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Some people view Resilience as toughness or strength. We think of something like an iron bar as being stronger and therefore more resilient than say aluminium tubing. The aluminium tubing will bend and often be seen as less resilient than the iron bar, which will hold its form.

Others view Resilience like a natural malleable function function (the opposite of holding form). A popular analogy is the tree that can bend with the prevailing wind and remains in the soil. Comparisons with the stronger and tougher hardwoods that cannot bend and ultimately crack and break when the wind eventually applies more force than they can handle.

So in our mind (and popular culture) we often hold two conflicting views of resilience, something that holds its form and something that bends its form.

These conflicting views of Resilience do little to help people apply Resilience to their everyday life.

A preferential way to view Resilience (because we are not iron or trees) is to think of the areas you can promote Resilience instead.

There are 4 key areas of Resilience:

1. Physical Resilience (This area of Resilience is the closest approximation to the common analogies of iron bars or bendy trees, but again is not useful unless you have a context).

2. Mental Resilience. This area of Resilience is deeply integrated with time. You may have the ability to concentrate for great lengths of time and that is definitely a form of mental resilience. You may have the ability to ignore feedback and maintain you own sense of self-identity and this too is definitely a form of Resilience. However, some of the greatest minds who had confidence in who they were and the ability to concentrate (like Winston Churchill) can still succumb to “the black dog” of depression. So Mental Resilience is not a product of identity, concentration powers, or happiness.

3. Emotional Resilience. This area of Resilience is not related to happiness. As stated above there are people who are great leaders, great thinkers, huge positive influences in our history but are not emotionally always happy.

4. Social Resilience. Lets be really clear Social Resilience has nothing to do with Social Media. This area of Resilience is not about the number of people you have in your facebook group or the number of followers you have in your twitter conversations. Heck its not even the number of recommendations or referrals you have on your LinkedIn profile.

So we know that there are 4 areas of Resilience and we know a bit more about what is not important in these areas. So what is important in each of these 4 areas of Resilience.

Here are 4 (one for each area) instantly implementable things you can do to improve the Resilience of your life. As a side benefit you will also improve the quality of your life and experience.

1. Breath consciously for 1 minute right now.

Breath in deep, hold it……release it.

Feel the air through your mouth and nose, does it feel warm or cold?
Does it fill your chest in balance or is it lop-sided – filling your left or right lung first?
When you exhale do you do this at the same speed as you inhale?
Repeat the process and notice any changes.

1-minute, that’s all we are asking of you, but the result will be lasting for the whole day.

2. Use cross-training brain activities.

It’s not hard, here is a simple exercise…

List 3 things you want in your life, big or small. It could be:
i) World peace
ii) Ice cream and
iii) More time.

Next to each draw a representation of each.
i) World peace → V
ii) Ice cream and →∇
iii) More time → 1, 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5…

3. Go and look out a window

Yep, that’s right, it’s that simple. Go and look out a window. If you’re already outside, look up and see the clouds moving, or the leaves of a tree.

4. Say “thank you” (and mean it) to the next person you interact with.

It’s that simple. Expressing gratitude for what you already have is the simplest, surest, easiest and best way of experiencing Social Resilience.

If someone is annoying still say “thank you” it will piss them off and make you feel better.
If someone is good to you still say “thank you” it will make their day and yours.
If someone is ‘just doing their job’ still say “thank you”. Recognition is right up there with financial reward when it comes to what people value about work.

These 4 simple things: Breathing, using both sides of your brain, connecting with the world and expressing gratitude will build your Resilience. Oh and they’re free and fun.

Andrew Ward