3 ways to boost & build resilience
Bettina Falkenberg an Advanced Accredited EFT Practitioner, NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapist shares her 3 daily habits that will help you boost and build resilience.
Resilience is a buzz word in the world of well-being these days; but it is also considered helpful, even necessary, for many from schoolchildren, to students, corporates, sportspeople and politicians.
Everybody needs resilience and everybody wants more of it. But what is it and what does it do for us?
Resilience is defined as:
- the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties - toughness
- the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape – elasticity
So, how can we increase our own level of resilience?
Truth is that even if life goes swimmingly - we look after ourselves, exercise, eat healthily, sleep well, meditate - life has the habit of occasionally throwing spanners in the works.
Losing a job, relationship break-ups, being overlooked for promotion again, getting a phone call from the doctor that something is not quite right, all these things have the potential to knock us for 6.
The big shocks in life, yes, they will still be hard to overcome, but being resilient means we give ourselves the chance of bouncing back quicker and better. And having resilience means we won’t get knocked for 6 by something that isn’t worth it in the grand scheme of things.
Nurture or Nature
Psychological studies have shown that being resilient may protect against developing PTSD after experiencing traumatic events.
While everybody is born with a certain amount of resilience - science suggests that genetic factors influence our level of resilience - environmental factors and life experiences determine how resilient we really, are and the good news is that just like muscles, resilience can be exercised and built up.
Psychology websites advise that, in order to be more resilient, we need to embrace change; have strong support networks; be optimistic, and nurture and know ourselves.
That’s all well and good but in times of crisis that’s easier said than done. Take, for example, someone who’s just lost their job and is terrified about their financial future. How likely are they to embrace their predicament and view it as an opportunity?
At times like this, it’s common to feel consumed with negativity and paralysed with fear; especially if that’s how you’ve been brought up.
Here are three simple practices to boost and build your resilience.
They have all made a massive difference in the way I see the world and react to setbacks and challenges. Best of all they are easy to integrate into your day, take no or little time and don’t require you to dedicate specific time for them in your already busy diary.
1. Finger tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Time needed: none
When: whenever your hands are free
I am a tapper hence tapping had to feature on this list, especially as it is the easiest of my recommendations. When we tap the Autonomic Nervous System gets the message to calm down and relax and tapping continuously had led to me being less tense and generally calmer.
A few years ago, Steve Wells from EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Downunder introduced me to Continuous Finger Tapping. Steve had developed the habit of tapping with his thumb on the sides of his other fingers while walking the dog. This is not something that is part of standard EFT training, I hadn’t come across this practice before but Steve swore by it, so I thought I’d give I go. I began tapping on my fingers while watching telly; I didn’t need to pay attention to it, I do it on autopilot when my hands are free.
Shown are tapping points on the right hand, they are mirrored on the left hand. You can tap on all or just some of them.
I used to have a rather irritating habit since early childhood, a nervous tick, which I hadn’t been able to get rid of. I used to knead my right ear in a way that left it red, inflamed and painful. I mainly did it when I was nervous, tense or simply bored. You can imagine how gobsmacked I was when, a few weeks after starting finger tapping, I realised I didn’t torture my poor ear anymore. I’ve never done it since, the urge has simply disappeared. And I hadn’t simply exchanged one addiction with another, less painful one. I don’t have an urge to tap my fingers, I simply do it when my hands are not busy.
2. Practising Gratitude
Time needed: 5 minutes
When: before going to sleep
Looking for three things you are grateful for at the end of the day helps you to change your perception of life.
Even if your day has been truly awful, you are still lying in a warm bed with a roof over your head. If the thought of what tomorrow will bring worries you, right now you have something to appreciate.
You may want to use a gratitude diary in which you write three things that you are grateful for today. The act of writing your thoughts down is important; you have to think a bit harder about what to write and how to choose your words.
It’s more powerful than just letting thoughts pass through your mind fleetingly. It also engages different parts of the brain which means that more of your brain is engaged in the act of being grateful.
It’s even better to talk out loud; perhaps record your words of gratitude on your phone or exchange them with your other half before going to sleep. Tell them what you’re grateful for and have them say it back to you.
Brene Brown of TED Talk fame practices gratitude at the dinner table; everybody at the table shares what they appreciated today or what brought them joy.
Once you practice gratitude actively, you’ll begin to look out for joyful moments during your day, you’ll notice things you may have overlooked or taken for granted before; the song of a bird, a late rose, the smile of a stranger, a surprise seat on the commuter train.
Being mindful of such moments will make them more prominent in your perception and they’ll take up more space in your day to day experience. Practising gratitude will change your reality to a more joyful one and perhaps you’ll conclude at the end of the day that it really wasn’t such a bad one.
3. Mirror Work
Time needed: 10 seconds
When: every time you are in the bathroom
Since Louise Hay first published her book ‘Mirror Work – 21 Days to Heal Your Life’ in 1984, the bathroom mirror has become a staple tool for personal transformation.
I often give mirror work as homework for my clients, but, in practice, I’ve found that the way Hay prescribes it is too intense for most people, so they quickly abandon the exercises.
Unlike Hay’s, my way of doing it doesn’t take time, so you won’t need to find a 30-minute slot in your day to do it in.
Whenever you find yourself in front of a bathroom mirror, take a moment to look into your eyes. Not at your hair or make-up, just into your eyes.
Look into them as if you were reassuring your best friend, sister or child. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter whether your hair is perfect or whether you look tired or stressed. Just lock eyes with the person staring back at you, and send yourself the message, “I am here, I see you, I won’t go anywhere”. You don’t need to speak out loud; the intention is in your eyes. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds.
I started doing this when I had a broken heart. Finding myself fighting back the tears at work, at points throughout the day, I’d flee to the bathroom and share these moments of kindness and compassion with myself. It didn’t take long before I found myself winking at the girl in the mirror; “We’re alright, you go, babes”.
Stop should-ing yourself
There are many other practices that will support your emotional balance and help you face what life throws at you in a more relaxed and positive way.
I have chosen these three because all of them have made a lasting and profound impact on my life and none of them take time or becomes a “chore”. Often I hear people say with a sigh, “I am not doing my daily mediation anymore, I need to start it again”, or “I really should take up Yoga”. The only thing you should do is stop “shoulding” yourself. But that’s another blog.
A little about Bettina Falkenberg
I am an experienced EFTi (formerly AAMET) Advanced Accredited EFT Practitioner, Trainer (NQT) and Mentor, NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapist. I hold Diplomas in Integrated Energy Techniques and Energy Healing. I have been on a journey of personal growth and development for over 20 years which has taught me how to deal with my own challenges and demons. I specialise in supporting clients with serious disease and complex issues.