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Manage Uncertainty with Resilience

Uncertainty has certainly become prominent in our lives thanks to Covid-19.  This pandemic has forced us into new ways of living and working.

It’s not a nice feeling – Uncertainty!  And depending on your personal situation it can be an awful feeling that can range from frustration through to fear.  All made worse by the length of time you have to navigate that uncertainty.

But uncertainty is always around us.  This is not a new feeling.

Have you ever looked back at trying times in your past and wondered how you coped?  Marvelled at how you adapted the the new situation you found yourself in?  Or surprised yourself by how quickly you bounced back?  That was your resilience.  It is built upon four main states – physical, spiritual, mental and emotional.  Depending on your circumstances you will draw upon one or more of these states to support you during difficult uncertain times.  The good news is resilience is a skill and you can build it up.

So how does resilience help with uncertainty?  It cannot solve the unanswerable.  It cannot control the uncontrollable.  But what it can do is help you to process the situation you find yourself in, in a more balanced way.  This will in turn support you in responding to your environment; to adapt to it, or to bounce back.  Rather than getting stuck, frozen by the uncertainty, you will find you can start to make small changes to move forward again.

Below are two simple exercises that we teach to help build resilience that you may find useful at this time.

1. Mental Balance

One of my favourite NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques is to be able to access a resourceful state, such as calmness, feeling confident or less stressed, whenever we need it.

To do this you can us a technique called Anchoring.  This is often used by sports people who need to get themselves into a state of winning, competing and success.

    • Step 1 – think of a time in the past when you were in this resourceful state, i.e. state of calm.  Run through it in your mind like a film, remembering the people, the sensations, the smells, the feelings and try to ‘re live’ that time as if you are back there living this memory now.
      As soon as you really are in touch with that state, i.e. you feel really calm, squeeze your thumb and forefinger together.  That is your anchor!  Of course you might have other anchors that you would like to use such as holding your ear lobe or clenching your fist.  It will be a movement (or sound, or image) that you can access quickly when you need it.
    • Step 2 – now think of another time in your life when you were calm and re-run the activity.  Again, as soon as you feel calm then anchor that memory with your chosen movement (or sound, or image).
    • Step 3 – repeat it again.  There is power in repetition.

Now you have anchored a state of calmness, you can access that state quickly by repeating the anchoring action (or sound, or visualising the image).

2. Emotional Balance

You just need to laugh!  And I know, easier said than done when you are fearful.

But it is well known that one of the best ways to support our emotional balance is through laughter.  Laughter releases hormones in your brain and can help you feel happy and light which helps with emotional resilience.

Below is an extract from the blog Laughter is the Best Medicine from detailing how laughter can help the body and mind.

Laughter relaxes the whole body.  A good hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system.  Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.  Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart.  Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories.  One study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories – which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.

Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load.  Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh.  Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding on to bitterness or resentment.

One of the activities we complete in a Jewel Building Resilience workshop is to get learners to say to each other – I AM REALLY HAPPY TODAY.

Try it!  Do it looking at yourself in a mirror and be playful!  Say it in a Donald Duck voice, a different accent, try sounding miserable, be over enthusiastic – trust me when we do this with people – silly as it might sound, people start laughing, the energy increases and people start to feel happier.

If staring at yourself in the mirror does not work for you, find a comedy, a good joke book, a funny film, whatever it is that makes you laugh – seek it out.

There are many techniques to help build your resilience that we cover in our workshops.  If you want to know more then contact us.  Our workshops are delivered virtually and interactively, and the Building Resilience workshop will give you a toolbox of techniques to take away and implement to support your resilience development.