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Reframing to help develop emotional resilience

Yet again, I have recently been speaking with several different people about ‘resilience’ and the ability to ‘bounce back’ after setbacks. It seems like there is a trend amongst many different people of different professions and sports who are keen to explore how they can become more resilient.

The ability to bounce back after setbacks is a skill, and a habit, that we can all further develop and strengthen. We may usually feel quite confident in many aspects of our lives, however sometimes setbacks, stressful events and negative feedback  have an impact whereby we may feel less than our usual confident selves. Therefore, developing stronger emotional resilience will help you be able to confidently deal with whatever happens in life.Yet, how do you develop this skill?

To help you develop more emotional resilience, that bounce-back-ability, you can use a technique called re-framing. Reframing is effectively about looking at a situation from a different, more positive, perspective.

Think about a setback you experienced or a time when you did not achieve a goal you wanted to achieve. Next, think about what kinds of feelings surfaced as a result of this experience? What kind of beliefs about you does this result in? For example, “I failed to deliver that report on time and this causes me to feel disorganized and unable to do my job.”

Next, let us turn things around and reframe it into something more positive. Ask yourself some questions to gain a bigger picture perspective to understand what other factors might have contributed. How could you explain the result in a manner that helps you to feel better about yourself? What other factors may have contributed towards you not achieving the goal?

When you think of not getting that report done on time, did you have additional tasks asked of you so that you had less time available? Were you organised and had you set sufficient time aside to prepare? Did something urgent come in from an important client that required immediate attention?

When you reframe a situation, in addition to looking at things in a different light, you might come up with a plan of action as to how to handle the situation differently the next time. This might include implementing a strategy so you will not be interrupted when you need to complete a similar report, or it could be that you give yourself more time in order to complete it by the deadline. Some people turn off their phones and emails or even go to a separate quiet location just so they can keep focused on the task at hand.

When you think about the event in a “reframed” manner, how does that make you feel? Hopefully, it will help you feel more uplifted, positive and confident that you have learned something and can do things differently the next time or understand why things turned out as they did, and be accepting of the outcome.

Remember, ‘bounce-back-ability’ may be strong and robust at some times and not at other times. Yet, having some strategies to help with your emotional resilience will mean that you can deal with situations quickly and more easily.

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