Vanessa King shared three top resilience tips which we will be implementing. Because, even if it’s just those small steps, it can really make a big difference, when times are hard, right?
1 Connect with others
When we’re in tough times, the threat centre in our primitive brain gets triggered, which means fear, anxiety and worry are never far away. The antidote to this is our care and connect system which produces oxytocin (the cuddle hormone). So how do we trigger this? Vanessa says, connect with others. This could be as simple as getting in touch with a friend, but in tough times it also pays to remember the classic saying, ‘look for the helpers’. Remember that helping others makes people feel good, so don’t give weight to the feeling of being a burden when you’re sharing a problem or asking for a helping hand. And by the same logic, try helping someone else! It’s one way to take your mind off your troubles and trigger that care and connect centre.
2 Yes, and…
It’s really important not to suppress difficult emotions, squeeze them down and pretend they’re not there. We’ve all probably been guilty of this, but like physical pain, emotions are signals, and something to pay attention to. However we can also get caught up with them, ruminate and so amplify or create more unpleasant emotions for ourselves unnecessarily. This where this second tip comes in helping us acknowledge how we are feeling but not get caught up in it. So try saying ‘Yes’… acknowledging how you are feeling. And adding ‘And’… something you can do to shift your mood. So, for example: YES I’m feeling a bit down, upset, or worried. AND… I can put on some soothing music, or reach for a mood-boosting essential oil and take a warm bath, or write in my journal. Whatever it is, add SOMETHING, never just settle for yes. This is so simple but so easy to forget, so consider this your little reminder to DO THIS.
3 Take time out
Allow us to get historical for a second, because Hippocrates, the father of ancient Greek medicine, was such a fan of this third tip. He swore by walks, saying if you’re in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you’re still in a bad mood, go for another walk. Perhaps there’s a reason why both Hippocrates and Vanessa applaud the humble stroll around the block or local park… it’s active, it gives you a wellbeing boost and it creates a bit of space to put things in the perspective of the wider world.
And finally, whether you’re working on your resilience or not, we LOVE this dose of positivity from Vanessa: “Even on the worst days there is a best moment. So when you’re in bed after what might have been a terrible day, you can still find the best moment. Even if it’s the fact that you are snuggled under a blanket, and you made it to your cosy bed”.