April 10, 2020
Turning Point’s 10 Facets of Resilience© will help you manage stress, cultivate optimism, remain hopeful and more.
The 10 facets
The ability to self-calm involves effectively managing your response to stress by being aware of your nervous system. Then, you actively recover in the moment with relaxation methods like deep breathing, grounding, sensory engagement and reassuring self-talk.
- The body can remain in a heightened state of fight, flight or freeze long after stressful situations are over. As a result, self-calming must be about awareness of the self, what triggers a stress response and then knowing how to recover in the moment.
- Be aware of the situations that normally trigger a stress reaction for you. If you are having trouble knowing when you feel the most overwhelmed, ask for input from a caring friend, co-worker, family member or professional counselor.
- Self-calming is all about returning to yourself in times of stress to create feelings of calm and confidence. Find the self-calming strategies that work for you.
How to improve it
Grounding using the "Just This" method
Ground yourself in the present moment by giving yourself permission to focus on 1 thing. Whether it is your breathing, taking a bathroom break or finishing just one small task, tell yourself, "What I need to do right now is just this."
Take 3, a reset button for your nervous system
- Intentionally pause several times throughout the day to take 3 deep breaths.
- Establish routine times or cues to help you remember. Examples might include bathroom breaks, after you complete a task or after you get done talking to someone.
- Extend the exhale like a long, relaxed sigh. You can count by breathing in for 5 and out for 5 or settle into whatever rhythm feels natural to you.
Reassuring self-talk with supportive breathing
- Start by taking a few deep breaths.
- As you exhale, tell yourself a reassuring phrase like, "I can do this," "I'm okay" or "whatever happens, I can handle it."
- Slowly repeat the words to yourself as you breathe more fully and deeply.
- Imagine you are breathing in and out through your heart for a couple of breaths.
- Then, think about someone or something that relaxes you or makes you feel grateful.
- Really get in touch with how that person, pet or thing makes you feel inside.
- Go back to breathing in and out through your heart, letting all the gratitude really sink into your body, warming and relaxing it more with each breath.
Self-care includes all the health behaviors that help you balance the effects of emotional and physical stress. They are the main things your body needs to stay healthy, such as regular body movement and exercise, healthy eating and good sleep practices.
- Self-care is about valuing your body and believing that your needs matter. You need time to rest and recover so you can function at your best.
- Give yourself permission to do whatever you need to do most in that moment, such as get up and move, stretch, go to bed earlier, get a nutritious snack or meal or ask for help.
- Talk about and encourage self-care with others. This can give you new ideas and help make it a normal and shared value system within your key support network.
How to improve it
Make it a habit to check in with yourself throughout the day. Ask yourself, "how is my body doing right now in this moment, and what do I need most to feel better?"
Feelings and responses
- Overwhelmed – Breathe deeply. Tell yourself, "I can do this. All I need to do right now is focus on this one thing."
- Tired – Take a break. Get off your feet. Do some deep breathing. Eat something. Drink water. Ask for help. Give yourself permission to go to bed earlier.
- Sad – Breathe. Tell yourself, "It's okay to be sad. I will get through this." Talk to someone about your feelings. Do something kind or say something kind.
- Hungry – Take a break to get a snack or a nutritious meal. Ask someone to get you something if you can’t. Keep a snack handy for the rest of the day.
- Dehydrated – Get some water. Keep it handy the rest of the day. Set a reminder on your phone or watch for taking regular water breaks.
- Uncomfortable – Are you in pain? Do you need to rest? Did you eat? Would walking or stretching help? What can you cut from the rest of your day to allow for more breaks/rest?
- Alone or isolated – Give someone a genuine compliment or ask them about their day. Call, write or text someone. Ask for help. Ask others if they need help.
Self-replenishment includes all the things you do to restore your energy and sense of well-being when life feels draining.
- Self-replenishment is about doing things that "fill up your bucket."
- Self-replenishing activities help you recover on the go.
- Every person is different, so your strategies for self-replenishment should be very personalized and speak to your interests, values, needs and personality.
- Initiating positive interactions is a great way to fill your bucket or someone else’s bucket.
How to improve it
Replenish your bucket or someone else's bucket.
- Give compliments, appreciation and kindness.
- Say "hello," check on or smile at others.
- Share funny stories, pictures or videos.
- Play fun, relaxing music or a funny, uplifting podcast while you do regular tasks, such as dishes, cooking and cleaning.
- Think of something you did well or that you are grateful for and then swap answers with a friend, partner or family member.
- Limit your time spent listening to or reading negative news.
Emotional expressiveness is having an awareness of your emotions as they occur and having the ability to process them effectively.
- It is better to acknowledge and work through your emotions than ignore them.
- When you get better at self-calming and controlling how you manage stress, you will also get better at noticing, naming and working through your emotions.
- No matter how strong they get, you are not alone in your emotions. Your emotions do not have to drive your actions, thoughts and how you treat yourself or others.
How to improve it
By acknowledging your emotions, you diffuse their strength, making them feel less overwhelming. Use the steps below to acknowledge and release your emotions.
It helps to find a quiet time in your schedule to practice the following process, such as during bathroom breaks, lunch breaks or short walks. As you get more comfortable with the process, it will feel more automatic each time a difficult emotion comes up.
Steps for emotional acknowledgement
- Notice when you start to feel overwhelmed.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Name the biggest emotions that are bubbling under the surface of your stress. Are you feeling scared, angry, sad, shocked or surprised?
- Notice where the emotions show up in your body, such as anger as a clenched fist, tight jaw or hotness in the face, fear as a knot in your stomach or sadness as a heaviness in your chest.
- Take another deep breath and give yourself permission to feel the emotion on the inside, without judgment and without trying to talk yourself out of it.
- Tell yourself something supportive like, "It's okay to have this feeling. It's normal to have emotions. I am not my emotions. I have the power to feel them and let them go."
- Take some deep breaths and picture the emotion lifting, releasing or letting go.
Some situations or emotions may need more time and support. You are not alone. Reach out and talk to caring friends, coworkers, family or professional counselors.
Being non-judgmental and self-supporting means you recognize when you are being overly harsh or critical with yourself and others, and you can change your thought patterns and language to be more positive.
- Be aware of your inner critic and how it influences your thoughts.
- Name your inner critic and call it out to see it as separate from yourself. You are in control and can make room for more positive and supportive self-talk.
How to improve it
When you notice a self-critical statement, imagine replacing "I" with "you" and saying it to someone else. If you would not say such a thing to your friend, coworker, child or partner, that is a good sign it's the inner critic talking and not your strongest, most supportive self.
As you notice judgmental thoughts, see if you can replace them with something more supportive from this list:
- It is normal to make mistakes. I own it and will grow from this situation.
- I will do my best and that’s enough. I can always try again.
- I am doing what I can with the time, knowledge and resources I have right now.
- When things don’t go right, it is an opportunity to learn and grow.
- I make an impact on the world just by being kind and by choosing to live bravely with my challenges.
Optimism is having positive expectations about the future and believing the right time, effort and support can make problems more solvable.
- Even though your brain is wired to notice the negative, it is possible to retrain your brain to be more positive.
- When a problem arises that feels beyond your control, take a deeper look at your perceptions. Try to find something you can take responsibility for, such as your attitude, being transparent and communicating well with others or owning your emotions.
- Clear old stories from your brain, including assumptions, snap judgments or past resentments, to make room for a more positive reality.
How to improve it
The brain can be strengthened like the muscles of the body. It just takes self-awareness and knowing how your perceptions influence your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Use these best practices to improve your self-awareness and train your brain to be more positive:
- Avoid jumping to conclusions about people and their motives or intentions. Give people the benefit of the doubt and trust their best intentions, especially when reading texts and emails.
- Stop listening to the voice in your head that repeats negative thoughts. This is your inner critic that keeps you stuck in the past.
- Ask yourself, "Does this thought keep me stuck or help move me forward?".
- Focus on the strengths you have to face the problem and what you can control, even if it is just your attitude or how kindly and compassionately you treat others.
- Forgive. It does not mean you must excuse or accept someone's bad behavior. It just means breaking the hold other people’s behavior has on you.
Hope is having the capacity to set goals, taking smaller action steps to reach those goals and staying flexible when things do not go as planned.
- Hope is the backbone of optimism. It is not enough to believe things will work out. You must also have goals and action steps you can take to improve the chances things will work out.
- Staying hopeful means staying flexible so you can adapt to all the change and challenges of life.
How to improve it
Hope requires you to tap into a deeper sense of self-confidence, resources and support. A great way to do that is to start a gratitude practice.
Gratitude is focused on both noticing and showing appreciation for positive things. Choose one or more of the following gratitude prompts to practice each day. It helps make it a habit when you exchange answers with friends, co-workers or family members.
- What/who am I thankful for today?
- What did I enjoy most about today?
- What did I do well or contribute today?
- What/who made me feel special or supported today?
- What made me laugh or smile today?
Hardiness is giving your best effort, even when it is tough. It includes focusing on what you can control about your situation and viewing difficult situations as learning opportunities.
- Hardiness can be trained with strategies that help you process your emotions, focus on the things you can control and help you work on something small to regain your self-confidence.
- Always ask yourself, "Why is it important for me to keep going?" and "How will I learn and grow from this challenge?"
- The opposite of hardiness is denial and avoidance.
How to improve it
If a situation or an issue is keeping you stuck and bringing you down, work on just a small piece of the puzzle that feels less overwhelming. This gives you momentum and restores confidence as you chip away at the larger issue.
- First, think about a task, situation or issue that feels overwhelming.
- Next, come up with a small, related thing to do that feels more manageable. Just start with that piece and go from there.
Sense of coherence is the belief that life is meaningful and worth the struggle. It also includes the belief that there are resources, routines and rituals to help you handle the chaotic and unpredictable parts of life.
- Your life is meaningful and how you respond to the challenges of life matters.
- You have the potential to make an impact on the world just by being grounded in your values and by choosing to live bravely and compassionately during challenges.
- Do your part to uplift yourself and others. Seemingly small things make a big difference.
- Trust that your efforts make an impact.
How to improve it
During tough times, our sense of coherence helps ground us and keep us resilient. A great way to improve it is to work on your ability to "hold 2 truths at once." If an overwhelming thought or feeling comes up, acknowledge it while also thinking of a truth to live alongside it. This truth should help ground you in a deeper sense of support, strength or gratitude.
Examples of holding two truths at once
- I am struggling. This is really hard on me right now.
I am grateful for my support system, and I know I am strong and will get through this.
- I can acknowledge and pay attention to my emotions
Not get overwhelmed by their strength.
- I am fearful of what things might look like in the future.
With more time and collaboration, we will figure out how to navigate the days ahead.
- I feel like I'm not doing enough.
I'm doing what I can in this moment. I'm doing the things I can control and that's enough.
Social support includes the support and encouragement shared between friends, family, co-workers and peers during good and bad times.
- A good social support system can help with a sense of belonging, safety, self-worth and improve depression and loneliness.
- Your support system should be diverse and include different types of people with different strengths. Good characteristics to have in your network include compassion, good listening skills and the ability to challenge you in a way that promotes your personal growth.
- In order to establish a strong support system, you must also be a good supporter for others. This takes practice.
How to improve it
Set good boundaries and ground rules for communication, especially when you or others start dumping versus sharing. Having a "dumper" in your support system feels extra draining and one-sided.
Knowing the difference between dumping and sharing can help you set healthy boundaries and communicate more effectively with your key support system.
Dumping vs. sharing
- Dumping: You have not done anything to self-calm prior to talking with your supporter. Sharing: You do something to self-calm prior to talking with your supporter, such as grounding or breathing.
- Dumping: You ignore any signs that this might not be the best time to ask for a listening ear. Sharing: You look for any signs that this might not be the best time to ask for a listening ear.
- Dumping: You do not check in with your supporter or ask how they are doing. Sharing: You check in with your supporter and ask how they are and if it’s an okay time to chat.
- Dumping: If they say, "Well, actually…," you would not wait, and you would start talking anyway. Sharing: You are okay with "no," and you can talk to someone else or wait for them to have time to talk.
- Dumping: You dump all your emotions and emotional energy on them without acknowledging how it is up to you to feel your own feelings and figure things out. Sharing: If the supporter can talk, you reassure them during the conversation that it’s on you to feel your feelings and to figure things out. It's not on them.