The Resilience Challenge Day 3: Be Proactive

hands holding golden pen writing
by Barry Winbolt

In these daily posts, I’m outlining five of the key factors that contribute to personal resilience. Today, it’s about increasing your sense of control by being proactive.

Highly resilient people are proactive in the face of high demand rather than feeling angry or intimidated by it. 

Taking control of something helps counter a sense of helplessness when things threaten to overwhelm us. Break the situation or problem down and tackle it one bit at a time. 

Resilient people can control their emotional responses and behaviour. They also have insight into the reactions of the people around them. They experience the same ups and downs as the rest of us, but they can function well under pressure because of the way they have of embracing a situation and making choices about it.

Day 3 Challenge: Focus on What You can Control

When faced with a crisis or ongoing demand, it can be easy to be overwhelmed. It begins to feel that things are beyond your control. This is when stress really begins to bite.

Instead of complaining or resenting things as they are, it is more productive and better for you to accept the situation as it is. That way, you save your energy for doing something positive.

Then you can focus on the parts of the situation that are within your control. “Even when the situation seems dire, taking realistic steps to help improve the situation, however small these steps may be, can improve your sense of control and resilience.”

Find Something You can Control (even if it’s small)

When we are faced with something that’s too big or complicated to deal with, it can make us feel powerless. It’s the same if we think it’s beyond our abilities to do anything about it. 

When this happens it is not the situation that’s causing the problem, it is the way we are looking at it. Highly resilient people don’t do that. They take a step back and look for a part of the problem they can do something about.

For them, a challenging situation offers possibilities. They make a habit of looking for opportunities, rather than seeing problems. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, they engage with the situation to see where they can contribute or be effective.

Personal Resilience

Resilience Mindset

Today’s task is about training your mind to do that. If something seems insurmountable, too big to tackle, or you just don’t have the energy:

1. Take a step back, pause and reflect

2. Break the situation down, look for a part of it you can influence

3. It might help to write a brief summary of the situation or a drawing.

4. Doing something, however small, can help reduce one’s sense of helplessness. Be content to take very small steps.

5. Whatever your problem, someone somewhere has solved it or at least found a partial solution. Look for how others have dealt with the same situation.

Remember, if a situation is ‘impossible’ that’s more about how you perceive it than the situation itself. Highly resilient people do feel daunted sometimes but they are proactive. They manage to change their thinking and find something they can do to alleviate their doubt and discomfort.

For Day 4’s Resilience Challenge see here.

To learn more about resilience see: Personal Resilience

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