Month: October 2015

Have fun de-stressing!

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Relaxation produces a quiet body and a calm mind. The physical and mental aspects of relaxation counteract the body’s stress response.  If you normally live with a high degree of tension, you are more likely to experience problems when additional stresses occur. You can lower your general level of tension by practicing regular relaxation techniques that help protect you from the ill-effects of stress.

Effective relaxation techniques practiced on a regular basis build your resilience. Practices such as meditation, breathing techniques, yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong have an extensively documented evidence-base of benefits.

Ideas of simple enjoyable activities to consider including in your daily and weekly schedule: 

  • Listen to some relaxing music
  • Get a regular massage
  • Learn about aromatherapy
  • Bake a cake with your family
  • Say good morning to your neighbours on the way to work
  • Get into gardening
  • Watch a good movie
  • Walk your dog every day or volunteer to walk a neighbour’s dog weekly
  • Read a good book
  • Play a regular sport
  • Phone a friend for no other reason than to say hello and check in on their wellbeing
  • Do some stretches while at work
  • Subscribe to a guided meditation app
  • Read your favourite magazine
  • Play a board game with a friend
  • Take a regular walk in your neighbourhood through a park or by the water
  • Walk up a hill or climb a mountain and enjoy the view
  • Sing in the shower
  • Make sure you get enough sleep every night
  • Learn about the pressure points of the body and massage them
  • Get out of the office for lunch
  • Eat dinner at the table with friends and family with all entertainment devices switched off
  • Put a plant in your office
  • At the end of each day, write down 3 good things – keep a journal for 3 months
  • Buy a set of juggling balls and practice your juggling
  • Learn a muscle relaxation technique
  • Ring up a friend and initiate a fun activity
  • Stop and smell the roses!

Let us buy you a coffee to discuss where you are at with your wellbeing and resilience journey and how we might be able to collaborate – contact Fleur@blueberryinstitute.com  or 0404 559 244

Find the PDF for this blog on our home page

Emotional Intelligence and Resilience

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Every one of us has different challenges to meet and difficult situations to deal with both personally and professionally.  Resilient people are able to utilise their skills and strengths to cope and recover from problems and challenges. Resilience does not eliminate stress or erase life’s difficulties. What it does do is give people the strength to tackle problems head on, overcome adversity and move on with their lives.

There is no instant antidote to dealing with stressful situations; there is only experience and the gradual development of resilience skill. Effectively understanding and choosing how we think, feel and act directly impacts on our concept of self-belief and self-reliance and ultimately resilience.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to have self-awareness and self-management of emotions combined with the skill to recognise, identify, assess and interpret the emotions of others. This ability to understand ourselves gives us the power to positively influence our own behaviour and the behaviour of others. Emotional Intelligence is essentially a framework for understanding and connecting with:

  • Emotions and their triggers
  • Emotions and cognitive thought, and
  • Feelings and their translation into behaviours

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is increasingly valued as an asset because it empowers us with the ability to understand how we are perceived by others and how our actions and behaviours impact upon others. EI skills also allow us to understand and handle other people and their feelings.

We can tap in to the Emotional Intelligence pillars of self-awareness and self-regulation to build our resilience:

  1. Self-awareness lets us recognise when distressing thoughts and feelings are beginning to build.
  2. Self-regulation helps us choose how to respond to stressful events so we don’t end up being emotionally hijacked.

7 strategies for developing a resilient mindset include:

  1. Shaping your sense of control: being aware of what is within your control, recognising what is beyond your control, and learning to let go of things outside of your control;
  2. Maintaining a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualising what you wish;
  3. Avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems;
  4. Holding the belief that there is something you can do to manage your feelings and cope;
  5. Keeping a long-term perspective and considering stressful events in a broader context;
  6. Proactively deciding how to deal with strain and pressure before they escalate into negative stressors.
  7. Practicing, practicing, practicing approaches, responses, thoughts and attitudes that increase resilience.

Effectively understanding and choosing how we think, feel and act can result in increased resilience in many aspects of our lives such as energy, positivity, coping, relationships and integrity. ­

Resilience is a practiced art; we need to practice resilience to further develop our natural reservoirs of resiliency.

Let us buy you a coffee to discuss where you are at with your wellbeing and resilience journey and how we might be able to collaborate – contact Fleur@blueberryinstitute.com  or 0404 559 244

Find the PDF for this blog on our home page

Understanding resilience

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Resilient people are able to utilise their skills and strengths to cope and recover from problems and challenges. Resilience does not eliminate stress or erase life’s difficulties. What it does do though is give people the strength to tackle problems head on, overcome adversity and move on with their lives.

There is a huge diversity and complexity of definitions, concepts and approaches used, but the following captures the essence of resilience succinctly:

           ‘the successful adaptation to life tasks in the face of social disadvantage or highly adverse conditions’ (Windle 1999, p163).

A consistent theme among the range of definitions of resilience is a sense of adaptation, recovery and bounce back despite adversity or change.

Resilience is contextual in many ways and is variable across time, life stage and circumstance.

Resilience is a skill that can develop or diminish depending on how we deploy it.

Some individuals have personality traits that help them come by these abilities naturally, but all people have the capability to learn the skills that it takes to become more resilient. How we develop and hone this skill is what sets us apart as individuals. Individually we are resilient on different levels and have unique reserves of tolerance that we can deploy to become more resilient.

Cultivating resilience will improve our ability to:

  • Quickly adapt in times of change
  • Cope with constant disruption
  • Thrive when you are under the pump
  • Retain a balanced approach to life
  • Maintain your energy levels and zest for life

Some strategies for building resilience

There is no instant antidote to dealing with stressful situations; there is only experience and the gradual development of resilience skills. Resilience is a practiced art; we need to practice resilience to further develop our natural reservoirs of resiliency.

  1. Staying connected to others. Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of crisis. It is important to have people you can confide in. While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one will not make troubles go away, it allows you to share your feelings, gain support, receive positive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to your problems.

On a practical level connections often lead to opportunities, but connecting to others also allows us to recognise that people see us much more widely than the person with a problem. Seeing ourselves reflected in others eyes helps to put the difficulty into a different place.

  1. Doing things that we enjoy. Research has shown that people who carried on doing some leisure activity during a time of difficulty recover more quickly, because the activity both provides enjoyment and provides a respite from their normal thoughts.
  1. Writing down our thoughts. Keeping a journal is a valuable way of getting on paper what is filling up our head, and then being able to look at it with objectivity. The journal also allows for recognising when things are changing, and to see that resilience is not a fixed state, it ebbs and flows.

When we are in the middle of a tough time, we often only recognise the ‘bad days’ but it is equally important to acknowledge the better days. Acknowledge what we are grateful for and happy about.

  1. Develop problem solving skills. Research suggests that people who are able come up with solutions to a problem are better able to cope with problems than those who cannot.

Whenever encountering a new challenge, make a quick list of some of the potential ways to solve the problem. Experiment with different strategies and focus on developing a logical way to work through common problems.

  1. Focus on what is in your control. One might not be in a position to decide what the outcome will be, or have any control over the situation.  Let go of what can’t be controlled and focus on what can be controlled – at the very least we can choose how we react to a situation.  In “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor shares a powerful message of hope and resilience in horrifying adversity.
  1. Acknowledging the small wins that often pass unnoticed. During tough times it is important to acknowledge our strengths and what we are doing well. This builds our confidence, our sense of capability, and provides us with motivation and momentum to tackle the tougher challenges.
  1. Noticing and being in the present. When we are not feeling resilient we can spend our time either looking backwards on what could have been, or looking forward and only seeing relentless difficulty. Being in the present means noticing what is OK right now.

That isn’t to deny the reality of the situation e.g. it is tough to lose one’s job, or to have one’s hoped for career future taken away, but it is also important to notice what is happening each day that tells you that life is still good. Having more time for one’s children, partner or parent; being able to help out on school trips; not having to wear a suit; noticing you have been able to read a book without falling asleep.

Let us buy you a coffee to discuss where you are at with your wellbeing and resilience journey and how we might be able to collaborate – contact Fleur@blueberryinstitute.com  or 0404 559 244

Find the PDF for this blog on our home page

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