In our modern-day society, the fear of failure or showing weakness seems to have stepped up a notch and most try to avoid this at all costs. Of course, rationally we understand that not getting things right the first time is inevitable and one of the keys to being able to ‘bounce back’ when things don’t go as we planned is resilience.
Resilience is the ability to move forward (even at a VERY slow pace) when unexpected challenges or changes arise, it’s the ability to ‘spring back into shape’. There are four interconnected dimensions of resilience – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – and in many cases an individual has a natural strength in one or more of these areas. The great thing about these four dimensions and their interconnectedness is that strengthening one means the others are reinforced as well, and research shows that resilience plays an important role in achieving your goals in health, business, and life.
There’s merit in exploring each dimension individually and this month we’re looking a little deeper at mental resilience – why we need it, how to improve it and the impact it has on our Core Confidence.
No doubt you have some experience with a colleague, friend or family member who has suffered from anxiety, depression or another mental health condition. Developing mental resilience though, is not just about the outer edges of extreme stress that contribute to these conditions. It’s the skill of redirecting those everyday negative thoughts from that little voice in your head (you know the one!) that continually pipes up about negatives, problems and inadequacies.
Mental resilience is about meeting that voice with kindness and positivity and redirecting the internal dialogue to be confident, constructive and worthwhile.
There are multiple ways to work on developing mental resilience and a key area to focus on is consistency. Just like a muscle, resilience grows stronger the more you use it and consistently being disciplined about the little things – going to the gym, eating well, meditating regularly, delivering your work ahead of schedule – means that when things get difficult you know how to keep going and you won’t wilt. “Mental toughness is built through small wins. It’s the individual choices that we make daily that build our “mental toughness muscle.”
Other ways to improve mental resilience include:
- Be conscious and mindful of your pressure points and take steps to manage them
- Be curious about your own operating procedures to gain a solid understanding of what strategies and tools work for you, and which ones to avoid
- Manage your inner voice – be aware of the way you speak to yourself, acknowledge it and switch to positivity. A gratitude journal can help with this
- Clarify what responsibilities and expectations are placed on you and push back when you’re at capacity or overwhelmed to create healthy boundaries
- Let go of perfectionism and the need to be right – both can undermine your mental resilience
Building mental resilience creates success, and success breeds confidence in your own abilities, allowing you to strive further and have the courage to ask for – and receive – what you truly want and deserve.