I feel compelled to write about this subject because it is a topic that is coming up time and again with clients I coach, mentees, friends and business associates. According to the dictionary, the definition of bouncing back, or resilience is ‘the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.’ Of course issues and problems come along all the time, it’s not about stopping them from happening, but it is about helping ourselves to recover without disappearing into a pit of despair. So when the brown stuff hits the fan, it is worth having some strategies in place to help us to bounce back.
Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. I was with a group of friends yesterday and we talked about our own strategies. Remember that it is OK to ask for help too, you don’t have to do this alone. There is also no shame in feeling fear. It’s natural and we all feel it. There are no prizes for being tough or macho. Here are our thoughts and we would love to hear yours too.
1. Move – one of the quickest ways to change our state is to move our bodies, so do what works best for you. It could be simply going for a walk, running, a vigorous gym session, swimming or dancing. I’d recommend getting out of your usual environment and being in nature. Our problems can seem less significant when you have some open space, rather than being stifled in the confines of an office environment. I personally love walking my dog in the countryside, especially when the sun is shining!
2. Music – listen to something you find compelling – turn it up loud and sing along (maybe not in the middle of the office though!!)
3. Breathe – sometimes when we are gripped by fear we find it difficult to breathe normally. Our heart rate increases and our breathing becomes faster. By focusing on our breathing and taking some deep breaths, it can really help us to calm down and regulate our heart rate.
4. Mindfulness – practicing mindfulness is proven to reduce stress and worry. There are lots of apps available. The one I would recommend is from Headspace. I tend to do mine just before bedtime as it helps me to have a really good nights sleep too!
5. Nurturing – take some time out just for you. Our time tends to be taken up with work, family and friends. There are so many demands upon our time. Sometimes, just taking some time out and doing what pleases you is just what is needed.
6. Unplugging – these days technology is at our fingertips at all hours of the day. It can be switched off! Email can often add to the feeling of overwhelm. The world will not end if it is not checked for a day. Just set your out of office message and unplug. You’ll be in a much better place after time away to deal with everything upon your return.
7. People – spending time with people who’s company you enjoy and having some fun.
8. Giving back – doing something for someone else helps you to focus on them instead of your own problems for a while. It can often help your problems to seem less significant when you are helping someone else.
9. Gratitude – focus on the things you are grateful for. If you are gripped by fear and wondering how to tackle a problem that has occurred, this may be tricky to do, but give it a try. By looking at the good things you have going for you, it can make your problem seem less of an issue.
10. Journaling – writing down what is happening can help you to make sense of it. Sometimes out problems can seem bigger than they are when they are just rattling around our mind. Getting your thoughts down on paper helps you to sift through your thoughts and feelings gaining valuable self-knowledge. We are all different and what works for one person will not work for another.
11. Take action – what can you do right now to move you closer towards your goals? Taking action always helps me to feel better. A recommendation from one of our group is to do some things off your to do list that you like doing. She calls them ‘fluffy tasks’ – much nicer that doing the ones you don’t like!
12. This too will pass – you have probably been here before and you know that you got through it last time – you will get through it again, just trust and try some of the ideas above.
I’m interested to hear your strategies – what do you do to bounce back?
Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA – Managing Director, First Impressions Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI) She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching. First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com