How to find resilience during a crisis
A home retreating tip from Josh Dickson, founder of Resurface Retreats
Believing that you have the resilience skills to succeed and keep going, as well as maintaining an open mindset, will enable you to survive, remain productive and even start to flourish during these extremely difficult and testing times.
So what is resilience? The dictionary defines it as “the ability to recover from difficult conditions”. In psychology we tend to think of resilience as the ability to successfully draw upon both internal and external resources in a time of intense pressure.
So how do we become more resilient?
- Becoming more resilient requires awareness of your resources, accepting that they are reachable, and acting upon them. So it is worth sitting down and writing out all of your resources, as this can both alleviate anxiety – you will usually be surprised by how many more you have than you thought- and then ask yourself where your deficits lie: either in the amount of resources you identify, or your ability to act on them.
- Internal resources that you can use include: practicing gratitude; remembering past times of mastery and pride in your life (such as recalling small victories in work and play) and then reliving them in mind using active visualisations); cognitive techniques such as reframing (see Martin Seligman’s Learned Optimism); breathwork (such as resonant breathing or box breathing); savouring skills (see Barbara Frederickson’s Positivity); identifying your character strengths (via strengths tests); and sentence completion work (see Nathaniel Branden’s Six Pillars of Self-Esteem). Another useful book on internal resourcing is Carol Dweck’s Mindset.
- External resources include yoga classes, martial arts, qigong, meditation classes, close friends, trusted family members, the gym, Heart Rate Variance (HRV) tools like Heartmath, teachers, therapists and psychologists, doctors, wellness apps (Flourish, Headspace, Oak), biofeedback devices (Oura ring, Fitbit) and Neurofeedback devices (Muse, Halo).
- Don’t forget the importance of sleep, exercise and good nutrition as the bedrock for a resilient lifestyle too.
- Using your resources is essential in stopping yourself slipping into the negative thinking patterns that can lead to depression (such as ‘I am not in control’, ‘I am helpless’, ‘I am weak, ‘I cannot cope’), further isolation and poor mental health. Identify what you have, and what you need to fill the gaps, and take it from there.
More about Josh Dickson & Resurface Retreats
Joshua Dickson is a UK-based practising trauma therapist and clinical psychologist with a great deal of experience in treating anxiety, depression, relational issues and addiction. His Resurface Retreats are a roster of surfing-centered group therapy retreats that focus on Positive Psychology, Trauma Resolution or Creativity in Morocco and the UK, and are a recharge for life and a launch-pad for life-change. Contact him to plan ahead for a private or group retreat in a post-COVID 19 world.