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Resilience: 5 tips to improve performance

Research suggests that mental ill-health is responsible for 72 million lost working days and costs of £34.9 billion each year. Resilience or our ability to recover from or adjust easily to change is essential in preventing and reducing the severity of mental health problems. What’s more, it helps us perform in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment.

Someone who is resilient will be able to operate at the top of their game, adapt easily, cope effectively with the pressures of everyday life and recover quickly when life throws us a curve ball. 

While resilience is impacted by our genes and life experience, it’s also a skill that can be developed. 

Resilient individuals are able to maintain or regain balance effectively, to do so you need to be able to recognise the early warning signs of stress. So, these signs; the body’s way of telling you that you need to listen and take action are simple to spot and act upon. You can do it right now:

  1. How is your energy?

Exhausted and in need of a holiday or energised and ready to go?

If it is the former, get up and move. Research proves by shifting your posture into what is known as a high power pose you can raise your testosterone levels by 20%, and reduce cortisol levels by 25% within 2 minutes, increasing your feel-good factor and enabling you to deal with stress.

Check this research on body poses to discover more. Also, check that you are using your full annual leave entitlement.

  1. How is your body?

Do your back, neck or shoulders ache? Is your brow furrowed, your jaw clenched, or your stomach tense, or do you feel good? Noticing when your body is tense is the first step to being able to do something about it.

Practice a simple body scan to enable you to do this.

Place your attention in each area of your body in turn, noticing any sensations as you do so.

Begin with your feet, then, allow your focus to move up through your legs, into your stomach, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, and fingertips.

Shift your attention to your head and scalp, then down to your forehead, eyes, and jaw, back down into your neck, and down into your spine.

Deliberately, consciously, allow each area to relax.

  1. How are you breathing?

Are you breathing fast and shallowly from your upper chest?

Are your shoulders moving?

Or are you breathing using your diaphragm and allowing your stomach to expand and contract?

Breathing from your upper chest, can be a sign of stress or anxiety and releases stress chemicals into your system.

To rebalance and calm your body and mind, practice abdominal breathing. Imagine shifting your breath down into your stomach and lower back, and simply breathe in slowly for a count of 4 and out for a count of 6.

  1. How is your mind?

Are your thoughts disjointed and running fast?

Do you feel overwhelmed? Or are you clear-headed and logical?

If the former, simply slow the voice in your head. Notice any personal disaster movies you may be running and starring in.

How would it be if you imagined switching off the negative soundtrack?

What happens when you no longer pay attention to those negative thoughts?

How much easier does it make life?

  1. How is your mood?

Are you tetchy and short-tempered? Or are you calm and level, with a sense of humour intact?

Interestingly we can all choose our mood. The traffic, the difficult client or colleague, none of these things can actually press our buttons (we don’t have any!) or wind us up (where is the handle?) unless we let them. The question to ask about the mood you find yourself in, is not is it right or wrong, but is it useful?

Is it useful to turn up at that meeting feeling frazzled because the train was delayed or WiFi was playing up?

Is it useful to feel annoyed because your client or colleague is difficult to work with?

Does it help get the job done, or achieve the result you want? If not, what mood would be more useful?

Please get in touch with Abby Hodder @ [email protected] to find out about our Wellbeing courses.

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