A great way of understanding how our resilience works is to think of it as a POOL of resilience, similar to a big natural pool of water.
Similar to a pool, resilience is a CAPACITY – something that at each given moment we have to a certain level full (or that at times gets empty and dries out), and that is constantly refilling from many sources (think of them as many little streams and waterfalls), but that is being drained by many different streams.
Seeing resilience that way, you will recognize that our resilience is not a constant. Building up resilience is not as much about building a skill, as it is about “managing” it’s level, in a similar way as you would be managing your energy levels.
To be able to do that, first we must become clear about what is filling up our pool – and then be proactive about building up the “positive inputs” and managing the “negative outputs”.
Example of what is filling up the resilience pool for most of the people: pleasant emotions, positive connections with others, meaningful goals, feeling physically well and energetic, exercising regularly, optimism, hope and gratitude, positive yet realistic perception of ourselves…
Some of the things that are emptying out the pool: loneliness, uncomfortable emotions, low physical energy, physical pain, negative thinking patterns such as rumination and worry, chronic stress, lack of sense of meaning and lack of meaningful goals…
To be resilient does not mean to have “the perfect pool” and have all the things that are recharging it strong or to have zero things taking away from our pool. Instead, resilience means to have “our resilience pool” full enough – and to have overall more inputs than outputs. And, of course, to learn and master the ways of refilling it when we feel it started to drain.
The most important thing to be truly resilient is to have the balance between several sources, tools and mechanisms that we use to recharge our resilience! That way, we can would be flexible to rely on other sources in case one of the sources is not available to us in a certain situation and circumstances.
Take a moment to reflect:
What is filling up your resilience pool these days?
You can find great insights if you reflect on past experiences in which you were resilient, and what “waterfalls” helped you be resilient in those situations.
What are a couple of ideas of how you could be filling it up even more?
Make a plan to put those ideas in practice already this week.
Wish to “train your brain” into more resilience? 🏋️
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