Resilience

7 key ways of setting boundaries to protect your health

Oprah Winfrey’s 'SuperSoul Sunday' guests share why setting emotional boundaries is the key to creating positive and healthy relationships.

When I was younger, I loved to study. I was good at writing essays, completing coursework and reading widely on any subject - but there was also a problem. I was living with a severe pain related condition which limited what I could do.

Very often, I couldn't get to school for days, or weeks at a time.

I would teach myself the work at home, my mother would take it to school for the teacher to mark, and it would then be returned to me.

Although it wasn't easy I persevered, and managed to get high grades.

Word started to spread about how academic I was, and at times I'd get phone calls from other people - often adults - asking me for assistance with their own work.

"I'm having a bit of problem doing this essay," they'd say. "Would you be able to help me with it?."

Or, "I'm so stuck. Help please! Need to give it in by Friday!"

And, keen to help, I'd say yes.

That created another issue.

I was already far behind on my own assignments  - and now I was using energy reserves my body didn't have to help other people with theirs too.

I also worried that I wouldn't be able to help the other person in time. After all, I could rarely keep up with my own course work. What chance did I have of completing someone else's?

My mother explained the importance of saying no, telling me the necessity of prioritising and letting others know what I could and could not manage. But I found it hard to listen.

Instead, I'd stress myself in the effort of trying to help other people while my health and coursework suffered.

If I didn't help they'd be upset with me, I reasoned, and I'd be letting them down too.

It never occurred to me that by jeopardising my health the only person I was harming was myself.

It took years for me to learn the importance of my mother's lessons of setting boundaries in daily life. 

 
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Why Boundaries are important

Boundaries are vital for our everyday functioning. It helps provide a structure of self-care.

  • I've found that when esteem or confidence is low, it is easy to drop one's boundaries and give in to the whims or requests of other people, even if it might be detrimental to my health.
  • Yet having clear set boundaries are an important part of self-identity and recognising your worth as an individual.
  • If you're struggling with health issues, for example, and those around you are not supportive, then one way of setting healthy boundaries is to decide what is acceptable to you or not. For example, if a loved one is constantly dismissive of you, you have to set a clear boundary that such language is not acceptable to you.
 

Kate (not her real name) told me that her teenage children constantly belittled her struggles with chronic fatigue - letting her know what an inconvenience it was to them that she was always ill.

"It felt like they were blaming me for being ill. When they were younger they were a bit more understanding, but I guess as they grew up and I got worse it wore on their patience. I felt terribly guilty - I wasn't the mother I wanted to be - so I found myself pushing myself all the time to do things for them, but it just made me worse and worse which frustrated them more. I felt like I was being spun round in a spiral and I just couldn't get out of it."

Of course the emotional pain of her children being upset with her, and her own sense of regret at not being able to be there for them as much as she wanted to made her health worse.

One of the ways she managed to set boundaries was by refusing to push her body beyond its limitations in order to please them.

"As much as I love my kids I realised that my health had to take priority. I made the decision that if they were going to be hostile to me when I was so ill, then I wasn't going to force myself to cook dinner for them when I could barely stand or move.  After all, they were in their mid-teens and old enough to help round the house more anyway.

"At first it was hard for me to do this - they are my kids, after all. And of course they didn't like it - but I was able to take the time I'd normally use to prepare dinner to rest, regain some energy and do something enjoyable for myself. Now they realise that there are days when they'll simply have to go in the kitchen and fend for themselves. It also means they're a bit less critical of me now - as they've seen that there are consequences for their behaviour."

Suzanne's issue was different.

She was fortunate enough to have a spouse who bent over backwards to assist her.  So she found she had to set boundaries of a different type.

Although she realised how lucky she was to have such help, she still needed to maintain some independence - even if it was a struggle at times. She really loved cooking, and her boundary was to tell him that there were days she just wanted to be in the kitchen and cook the meal herself, even if it took longer and meant dropping the odd item of cutlery here and there.

 Photo: Didin Emelu, Unsplash

Photo: Didin Emelu, Unsplash

 

Here are seven simple ways of setting boundaries to protect your health:

  1.  Know your health limits. If completing the task for someone makes your health worse, emotionally or physically, then you have every right to say no. You need to be clear about the impact it will have on your health - and if it's going to be detrimental to you.
  2.  Make it clear. I used to go into so much detail when I was unable to help someone. I'd explain about my health, the tasks I hadn't been able to complete for myself, and how much it would affect me if I forced myself when I wasn't physically capable of it. Clearly, I felt guilty about letting the other person down. But really - there is no need. In fact, when you go into too much detail you're just giving the person an opportunity to try and get you to change your mind.  It's fine to simply say, "I'm so sorry - I won't be able to help you with this right now."
  3.  Buy some time. If you honestly feel unable to say "No," then you can tell the person you'll get back to them. This isn't ideal as it drags the situation out and gives the impression that you might be able to accommodate them, but it's better than saying an instant yes to something you know you simply aren't capable of doing. It gives you time to think of an alternative solution to help them. But if the answer's going to be a firm no, then don't keep them waiting too long! 
  4.  Take note of your feelings. Do you only hear from the person when they need your help with something? Do they then disappear and only call again when they need more assistance? How does that make you feel - are you fine with it, or do you feel resentful or uncomfortable? If it's the latter, that can be a sign you're not being appreciated or valued. A sure signal that it's time to draw up those boundaries again.
  5. Remember to keep the focus on you. Instead of outlining things by pointing out the other person's shortcomings, you can explain things in terms of why it's important for you. 
  6. Turn off your smartphone. In establishing healthy boundaries, it's important to have a regular habit of self-care to nourish the spirit, the mind and body. This can be as simple as turning off the television or smartphone for one afternoon a week in order to spend time by yourself or connect with a loved one.
  7. Know your non-negotiables. It's best to work out what these are ahead of time and then stick to it. For some people it's their family meal time. Unless it's an emergency, they won't take calls while they're all eating dinner. For others, it might be their exercise routine. For my friend Adele, it was organising the annual family barbeque. After doing it for five years straight, she decided that her boundary was that she wouldn't arrange any more unless she received help and support from the wider family. "I guess Ijust want to feel appreciated," she said.

 

 

5 simple Ways We Can Still Feel God's Presence When Things Hurt

 
 Photo:   Dmytro Tolokonov ,   Unsplash

Photo: Dmytro Tolokonov,  Unsplash

“ Human beings grow by striving, working stretching... in a sense, human nature needs problems more than solutions.”

— Philip Yancey, writer

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When I was growing up, the name Job (pron. Joab) was one I heard constantly. 

"Have you read the book of Job?" someone would ask brightly.  "His faith never wavered. He always believed."

Or, "Nobody suffered more than Job. He got through it - why can't you?"

So who was this Job - who commanded such reverence from my elders that his name was mentioned to me repeatedly throughout my years?

Job was a biblical figure who lived over 3,000 years ago. The book named after him is thought to be one of the oldest written works in existence. And appropriately, it is a book that deals with an age-old question:

  • Why do the good suffer?

 

At first, life was going well for Job. He was kind and respected. Devoted to God and his family. He owned over 7000 sheep and 3000 camels. He'd been blessed with seven sons and three daughters. He was described as being "the greatest man amongst the people of the East."

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Then everything changed. His animals died. He lost his land and wealth. Even his children died. His wife, overcome with anger and grief, wanted him to die too and end his suffering.  

When his friends visited, instead of comforting him, they criticised. He must be secretly wicked, they suggested. God would never punish a good man in such a way.

They even found fault with his recently deceased children - suggesting they had received their just reward for some unknown sin.

How hard it must have been for Job, covered in sores and boils, faced with his wife's grief and his own, to sit and listen to the harsh words of his friends.

In a nutshell, Job had it tough.

I marvelled at Job's resilience. Amazed that someone could bear so many troubles with such stoical courage.

It was something of a relief to read his story for myself in my teenage years and realise that he was not completely the noble saint I'd imagined.

Job was far more human in his response.

At the beginning he responded to his ordeal with great equanimity. Though overcome with grief  he composed himself enough to say, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away..." 

 

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When his friends visited, and annoyed him with their platitudes, rather than smiling meekly and offering them more tea, Job let his irritation show. “Miserable comforters all of you,” he said, patience pushed beyond limit.
 

But as the months passed and his suffering continued, he found it hard to maintain his composure.

He questioned God and pondered the worth of his existence. He challenged God to answer him. He longed for death to release him.

"Why did I not perish at birth and die as I came from the womb?" he wonders. "Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest..."

When his friends visited, and annoyed him with their platitudes, rather than smiling meekly and offering them tea,  Job let his irritation show. "Miserable comforters all of you," he snapped, patience pushed beyond limit. "You just go on and on and on..."

From being rather wary of Job and how I failed to measure up to him on some spiritual yardstick, I grew to appreciate him. In fact, I really liked him.

Job understood. And rather like me and, I suspect, you - Job also asked the question, why.

  • Why are we left to wait, hoping for relief which we have yet to see? 
  • Why do our prayers go unanswered?
  • Why do many of those from who we thought support would come, shun us or turn away?

God doesn't answer Job's questions. He hasn't answered mine. Yet there are still important lessons we can learn from his desert experience.

 

1. accept the silence

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In our modern world we have largely lost our sense of awe and wonder.

Science has explained almost everything. There is no longer any mystery.  We might marvel at the beauty of the stars but we also know that they are 4.24 light years from earth (whatever that means)...

So unresolved pain, that defies any purpose or definition, doesn't fit our 21st century mindset, which demands answers for everything. And when prayers and reason fail to provide solutions it is easy to become disillusioned.

"I have no peace," cries Job when he realises there is no end to his suffering. "I have no quietness. I have no rest, but only turmoil..."

Instead of us feeling awe at the mystery of human life, we're often berating it for not providing the answers we so desperately need. It feels like a sign of neglect.

"I cry out to you God," says Job in desolation, "but you do not answer. I stand up but you merely look at me."

So how are we to cope in that desert experience? What are we to do?

Hard as it may seem, there are times we just have to "be still and know."

Be still means to quieten our minds, quieten our complaints and our yearnings. Let go of our need for answers and explanations.

Know that despite our lack of answers we are loved.

Know that silence from the heavens doesn't mean neglect although it feels as it is.

Know that pain and suffering is, sadly, a natural part of life.


  • What is the one thing that you can be still and focus on right now, in the midst of your desert experience? What is the one thing that can bring you a sense of comfort and peace?

 

 

2. Realise that Life is Unfair

 Photo by  Skylar Sahakian  on  Unsplash

We're raised in a Walt Disney world where good is ultimately rewarded, and kindness wins in the end. Our medical advances mean that thankfully so much pain and suffering, which was really the lot of most of mankind, has largely been eliminated. 

We are no longer used to everyday pain in the West. We are lucky. But it makes those of us who do live with long-term health issues an anomaly. 

Job reminds us that bad things happen to good people. Job wasn't hiding a dark secret, or leading a shameful life for which he had to be punished.

It was the opposite. He was loving, caring - taking care of the local orphans.

Yet all this counted for nothing. "My relatives have gone away. My closest friends have forgotten me," he says. "Even when I beg my servant for help he ignores me..."

When I talk to people from other cultures, where suffering and bereavement, is much more a part of their daily experience life, there is a more philosophical response to suffering. They truly understand the heart behind Job's words when he says of his losses, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away."

When God finally breaks his silence to answer Job his response is surprising.

He doesn't commend Job for being a good and faithful man. He doesn't praise him for the compassion he always showed to poverty-stricken children who bore no relation to him.  Instead he questions him.

Where were you, he asks, when I created the earth? Can you make the sun rise in the morning or the stars come out at night? Can you create water or find food for the lion? I can do all these things.

On the one hand, God is telling Job his friends are wrong. He isn't being punished for some sin. But God also wants Job to know that his concept of God is inadequate -  he is simply too small to have any real awareness of what is happening. There are things that our human understanding cannot comprehend. Despite the advances of science, there is still mystery in the human experience.


  • Today is it possible for you to recognise our human limits and trust God to take care of the part we do not know? 

 

 

3. Appreciate Nature

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When God chose to respond to Job, he didn't answer his questions directly. Instead, he directed Job's attention to the wonder of nature and creation.

God speaks to Job of lions and of ravens. He directs his attention to the strength of wild ox and the diligence of the horse in battle.

It seems a very strange answer to a man who is in such turmoil. 

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Sometimes we can be so overcome with the circumstances of our health, we fail to see the beauty of God in anything around us...”
 
 

Perhaps God does not answer us in the way we would like, but sometimes we can be so overcome with the circumstances of our health that we fail to see the beauty of God in anything around us.

When we are ill, it is vital we take time to recharge our spiritual batteries by getting out of our own lives and interacting with nature.

A visit to a park, a day by the sea, taking time to bury our feet in the sand  - all these things have a restorative power on our psyche.

So somedays, when it all seems to overwhelming, get out somewhere fresh and invigorating if you can.

And breathe breathe breathe in the fresh air. It's what your body needs.


  • What can you do today to appreciate the awesome quality of nature? Even if it's something small like taking time to sit in your garden or nearby park - just make time to enjoy and savour it.
  • Or, on the days you can't get out, do what I do. Search Youtube for a relaxing nature walk and visualise yourself there, soaking in its energy.
 

4. realise It Shows Ourselves Who we Are

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The accusation is made that Job only believes in God because God has been good to him. After all, he is blessed with a wife, wonderful children, plenty of land and a great deal of wealth.

It is easy to believe in God, it is alleged, when things are going well.

Yet his experiences helped Job develop spiritual depth. He had good old-fashioned grit.

By the end of the story, Job realised that it wasn't his good nature, or even the daily sacrifices he made to God that counted. 

Yes, he complained about his fate but he never lost his ultimate belief.

Job was able to examine himself and his life and realise the duality of our existence. Although we are an amazing, wonderfully made part of nature we are also infinitely small in the big scheme of things. We are intelligent with a quest for knowledge and understanding. But we only see through our own gaze, and there is much beyond our comprehension. 


  • Look at yourself. Ask yourself what qualities have you learned and what lessons have you seen in yourself through this experience? At first you might not think of anything, but persevere! Qualities like grit and determination are not to be underestimated!
 

5. learn to Forgive Others

 Photo by  Lina Trochez  on  Unsplash

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

Which is worse - to be abandoned by your friends when you're ill. Or for them to visit and sit with you but berate you for your faults?

Three of Job's friends visited.

They sat with him in silent grief. He must have appreciated their concern, but when they spoke their words were wounding. And heaped more distress on someone who had already faced so much.

And Job, in his vulnerable state, was deeply hurt. That was understandable. He even asked them,  “How long will you torment me and break me in pieces with words?”  

Do you know anyone like that? Someone who visits in the guise of helping you but then says things to bring you down? Perhaps it's not deliberate. Job's friends were trying to comfort not distress him - but they hadn't gone through what Job had, and their words were wounding nonetheless.

Yet after God spoke, Job was able to see beyond his circumstances, and overcame his anger toward his friends. He was able to forgive them their unkind words and even say prayers on their behalf.

One of the hardest things to face is the necessity of forgiving those who have been so harsh to us. I know that from firsthand experience. 

Sometimes it requires more effort from us to forgive than to stay angry or hurt at the other person. But by forgiving others, it allows us to move beyond the stress of anger and emotional pain toward a place of peace and love.

And peace within ourselves is exactly what we need to help our bodies cope with long-term health concerns.


  • Which is the friend or colleague who said hurtful words to you? Today can you make a decision to forgive them and move on? Even if you can't quite talk to them as yet, can you bring yourself to say a prayer for them or send them thoughts of loving kindness? 
  • Today let us not remain trapped by the harsh words of others. Let us move beyond them and live in the light.

 


 
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Antoinette Faith is a writer who encourages women to lead optimistic, healthy and joyous lives whatever their situation. With a degree in Economics and Social History, and training in Positive Psychology, her website, antoinettefaithliving.com focuses on using the tools of Positive Psychology and Christian-based Spirituality to tackle the challenges of life.

 


 

 

25 Small Things that can Reduce Stress, Increase Joy and Make You Feel More Content Overall

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What are the things in life that make you smile?

According to a survey of 2000 people it's actually the most simple of things - with sleeping in freshly laundered bedsheets topping the list. 

The key is to do the simple things often - and be attentive at the same time. If we pay attention, it's actually a great way of boosting our mood and our levels of resilience too.

Rebecca, aged 25, says, "I was seeing a psychologist for a while to help me cope with early onset arthritis. I'd been forced to place my graduate studies on hold and my boyfriend and I had just split up so I felt very low.

"One of the things the psychologist recommended was to do five small things a day that gave me joy. At first it was a struggle. I couldn't even think of five things. And when I did, I asked myself, how could something as simple as having a warm bath bring me joy? But after some time I learned to focus on what I was doing in that very moment - being mindful. I really got into it, and it became a way of helping me cope with the stresses I was facing."

The five small things that Rebecca did were the type of simple activities we carry out every day. But by consciously placing her attention on what she was doing, they created anchor, or rest points, during the day, turning them into small acts of appreciation and self-care. 

We might not be able to control the effect of illness or the breakdown of a relationship, but taking small actions in other areas of our life can impact our situation indirectly. It can enhance our belief that we can cope in specific situations, and can help us strengthen our resources to more successfully manage the area that is challenging us. 

So, listed below are 25 small things you can do, which the average person says makes them feel so much better.

 
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  1. Listening to birdsong from my bedroom window
  2. Make a greeting card
  3. Being around children - even if just for a few minutes - and hearing their laughter
  4. Doing gentle exercise which releases happy endorphins
  5. Escaping to the seaside for the day, breathing in fresh sea air and eating freshly caught fish n chips on the beach
  6. Relax and enjoy a cup of your favourite herbal tea
  7. Getting into bed to clean and freshly ironed bedsheets
  8. Laughing at a funny memory
  9. Cook a new recipe
  10. Dance to lively music
  11. Catching up with a friend you haven't seen in a while
  12. Playing your favourite board game from childhood
  13. Sing your favourite song
  14. Complete a word puzzle or crossword
  15. Adult colouring in
  16. Reading a chapter from my favourite book
  17. Having coffee in a new cafe
  18. Taking a bath in the evening by candlelight with classical music on in the background
  19. Looking at funny videos on WhatsApp or Youtube
  20. Doodling or drawing
  21. Watching nature or history documentaries
  22. Having a pampering evening with a face mask
  23. Wandering round an antique market
  24. Trying out a new cuisine
  25. Sitting in a park under a tree, just relaxing and listening to nature
 

So what simple things make you happy? Write in and let me know!

 

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Why not get a head-start with developing your happiness habit? Download this 7 day workbook now!

 
 

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Resilience - 5 key ways you can cope with the stresses and adversities of life

 
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Once upon a time, a large and beautiful oak stood near a river. In its shade were some water reeds. Compared to the oak they were small and inconsequential. 

When the wind blew, the oak was proud and upright whereas the reeds swayed according to the ebb and flow of the wind.

"You're so weak and puny," said the oak. "You bow at the slightest rustle, while I remain strong."

One day, a great hurricane came. The oak was resolute against the onslaught - confident that with its might it would withstand the worst.

In the end, however, it was this stiffness that proved its undoing. The raging winds destroyed the oak's branches and ripped off its boughs. 

Finally the storm passed and calm was restored. The small reeds, which had twisted and swayed throughout were still upright, while the oak's branches were strewn across the river. Destroyed by the ferocity of the storm.

 

Aesop's Fable

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Life will always throw us curveballs. We can't be prepared for every eventuality all the time. 

Some of us are like the oak. We can withstand so much, but when the winds of life keep blowing, we find ourselves crashing -  broken - into the river. 

Other people are like water reeds. When faced with unexpected challenges they find a way to cope and finally adapt. That's resilience.

The wind blows where it will,  but they've discovered how to adjust to the trials of life, and bend without breaking.

Thankfully, resilience is a skill that can be learned.

Researchers have found that more resilient people have greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain - the part of the brain responsible for the "feel good factor".  The good news is that we can actually train our brains to strengthen this prefrontal cortex and develop key skills like being more resilient.

So if you want to develop your ability to overcome adversity, here are five tools that can help:

 

1. Accept that struggles are Part of Life

 Photo: Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

Photo: Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

Those of us in the West have largely become used to a comfortable lifestyle whereas those from other backgrounds tend to accept struggle as an inevitable part of the human existence.

For instance, my mother grew up in the Caribbean.

Every morning before school she had a list of chores to complete:  

  • wash the dishes
  • feed pigs
  • move goats to fresh pasture
  • collect water from nearby pond
  • and, if the pond was dry, go further and collect water from the river and take it home

Then she would walk five miles to school under the blazing Caribbean sun. 

If she didn't reach there by nine, the teacher would be waiting outside the gate with a belt in his hand, ready to administer punishment. 

By the time I went to school, I'd get up, have breakfast and then either walk or take the bus.

My nephews and nieces, born and raised in 21st century London, just have to grab breakfast, jump into their parents' car and be driven straight to the school gates.

So it's easier for someone of my mother's background to accept struggles because they were always used to life being a challenge. 

So next time you're facing adversity, try and have a conversation with someone from a completely different culture. It can serve as a timely reminder that for most of humanity, struggles are a part of their everyday life.

 

 

2. Remember your strengths/ positive reflection

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The situation you're in right now might feel insurmountable, but never forget, you were born with many strengths and qualities.

And I'm willing to guess that you've already used these qualities to overcome battles and adversities in your past.

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Excellence is not a gift but a skill that takes practice. We do not act rightly because we are excellent. We achieve excellence by acting rightly...
— Plato
 
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When we're going through difficult times, we can be so consumed by it that it can be hard to recall any strengths that we previously drew upon.  But if we look back closely, we're sure to discover resources that helped us face previous challenging situations.

So take some time for positive reflection. Remember a challenge you've overcome and ask yourself:

  • What strategies did I use - what practical things did I do to help?"
  • What are the strengths that I drew on within myself?
  • What resources did I turn to for nourishment, guidance or support?
  • What insights did I use - what sayings or perspectives were helpful to me?

 

 

3. Realise we are not our thoughts

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Every day, thousands of thoughts pass through our minds. 

Thoughts like:

  • "Life isn't going the way I planned it..."
  • "I just can't get things together..."
  • "I'll finish that project tonight..."
  • "What am I having for dinner this evening"

As you see, some of them are good. Some inconsequential, and others are judgemental or irrational. 

If we're going through adversity, it's perfectly understandable for some of our thoughts to be more negative and judgemental than normal. The best thing to do is to allow them to pass through, and move on.

So we might think:

  • "I can't get through this.
  • "It's getting the better of me..."

But is this really true? Or are we merely thinking that it is?

Psychologists say that the best thing to do at those times is to hold the distressing thought for a minute, then let it pass on by. Recognise it's there, then let it go.

When it passes, replace it with another thought for a minute:

  • "I am having the thought that I can't get through this..."
  • "I am having the thought that it's getting the better of me..." 

The addition of these five key words at the start of the sentence reminds us that we are not our thoughts. In fact, we are greater than them. And while it is natural to have negative thoughts from time to time, we don't need to let them overwhelm us.

  • So today, if you catch yourself having a negative thought don't try to fight it. But add those words to the start of the sentence, "I am having the thought..." and realise that you are far more than the thoughts you are having at that precise moment.
 

4. belief in something bigger than yourself

 Photo: Nick Scheerbart, Unsplash

Photo: Nick Scheerbart, Unsplash

 

My mother's advice for adversity has remained the same over the years. "Take it to the Lord in prayer," she says.

Having a strong faith to draw on, has helped her through many difficult times.  When she faced situations that looked bleak, her prayers and trust in God gave her hope that things would eventually change. 

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We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
— 2 Corinthians 4.8-9
 
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To my mother, resilience didn't necessarily mean bouncing back or restoring things to how they were before.

Instead, she used it as a process to help her feel closer to God. She did not expect that things would always work out exactly as she had hoped, but she certainly believed that she would overcome.

So today why not see resilience as part of the process of growth - a necessary tool in developing spiritual and emotional maturity.

 

5. Set Small, Achievable Goals

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Most self-help tools emphasise the importance of dreaming BIIIGGGG!! After all, huge goals lead to big accomplishments. Right? 

Not necessarily.

One thing I learned in dealing with long-term health issues is that it was better for me to have goals that were small, manageable and achievable. They need to stretch you enough so you feel a sense of growth, yet not so much that they become unattainable.

When my goals were too big, I ran the risk of setting myself up for failure rather than success. And to develop our resilience skills, we really need to be able to look back on a series of small successes.

For instance, suppose you decide it's high time to live a healthier lifestyle, so you add a ten minute morning walk to your routine. 

You might say, "I will go for a ten minute walk every morning this week at 9.30 am."

Now on the surface, this seems like a great goal. The problem is you haven't given yourself any leeway in case you have a bad day, or some other emergency happens which leaves you with less energy to go for your walk than expected.

A more achievable target would be, "I will go for a ten minute walk four mornings this week by 10.30 am."

This stretches you while providing that all important flexibility. 

Small goals which encourage us to move forward are better than bigger goals which leave us feeling overwhelmed.

So this week, why not think about a goal you can set yourself? Remember to keep it small enough to be doable, yet just big enough to stretch yourself slightly.