Our levels of resilience are tested, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on our prior personal experiences in dealing with challenges and setbacks. The more comfortable we are with being uncomfortable, the less of a negative impact each situation or event may have upon us.

Our levels or resilience are partly a product of how we have coped with our previous struggles. There is a lot of good sense behind the phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

When we are faced with a difficult situation and we eventually push through it, the learning we gain, not just from the actual experience itself but also from the positive feelings that are generated, is important in helping us to deal with the challenges that lay ahead.

It is often satisfying to overcome challenges just as it is demoralising to be beaten by them. To give up without really ‘having a go’ doesn’t provide much of a feel-good factor.  Giving up creates a track record of failure, whereas working around or overcoming obstacles and setbacks, often with some perseverance and tenacity, provides us with the greatest opportunity for satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

Creating a track record of challenges and successes will equip us for our next set-back or difficulty, because we know we can bounce back and overcome such issues. Our experience is the living proof that we can overcome negative situations and emotions.

Our attitude is the one thing that we can control, and attitude is probably one of the most important things that we have at our disposal. Having a positive attitude about things in life will help us immensely, just as the opposite is true.

At some point, we all have bad days, where we don’t feel like doing things or that ‘stuff’ just isn’t going well. Perhaps we are struggling with our motivation or levels of optimism?

Everyone is unique and so the impact of these difficult events can affect us all very differently. If we try to take the negative emotion out of the equation and start applying logic to a situation, we can usually find a clearer path in front of us to push through it.  Consider replacing any negativity or pessimism with optimism and opportunity. We do also need to remain grounded and maintain a sense of realism and reality as that helps us to maintain a sense of perspective.

“Today isn’t going well, so on balance, tomorrow is likely to be better.”

“Today isn’t going well, so I won’t let it affect me as tomorrow is a new day.”

“How many bad days in a row do I usually experience? Not many? Fine, tomorrow should be better.”

“Today isn’t going well, so what can I learn from it to make tomorrow a better day?”

“Today isn’t going well, but it’s given me some new experiences that may help me tomorrow.”

And so on.

Acceptance of things can help us too. Accept that we all have bad days, negative experiences, set-backs, challenges, embarrassments – all those things that take us outside of our comfort zone and expose us to potentially negative feelings and emotions. Some of these events can be challenging enough to trigger the ‘fight or flight’ part of our brain.

If we can get used to being more comfortable about feeling uncomfortable, then each new and challenging experience can be embraced as just that – a challenge to overcome and push through, rather than a reason to give up or question our own self-worth.

Humour also helps our resilience, so if we can laugh at ourselves, our misfortunes, brush them off and carry on, it will help things to end on a high. How many times do you see someone famous being interviewed and asked about a mistake they made? They usually respond in a self-effacing way that humanises them and makes light of their situation. It rarely ends up making them look worse for it. Laugh or cry, as they say.

The most successful people in life will have had their fair share of bad days, but the ending to their story is one of success because they kept going when times were tough, so that success rather than failure is the legacy that they have created for themselves.

It also helps for us to talk to other people about how we feel. Close friends or work colleagues whom we trust may be a little more objective about our circumstance and therefore more optimistic about our chances in any given situation. They may have more belief in us than we do at times, reflecting on our achievements whilst we may reflect on our failures.

Others are not tied into our situations as emotionally as we are so they may see a clearer picture of things i.e. the reality, unclouded by our biased emotions. It’s also good to have someone to bounce ideas off about the way ahead, which is why having a coach can be a real boost in terms of our goals and aspirations.

The next time you are having a ‘bad’ day, remember that so does everyone else. Don’t think that because people don’t post their ‘bad’ days on social media, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have them.

We need to maintain a healthy perspective by focusing on that which we can influence and control, putting our energies into creating our own ‘positive’ tomorrow. It doesn’t usually happen without some effort and, having a plan can help too. So what are you waiting for?

Mark Corder

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