Seven Tips for Cultivating Resilience: Part Two
This is the second of a three-part series that spotlights our consultants’ observations about cultivating resilience. In part one, their insights focused on the first three of these seven tips:
- Be attached, but not too attached.
- Keep learning.
- Accept help when it’s needed.
- Stay in the moment.
- Develop both mind and body.
- Maintain an attitude of gratitude.
- Follow a routine to close each day.
While there is a genetic component in the ability of a person to bounce back in healthy ways from negative situations and stressors, research is indicating that we can train our brains and bodies to improve resilience. The next two of our seven tips to help leaders cultivate resilience are recommended parts of that training.
Stay in the moment.
Be here now.
One approach to cultivating resilience is to be fully present in daily activities. Too often leaders devote time to thinking and worrying about work when they are away from the office, or about home when they are at work. This can substantially add to stress. While you may need some practice, being fully present can help a person to maximize the opportunity in every moment and to have more impact on life.
Set yourself up to stay in the moment.
It’s so easy in this era of competing demands to be constantly thinking about the next thing versus really soaking in and engaging in the moment that we are in. It’s important to create “policies” for yourself to help achieve resilience by staying present. For example, when I spend time with my daughter, I put my phone aside completely and focus fully on her and what she needs. I find that by doing this I feel a deeper sense of connection and achievement. Without this everything can feel like a task rather than a moment to replenish and have a sense of impact.
Develop mind and body.
Build and maintain physical resilience.
Central to resilience is our ability to increase our capacity for stress and how quickly we can recover from it. On the physical side, getting enough sleep, eating mostly healthy foods, monitoring caffeine and alcohol consumption, and staying in motion throughout the day are all important. Also important is building physical resilience by increasing metabolic activity. Resistance training (e.g., weightlifting) and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) are two great ways to increase physical resilience. These types of workouts, when combined with adequate recovery, build our physical house so that we can be emotionally centered, mentally present, and acting in ways that align with our goals.
Master managing your physiology and emotions.
Resilience is about being able to go harder, faster, longer and recover more quickly, and controlling your physiology to stay positively activated is important. With practice you can notice your emotional state and shift quickly to a more positive state. Using a technique to take a perspective on your perspective is key to shifting from reacting to mindfully responding. The first step is to focus on your breathing. Rhythmic and even, diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to reset your physiology to a neutral or positive state. The second step is to observe yourself; completing the phrase “Look at me ____” can help you shift your perceptual position. For example, “Look at me getting upset/frustrated/anxious/excited.” Once we are observing the state, we are better placed to stop and shift to a more useful state.
In the third and final installment of “Seven Tips for Cultivating Resilience,” we will consider gratitude and a key routine as tools for staying centered and able to bounce back.