I subscribe to the Mental Toughness model created and developed by the rock stars of mental toughness, Peter Clough and Doug Strycharczyk. They define mental toughness as comprising:
- Resilience – the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures; and
- Confidence – the ability to spot and seize opportunities.
I thought it would be useful to understand how the American Psychological Association defines resilience and its recommendations on how to build resilience as per their website.
They describe resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace or financial stressors. It means, “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.
Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary and that people commonly demonstrate resilience.
Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.
Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.
This certainly reinforces my understanding of resilience as it sits within the Mental Toughness framework.
They then continue to provide ten great ways to build resilience:
1. Make connections
Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.
2. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems
You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.
3. Accept that change is a part of living
Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
4. Move toward your goals
Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
5. Take decisive actions
Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery
People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.
7. Nurture a positive view of yourself
Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
8. Keep things in perspective
Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.
9. Maintain a hopeful outlook
An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
10. Take care of yourself
Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.
Rightly they suggest that, using trial and error, you have to find the ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal strategy to build resilience.
Most of these suggestions and interventions fit well within the ‘control’ and ‘commitment’ pillars that represent ‘resilience’ withing the MTQ48 4C’s mental toughness framework.
For more on how to build resilience contact us.