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Building resilience

  • Overview
  • Exercises

Overview

"Resilience is the ability to cope with pressure and bounce back from challenges and setbacks."

Researchers have found four key areas that help us to maintain and build our resilience in the face of setbacks. Building our resilience is a matter of building our strengths in these four areas.

The Robertson Cooper resilience model

Adapted from Cooper, Flint-Taylor & Pearn; Building Resilience for Success: A Resource for Managers and Organisations; Palgrave MacMillan, 2013

Building personal resilience helps us to cope with the pressures and stresses of life at work and outside. These stresses can take a serious toll on our mental and physical wellbeing , which is reason enough to think about what we might do differently.

Even if we feel beleaguered and down on our luck now, there are things we can do to help ourselves. There are also things we can do to build our colleagues resilience, and things they can do to help us.

No-one goes through life stress-free. Most of us feel resilient in some situations, but less so in others. What stresses me out may not bother you at all. Resilience is not about having a stress-free life, but about recognising that quite a lot of the stress you experience comes from the way you ‘think’ about your situation and your ability to deal with it .

The real skill resilient people learn is how to navigate their way through the stresses and pressures they encounter. Less resilient people default more easily to behaviour that may actually make the situation worse. Navigating through is not necessarily easy. It may require courage, finding strengths you didn’t know you had or learning new skills. But the more self-confidence you can develop, the better you can make your support networks and the more you can think flexibly about the situation, the more likely you are to cope well with it.

Click the Exercises button at the top of the page, or use the i-resilience report and the great resources it recommends, to take steps to maximise your own resilience. You can also pick up tips to help those who may be less resilient than yourself.

Exercises

Exercise - Learning from your own experience of resilience

Time: 15 minutes

The aim of this strength-to-strength exercise is to build your resilience.

Exercise - Appreciating your strengths

Time: 15 minutes for an individual, 30 minutes for a team

The aim of this from-strength-to-strength exercise is to help you identify what you already do well and useuse it as a solid foundation for building further.

Exercise - Overcoming negative thoughts

Time: 15 minutes

The aim of this exercise is to identify and build on your / your team's strengths

Exercise - Conquering disempowering beliefs

Time: 30 minutes

The aim of this exercise is to help you identify and change disempowering beliefs that may be holding you back from reaching your full potential.

Exercise - Using the RobertsonCooper i-Resilience report

Time: 1 hour

RobertsonCooper have an evidence-based model to help you increase your resilience. Completing their online questionnaire will give you plenty of tips of what to avoid and what to build on.

Exercise - Mapping your future

Time: 1 hour

The aim of this exercise is to review your current situation and help you imagine your new future.

Exercise - Active imagination

Time: 30 minutes

The aim of this visualisation exercise is to help you imagine a new future for yourself by simply finding some time for yourself and visualising the future you would really like. You can sketch it, write it down, talk to somebody about it - the choice is yours.

Exercise - Perfect days

Time: 30 minutes

The aim of this visualisation exercise is to help you imagine a new future for yourself by simply finding some time for yourself and visualising in detail what a working day and a leisure day would look like. You can sketch it, write it down, talk to somebody about it - the choice is yours.