To Build Your Resilience, Ask Yourself Two Simple Questions
The world around us is always changing and bombarding us with a great number of new challenges.
Those challenges can be from different fields, ranging from a minor problem that might occur at home, to a new problem that happens at work, either through a new project or a new boss.
There are a lot of factors that affect how we deal with such new problems, one of them being mental resilience.
Mental resilience is an important trait that should be a part of every human being, as every human being gets into a moment where a strong mind would help out a lot.
There are a few ways you could develop at least a basic level of mental resilience that, of course, can develop into a more impervious person as the time goes and your training continues.
In further writing of the text, you will learn more about the concept of mental resilience and its purpose.
The focus of the article will be on the questions you should ask yourself in certain situations that help you develop it better.
What will follow are a few other ways in which you can develop the mental resilience further, and at the end of the article, you will find a questionnaire which you can use to see whether you have been in a situation where you needed mental resilience.
WHAT IS MENTAL RESILIENCE?
Mental resilience can be defined as the psychological ability of a person who easily copes with a certain crisis that has occurred.
The main thing is that the person does not show that the crisis is affecting them, but they retain the pre-crisis status of their mind.
In layman’s terms, mental resilience is the ability to stay calm during “storms”. Some people naturally develop mental resilience due to them getting used to the amount of stress they encounter every day.
The first research conducted that revolved around resilience started in the late 1950s, and it was led by Emmy Werner, who was an American developmental psychologist. The research consisted of her analyzing children coming from different households in Hawaii.
A great majority of children that were involved had grown in financially unstable households with unemployed parents who had mental problems or were substance abusers.
The result of the analysis of these “participating” showed that while two-thirds of the children showed destructive behavior that mimicked their parents, the other one third did not, and was actually more impervious to stressful behavior, thus being more resilient.
Here is the link to the research, if you want to learn about it in depth.
Mental resilience is more of a process that results in acquiring a certain level of mental resilience.
The most easily detectable signs that show a lack of mental resilience in people are the way they react in stressful situations, such as outwardly exploding with anger, inwardly imploding and being unable to react, or showing the physical signs of being upset.
There are many aspects or fields of resilience that a human being can obtain or train, emotional or psychological one being the most important for everyday life and work.
Resilience is something that can only prove to be beneficial to a person, as stressful situations are mundane part of everyday life.
ASKING YOURSELF QUESTIONS IN STRESSFUL SITUATIONS
As previously mentioned, mental resilience is a characteristic that should be acquired as soon as possible, as its advantages in everyday life could prove to be life-changing.
In order to become more resilient, in addition to some interesting training ways that will be covered later, there are some questions that should be asked in every situation.
The point of these questions is not only the assessment of the situation that is mentally and emotionally exhausting you but also to learn how to rewire your thinking and not let those situations get to you and put your mind in a state of disarray and imbalance.
You should learn these questions by heart so that you can remember to ask yourself the questions when you get into the situation that requires them.
A few important questions will be covered, keep in mind that there are a great number of questions that can help you as long as they have a similar premise.
The questions are as follows:
“Does my emotional reaction bring anything to the table in this situation?”
Whenever you get into a difficult situation, either at work or at home, and you get close to having an uncontrollable emotional reaction, this is the question you should ask yourself.
Emotional reactions can sometimes be of use, as one should not have any pent up anger or other emotions locked away in their minds, the goal is to know when to release them, and your workplace should not be that place.
There might be a number of reasons why you get into situations where your emotions get stirred up quite a bit; maybe your boss is giving you too much work or you are underappreciated by your team members and team leaders.
If that is the case, the emotional outburst is in no way beneficial to both you and your work colleagues. The takeaway here is to recognize the situation in which you sense your emotions boiling and quickly assess the situation and control the emotions that are close to erupting.
By doing that you are ranking the “blood-boiling” situations in your head, determining them as ones that are now worthy of having a reaction and slowly building mental resilience to other situations that you had deemed worthy of having a strong emotional reaction to.
It is a long process that will eventually help you to build resilience to the majority of the situations you find yourself in, but you have to take step by step.
The next question you should ask yourself to be more mentally resilient is:
“Do I have the endgame plan, what is there waiting for me at the finish line?”
This is one of the best questions you should ask yourself, not only in stressful situations but even in relaxing ones, and daily.
This question can be viewed as a sort of reminder to yourself and your reasons for doing what you do. Whenever a certain situation comes up to remember your goals will help you keep your eyes on the prize and focus on the long plan, not the moment.
Goals are important for many other things, but in the situation of building resilience, it will help you put your pride or unwarranted emotional distressing aside in order to achieve that final goal, may it be to become a leader of the team, or keeping the workplace harmony in balance, it is unimportant how big or small a goal might be, it is pivotal and of utmost importance to have one, so you can focus on it, and ignore or easily overcome obstacles and hurdles that are scattered along the way.
Another question that might help you become more resilient is:
“Is there a reason this person is trying to get under my skin and does this person deserve the satisfaction of me losing my cool?”
This one is a really good situational assessment question and one that is on the brink of being a philosophical one, so it will cool you down while you think about it.
Every person has, at some point in their life, encountered an annoying person, either at a college or work or in a mundane situation of everyday life.
In terms of the workplace, the colleague that seems to be extra annoying and throwing about some snarky remarks at your way is sure to put you in a state of imbalance.
The best thing is to ask yourself “why” is the colleague doing that.
By contemplating their actions and reasons you are putting your mind into a state of thinking about the reasons for this person’s actions toward you, and not on the words and sentences that were thrown at you.
In time, or if you find a reason why the colleague is being annoying, you will learn to give those words no meaning or weight, preparing yourself better for some other stressful situations.
To dwell a bit on the colleagues’ annoying remarks, there are a few reasons why the colleague is doing this.
Some of them range from the colleague linking the feeling of being better by putting other people down or trying to emotionally toss you around so that they can show themselves as being better, to simply being annoying by nature with no malicious agenda.
The main thing to remember here is that you will build resilience by either understanding his psychological need to throw snide remarks at you or by simply further developing your mental resilience to that point that their words do not even scrape you.
If you still have problems with that one annoying colleague, here is a good article about dealing with such people, especially in the workplace.
The following two questions are an excellent way to cope with situations that have surfaced and you had no control over. One of the questions that you should ask yourself is:
“Can this situation possibly turn out to be a good thing in the near future?”
This question not only boosts your mental resilience and focus by making you think more about the positive of future instead of the negatives of the present but it also makes you think more optimistically about the obstacles and hurdles that suddenly spring up on your way to success.
Just by thinking about this question, it will help you put aside your usual foreboding of the bad future based on a simple sudden hurdle, and help you focus more and bring you emotionally to a better level.
Even though according to Statista Surveys, a small number of Americans are pessimists, there is still a problem of the pessimistic effects in the workplace.
For some people, even a small hint of a problem can bring a huge amount of stress on them and make them more pessimistic about the future of a work project or a relationship.
In terms of a workplace, pessimistic tendencies and thoughts can bring a lot of disadvantages, some of them being bad work habits in terms of having low productivity and unfocused attention to the projects at hand; or a detrimental effect on your colleagues who might be brought down by your lack of energy or an abundance of negative energy, among other things.
By being aware that the situation is bad but thinking more about the future and the possibility that it may bring something better along the way is what makes you more mentally resilient and impenetrable to those small things that know to put your thoughts down into the gutter.
The final question that helps you in building your mind into a more resilient one is:
“What can I do to turn this situation over to my advantage? Is there a way to make this unplanned event into something that will be a good thing to myself and others?”
This question is the ultimate question that one can use to build resilience. It is usually the most important one due to its qualities of what this question brings to you as a person.
It makes you wonder about a solution, instead of worrying about the situation, making you more of a person of action.
It also boosts your determination to find a solution because it brings other people that you might care about into the fray, who may be affected by the situation and might depend on you to find a solution to the problem at hand.
In addition, it also stops you from looking at the problem from a pessimistic point of view, instead of opting out for a quick solution which boosts your optimistic view and capability to manage the problem to its solution.
Finally, it makes you more capable of finding solutions to future problems.
The combination of all these advantages is why asking yourself this question will definitely help you in building a more resilient mindset that can help you not only in a workplace but will also help you find solutions to problems that might occur in your private life.
ADDITIONAL WAYS OF IMPROVING YOUR RESILIENCE
In addition to the questions that have been covered in the text, there are many other ways one can improve their resilience through work and training.
An interesting way to build upon your resilience is working on some other skills that are considered to be support beams for resilience.
For example, there are a few pieces of state of mind that you should try and make it a habit. One of them is to always count on friends.
This one helps because it makes you not always rely on yourself and become a loner.
Relying on your friends is a great way to learn more about different approaches to different problems and it might help you secure those social bonds which make you more mentally tougher, so be comfortable with asking for opinions and help.
The next one is learning early to adapt when something unexpected happens.
The sooner you realize that unexpected setbacks and problems will arise, the sooner you will be ready for them, thus making you more mentally resilient.
Finally, learn to take bad with the good. Similar to the “expect the unexpected” part of the text, this mantra teaches you that bad things will happen, but that does not mean that it is the end of the world.
Put into your head that the bad is a good teacher that will prepare you better for future endeavors and all will be fine.
Another way of improving your resilience is through your everyday thinking.
Make your every day meaningful, learn to set goals no matter how small they are and achieve them. They will help you look toward the future with meaning.
Learn how to learn from you experiences. Remember those strategies that helped you through past experiences and learn to guide your future behavior.
And finally, be active. Active in the sense that you do not ignore your problems, but figure out the solutions, make plans and actions.
The more you teach yourself to take action, the better you overcome a setback or a major problem, in every sphere of life.
If you wish to learn about resilience and what exercises to do in order to improve it in much greater detail, this “Positive Psychology” article will cater to all your needs.
In this part of the text, you will find a few questions that you can answer to check whether you need more training on your resilience or are you well-off.
- In crisis situations, I find myself to be calm and collected, focusing on solutions.
This is the basic gauge of whether you are resilient or not. The strength of one’s resilience is gauged through situations where the unexpected happens and the way one tackles those problems.
- I easily adapt to new situations and quickly bounce back from difficulties.
Again, here you can see whether your adaptability is high enough that you can overcome any difficulty.
- I am fond of asking questions and learning something new, whether it be how something works or to learn a new way of doing things.
You should not be afraid of asking questions or asking someone for help. You should be able to learn from those experiences and avoid closing yourself into a self-working shelf, as it would bring you more difficulties and harm than good.
- I have on several occasions made good luck and benefits out of grave misfortunes.
Here you can find the ability of optimism and “taking action”. The setback will happen, but you must learn to analyze them in great detail and find the solutions to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
- I usually see any difficulty as a temporary event that will either pass or teach me to overcome it.
As previously said, difficulties are a normal part of everyday life. They should not make you worry about them and waste precious time that you can use on making them disappear.
- Others consider me good at solving problems and I am often asked to be on executive positions or other positions that involve leading teams of people.
This question should be the crown of your hard work and training on resilience. By being a resilient and capable person, there is a chance that someone will see your qualities and offer you a good position in a company.
That should be a good enough reason for putting yourself in situations where your resilience will be tested and upgraded through the experiences and overcoming the problems that have been thrown at you.
If the majority of these questions were answered positively by you, then you have a strong and resilient mind.
If the majority were negative answers, you should not worry because there is still a lot of time to teach yourself to be more capable and to become more imperturbable, both at the company you work for and your private life.
Resilience is a trait that is of utmost importance in every aspect of life. It is important to be more mentally capable to handle stressful situations, but the main advantage of being a resilient person is the road that you take to achieve it, as though that journey you will acquire a great number of skills that will help you along the way.
Every day of our lives is filled with problems, either in our private relationships and life or in our workplace.
The constant bombardment of problems happens everywhere and the ability to deflect those problems, analyze them, and overcome them can prove to be advantageous to virtually every person.
Always remember that there are a lot of factors that cause different reactions from different people, but also be aware that acquiring even the most basic level of resilience is a good start because the later levels and evolving will come naturally at its own leisurely pace, as long as you put your heart and mind into it.
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