With the end of the calendar year fast approaching, many of us will be feeling the strain of what could have conceivably been a frantic, stressful 2015.
Actively working on and developing resilience skills is a key ingredient to feeling happier and more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, have higher hopes, and even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances.
Here are 2 brief examples on how to work on resilience skills:
Working within your Control with the Circle of Influence
We each have a wide range of concerns (our health, family, problems at work, etc) and it is these things in our lives that make up our Circle of Concern.
As we look at those things within our Circle of Concern, it becomes apparent that there are some things over which we have no real control, and other that we can do something about. We could identify those concerns in the latter group by circumscribing them in a smaller Circle of Influence.
There are things (like the weather) that our Circle of Influence will never include. But as proactive people, we can create our own physical and social weather. We can try to accept those things at the present we can’t control, while we focus our efforts on the things that we can.
Extract from Habit 1: Be Proactive, in The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, by Stephen Covey
Understanding the Impact of Beliefs
Imagine three people you know who each experience the same adversity.
- One becomes depressed because they feel worthless;
- one is angry because they blame the source of the adversity;
- the third is disappointed, but looking forward to a new opportunity.
An explanation for these reactions is held in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), developed by Albert Ellis in 1997. According to REBT the key to the emotional consequences (C) a person feels in response to stressful situations, is the underlying Beliefs (B) they hold. These beliefs can be looked at as Rational and Irrational.
- Rational beliefs are logical, realistic, flexible and evidence-based.
- Irrational beliefs are inflexible, unrealistic and are absolutes, such as ‘must’, ‘should’
- Rational beliefs result in healthy emotions and behaviours.
- Irrational beliefs result in unhealthy emotions and behaviours.
When we encounter adversity or a setback, we react by thinking about it. These thoughts rapidly form beliefs, which can be drawn from all parts of our life (experiences, childhood, habit etc.). We may not even realise these beliefs unless we stop and focus on them. These beliefs directly impact our feelings and behaviour.
A – Adversity
B – Belief
C – Consequence
D – Disputation
E – Energy
Adversity: My boss told me he liked my ideas and asked me to join him to present the ideas to the senior exec team.
Belief: Oh no! I’m going to make a fool of myself. I don’t have the depth of understanding I need to answer questions from the big guns.
Consequence: I felt intense dread. Low concentration. I should have spent my time preparing for the pitch, but I kept losing my train of thought.
Disputation (evidence): What is the evidence that I’m not well regarded? These were my ideas and I know my stuff. Anyone would be nervous presenting in front of the senior exec team. I was asked because my boss believes I can do it.
Energy: I feel more focused and calm. I practiced my pitch in front of two colleagues and began to look forward to the challenge.
Happy resilience building!