At Positive Change Guru we’re sometimes asked whether mindfulness is harmful. It’s a sensible question and one which we’ll attempt to shed some light upon here.
Resilience: from the Latin word resilo – to jump back. The capacity to bounce back from adversity, adapt and succeed.
Embracing difficulty is key to resilience. But what is it? Resilience describes our ability to manage difficulties effectively rather than be overwhelmed when confronted by adversity. Perhaps one of the most profound definitions is from Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor and author of ‘Man’s search for Meaning”. ‘When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.’ It comes as no surprise that Frankl’s work has been modified and applied in a workplace setting. An increasing body of research suggests that resilience is also a valuable predictor of success. Penn Professor, Angela Lee-Duckworth’s research suggests that resilience is an even more accurate predictor of success than IQ. A heady claim for something we’re not taught in school. So what’s is it about resilience that makes it such an important differentiator? Lets find out.
Glenn Richardson, Professor and chair, Department of Health Promotion and Education, University of Utah describes resilience as mental toughness and encourages employees to think differently about how they view difficulty. When met by challenge, Richardson suggests that we develop the mindful habit of taking a moment of calm to support ourselves in developing resilience, by making a choice to work with our emotions to accept failure and examine what we can learn from it. This presents a very different approach to turning away from difficulty to get the job done which employees are sometimes forced into doing by workplace pressures. Dr Gregg Steinberg suggests that challenge and adversity can develop emotional intelligence and grit, enabling people to bounce back to an even higher level of resilience than before. For Steinberg, adversity creates and shines a light upon what is missing in life, highlighting what we need to be more successful and happier. Watch Gregg talking about ‘Falling Up’ in our ’10 Best Resilience Videos’ blog. You might be asking yourself how you can turn towards difficulty or failure when your natural response is to turn away, run for the hills and avoid it. Resilience is a skill that can be learned and you can begin to work out your resiliency muscles right now. The next time you face adversity, try the following;
Embed calm checkpoints into your day.
Take a moment to notice what’s happening. Breathe and sit with what is there for you in that moment.
Known as ‘Affect Labelling’ this is where you identify the emotion. Try saying to yourself “Hello anxiety” if that’s what you’re feeling. Recognising and naming the emotion makes a distinction; you are experiencing anxiety rather than labeling yourself as an anxious person.
Work with what shows up.
As human beings we typically move towards what feels good and avoid what doesn’t, frequently missing what we feel neutral towards. Instead of moving toward the positive or trying to push difficult emotions away, bring a gentle curiosity to both. Notice your reaction without judging it. Reflect on the nuances of perceptions of positive, negative and neutral. Is there an associated response in the body? Tension or lightness? Bring mindful awareness to whatever arises.
It’s not Forever.
Recognising the impermanence of all emotions is key. Mindfulness teaches us that emotions are just mental events with a short life span. Ask yourself what you need in order to manage that emotion in this moment.
Reflect on what is really going on for you. Is there historical stuff or emotional baggage that has led to this emotion? Your response might be appropriate, now you’ve investigated you’re in a better position to choose how to respond effectively and skillfully.
Practice on a regular basis.
When you develop the capacity to face difficulty you are able to make more skillful choices. Mindful awareness of challenging situations gives us the opportunity to defuse difficult thoughts and emotions and create distance. With that distance we can choose our response rather than falling into habitual knee – jerk reactions.
Difficulty is part of life, it isn’t going anywhere soon but the good new is that resilience isn’t an absolute. Changing over time it can grow, be learned and developed. For more information on how to build your resilience check out our other blogs, our free ‘Build Your Resilience’ webinar or come to one of our resilience training courses, we’d love to see you there!
To find out more about building resilience or resilience training contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How long do you have before you’ve made an impression? A day? An hour? 3 minutes? Incredibly research shows that it’s less than a second. Yes. A second. The rest of that second we spend looking for evidence that our initial assessment was right. We concentrate between 70% to 80% of our attention on non verbal communication so it’s crucial that your body language matches the words coming out of your mouth. Congruence is key.
Without the right non – verbals all of your influence, persuasion and assertiveness strategies are wasted, leaving you, well, looking like a bit of a pushover. Judging a book by it’s cover seems a little unfair to us so we’ve put together 5 tips to help you look like you mean business.
So what can you do to maximise your personal impact and truly look like you mean what you say?
Eye contact is one of the cornerstones of assertiveness. Look away too often and it lacks confidence, revealing your anxiety. Making strong eye contact, breaking it briefly every now and again to keep it natural is a much more confident start. If you find eye contact difficult, or if you’re met with a stoney stare cyborg style, stand your ground by aiming for a soft gaze between the eyes of the person you’re talking to. It will take the sting out of meeting their gaze for you and they won’t notice the difference.
Shouting is a huge no (you’ll lose credibility) whispering is just as bad (nobody will hear you) and it projects a lack of confidence. Aim for the middle ground, a calm, well modulated voice commands respect and demonstrates your self assurance. Remember to breathe steadily to reduce the physical symptoms of stress and prevent your voice from wobbling or trembling . Take a look at our mindfulness blogs for more tips and stress reduction strategies to keep you pitch perfect.
Use your hands to add authority to the points that you make during conversation. Affirmative hand gestures will add gravitas as you speak and stop you from fiddling with clothes, tapping pens or anything else which might act as anxiety ‘tells’ detracting from your words. Interlock your figures into a steepling gesture for maximum impact and a clever technique to prevent your fingers from faffing nervously.
Make yourself bigger. No, we don’t mean loom over your prey with menace when you want to be assertive, that’s just rude (and aggressive). Inhabit your space. Bring your awareness to what you’re doing with your body. Aim for open gestures. If you catch yourself making yourself look smaller, excusing yourself by crossing your arms or wringing your hands, pause. Open up your gestures instead for more confident presence. When you’re nervous your shoulders move up towards your ears as tension takes hold. Relax your shoulders and keep your head high. Now you look like you mean business.
Now feet. Yes, we said feet, the number one giveaway for anxiety. Think about what you’re doing with them. Are you tapping them, shuffling from side to side or nervously moving your legs? Both are telltale anxiety indicators and give the green light that you’re not sure of yourself. We say stamp that out and project self assurance instead. If you’re standing keep your feet hip width apart, knees relaxed for a strong, confident posture that will prevent you from shuffling or foot tapping and ground your core. If you’re sitting down, cross your legs or place them together to one side. Now you’ve got your non – verbal communication sorted you can get down to the business of really communicating your opinions, feelings and needs with self assurance
Want to find out more? Check out our Essential Assertiveness course on 8th December in London on our ‘Events’ page. We’d love to see you there! https://positivechangeguru.com/events/practical-asse-course-london/
It’s something that we’ve never been taught to access but the mind body connection is a powerful source of wisdom. The mind and body need to work together for us to be fully centred and embrace change. Here are 4 ways to unlock the mind body connection.