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Fostering Personal Resilience

Commentary by Lydia Merralls, Clinical Psychologist


Here are some of my top tips for strengthening personal resilience when faced with change and challenge, adapted from information previously collated by the American Psychological Association.

  1. Make connections – Relationships with family, friends and others are important for our wellbeing. Accepting help from those who care about you, being active in community groups, participating in support groups and finding ways to help others strengthens our own resilience.
  2. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems – You cannot change the fact that stressful events happen but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Acknowledge shifts and changes in your feelings as you deal with stressors. Try to maintain a view of a future where things might be a little better.
  3. Accept that change is a part of life.
  4. Move towards your goal – Taking small realistic steps in the direction of a goal creates a feeling of accomplishment, no matter how small those steps might be.
  5. Take decisive action when possible – Act on adverse situations as much as you can when feeling ready, rather than just wishing problems would go away.
  6. Look for opportunities for self discovery – People often grow and learn in the face of the harshest losses.
  7. Nurture a positive view of yourself – Solving problems and trusting your instincts helps build self confidence. Reflect on your personal strengths and how they might support you through a stressful situation.
  8. Keep things in perspective – talking to a friend, or psychologist can help keep perspective in balance when stressful situations seem to be blowing out of proportion.
  9. Maintain a hopeful outlook – try visualising what you want instead of worrying about what you fear.
  10. Take care of yourself – pay attention to your own needs and feelings, practice good health self care in the lifestyle choices you make.
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