Building Resilience

We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our normal limits and then recovering. 

I am going in my first endurance cross country mountain bike race in 4 weeks time and I have been focusing on increasing my physical training to successfully complete the race distance within a given time.  Initially, the longer distances made me quite tired afterwards.  Now, as my training is progressing I can do more and have more constant energy and am recovering faster.

We all know the benefits of physical training to condition our bodies to achieve a set physical goal.  Elite athletes train by extending their physical training and then having recovery time.  Fitness is measured in recovery.  Resilience can be defined as the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.  Resilience, like fitness, is measured in recovery and is therefore analogous to “emotional fitness”

When it comes to our emotional resilience we are often victims of conditioning.  The large majority of our thought patterns and behaviours (over 95%) are based on our conditioning.  When faced with negative circumstances resilience people are conditioned to more forward despite them.  This conditioning can be learned and practiced and increases our resilience to face any situation we might face.

The balance between expending energy of recovery is the key to fitness, wellbeing and resilience.  Expending energy occurs physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Systematic exposure to stress and then recovery is the basis of resilience.

According to Connor (1993), resilient people:

  • Are positive – they display a sense of security and self-assurance that is based on their view of life as complex but filled with opportunity
  • Are focused – they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve
  • Are flexible – they demonstrate  a special pliability when responding to uncertainty
  • Are organised – they develop structured  approaches to managing ambiguity
  • Are proactive – they engage change rather than defend against it

When people are very resilient they tend to recover from challenge / stress more easily and faster.  This applies to physical endeavours and emotional challenges.  The good news is you can build your resilience by increasing and enhancing the positive aspects in your life.  Some ideas that have worked really well for me are:

  • Focus on what you what
    • When we focus on what we want rather than what we don’t want we run those neural pathways and prime our brain for success
    • Identify and harness your strengths
      • Make a list of all of your positive strengths and then read it regularly – affirm yourself
    • Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone
      • Doing things that challenge you and having success/wins has a very high correlation with resilience (hence the bike race!)
    • Foster positive satisfying relationships with family and friends
      • Sharing our lives with others creates support networks and provides us with greater meaning and value
    • Commit to regular physical exercise
      • This builds strength and stamina which is vital for resilience.  It also releases natural endorphins – our feel good chemicals
    • Meditate or relax daily
      • Daily mediation, breathing exercises, listening to 60 beats per minute music or any other relaxation techniques help us stay calm under pressure
    • Take a helicopter view of situations
      • Learn to detach by considering any situation from the perspective of being a wise sage.  Look for the positive benefits.
    • Get rid of sabotaging limiting beliefs
      • This just hold us back from being our magnificent self.  Flip negative beeleifs and affirm the positive opposite and then repeat, repeat, repeat!
    • Live your passion
      • When we live our purpose and do what we are here to do and make decisions based on our values – from a position of what is most important to us –  we build resilience

I recommend that you take any one of these and focus on it for a few days and then add another one.  To prepare for my first bike race I am applying all of these strategies in ways that will assist me to be as resilient as I can be for the race – I’ll let you know how it goes!

If you would like to determine your Resilience Quotent please follow link to the Resilience Inventory on my website – Enjoy!


 I have so much to do today I will need to meditate twice as long – Gandhi

Posted in On Success