Emotional Resilience

Updated: Mar 28


The Ability to Bounce Back


We are in a period of unprecedented change. The world has never been more challenging and the obstacles seemingly insurmountable. People are experiencing high levels of anxiety due to health, emotional and personal uncertainties. We are losing jobs, our independence, but we are only having to change one thing……everything!


A number of years ago my life imploded. What I thought was meaningful and significant to me somehow seemed pointless. I felt as if I had been fooling myself and could find no happiness. My life was grey, and I turned to unhealthy coping strategies to get through this bleakness. I became depressed and lifeless. Drinking seemed the only solution to an otherwise dreary existence. I didn’t have much to fall back on, so alcohol became my only way of dealing with it.


Once I had lost everything and was just left with the bottle, I realised it too had stopped serving its purpose. It left me feeling even more worthless and helpless … the very things that I was running from!


I had no mental toughness, no ability to bounce back ... no resilience. In finding NLP I quickly developed a range of tools and strategies to help me out of this dark place. I didn’t have to look far. Much to my surprise, I already had them in me!


As we grow, we cultivate a range of strategies to cope with situations that challenge us. The more choices we have the greater the flexibility we have in resolving these. Our behaviour is a reflection of the best options we have at that time. So, if we are left feeling choiceless or our opportunities seem limited, it means that we have not used, or found the strategies readily available to us. In NLP we have a range of presuppositions that guide our thinking toward more healthy frames of understanding. One of these is:


“There are no unresourceful people, just unresourceful states”


People already have all the resources they need to succeed.


In the 1986 film “Hoosiers” based on a true story, Gene Hackman takes a college basketball team to become top contenders in the 1954 state finals. In one scene, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task and the size of the stadium, the team feel like giving up. Hackman asks the team to measure the height of the net and backboard. It was exactly the same height as the one back at their college. His point was that if they were able to score points at their home base, they would be able to do the same at the huge arena … they already had the resources and capability to do the task!


Resilience is the ability to grow emotional strength by exploring and utilising the potent powers that we already have in us. It is about seeing the opportunities in adversity and walking through the quicksand of problematic thinking. It’s about becoming curious around possibilities rather than paralysed with self-doubt.


When we feel hopeless and we can’t cope we often jump to illogical assumptions about our capabilities (or indeed our lack). We believe that solutions are out of our grasp and our situation so dire that options are limited. NLP offers a range of strategies and techniques that help people to strengthen their resilience and develop the skills to thrive in times of uncertainty.


Indeed, it is possible to find optimum conditions within ourselves, and use them seemingly at will. We can destroy unresourceful states with very simple and effective techniques. In fact, we are fully able to change the way we understand, express and experience old and repetitive behaviour. It’s all about knowing the mechanics of the mind. In knowing this, the possibilities are endless. Techniques are not set in stone. They are very much like musical scales … once you know them it’s up to you how you express and experiment with them. The unconscious mind is an incredibly flexible part of us. It thinks in colourful, animated and often fun ways. This makes the path to wellness an interesting undertaking.


The old statement “how dark it is before dawn” has never been more relevant. We are going through uneasy, uncertain and often unpredictable times. Our ability to recover is constantly tested and our capacity to see the negative is permanently on offer. Yet this is also a period of new opportunities. If we are able to ignite the passion, imagination and creativity that lives in all of us, the possibilities are there. If we are able to bounce back with an attitude of curiosity and energy, we are in a position to adapt and thrive.

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