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10 Strategies Resilient People Use To Bounce Back When Life Knocks Them Down

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10 Strategies Resilient People Use To Bounce Back When Life Knocks Them Down

“People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters, they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under” Charles Swindoll

The word Resilience has its origin in the Latin word “resilíre,” which means, “to leap back” or as I like to say, “bounce back”. Resilience helps to make the uncertain things in our lives certain. Knowing how to “bounce back” from adversity and life challenges is something that all of us are able to do – we just need to know HOW.

Resilience enables you to live a life that is based on choice rather than being at the mercy of chance or habit. It also enables you to manage adversity and “bounce back” when life has shot you down.

When you are living a resilient life, you are living a fulfilled life, where you know who you are and you know what is important to you. You have a plan as to where you are going and you know where you should be investing your time and energy.

For you to lead a resilient life you have to overcome the pain, the adversity and the unpredictable challenges that life throws at you. It is not an easy journey, but then again, life was not meant to be easy.

The good news is that resilience is a process of thoughts and actions that can be learned. Although we can not control the challenging events in our lives, resilience can give us the strength to control our responses to these events.

Resilience Is A Life Story

Resilience is intangible, as you can’t touch it, but you can see and feel it. Resilience is a person’s life story and to truly understand and feel resilience at work, you need listen to resilient people’s stories. While you are listening to their stories, you will hear them talk about how they used various strategies to overcome the adversity and challenges in their life.

There are the 10 strategies that resilient people commonly use to manage adversity and to “bounce back” when life has knocked them down. By using these 10 strategies and listening to the stories of resilient individuals, you will be shown HOW you can live a resilient and fulfilled life.

1. Laughter Positivity And Hope

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” Dr Seuss

Resilient people live meaningful lives. They love to laugh and have a positive and hopeful attitude of life. Resilient people don’t take themselves too seriously and they have a sense of humour about the challenges of life.

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For resilient people, happiness comes because they believe in who they are, they know what they are doing, and they love what they do.

Resilient people are optimistic and believe in their own strength and ability to overcome any problems. In a crisis, a resilient person will be positive, open and willing to find the solution. They will not be dwelling on the problem but looking forward to the future solutions that should be considered.

Laughter, positivity and hope are important strateges to use when you want to build resilience in your life.

2. Accepting And Anticipating Change On A Daily Basis

it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.  Dr Leon C. Megginson

In todays world of constant change it is hard to hold on to who you are and manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. The one constant thing in our lives today is change.

Resilience is a quality that enables you to survive and thrive in a world of constant change. Resilient people are always ready for the unpredictable events in their lives. To them change is part of the daily routine of life. It is expected, and in fact, those who are most resilient embrace the opportunities that change brings.

3. Embracing The Power Of Choice

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” Kevyn Aucion

Resilient people are comfortable with using the power of choice. They understand the value of the power of choice when dealing with tough decisions or confronting challenging situations. Using the power of choice empowers and strengthens their ability to take action and to make decisions.

They know that they are not responsible for the challenging events in their lives. They also know they are in control of their responses to these events. By embracing the power of choice, resilient people are able to maintain perspective and manage the flow of emotions that they are dealing with in the present moment.

Resilient people are not afraid to to acknowledge their negative feelings, emotions and fears. Instead, they choose not to let these negative fears and emotions take control and immobilize them.

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4. Asking For Help

“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.”  Anne Wilson Schaef

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness to a resilient person. Resilient people seek support, advice and encouragement from others when times are tough.

They value the input of others, along with the wisdom and energy to overcome the adversity or solve the problems they are facing. Resilient people do not work or live in isolation. They enjoy belonging to a community and have a very collaborative approach when it comes to decision making and problem solving.

5. Being Self Aware And Connected

Resilient people practice the concept of mindfulness. They pay attention to where they are in the present moment. They are connected to what is important to them in their lives – family and friends. They know who they are and what they stand for.

They are self-aware and are able to monitor the thoughts that flow through them. This allows them to be able to tolerate ambiguity and hold opposing thoughts in their minds at the same time. Instead of reacting to their negative thoughts they will observe these thoughts and then let them pass through like a storm.

Their values and their purpose in life are the foundations from which they lead their lives. Any decision they need to make or any problem they need to solve will be aligned to their beliefs and values.

6. Living to Learn

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius

Resilient people learn to take charge of their thinking and emotions in order to become resilient. They know that to live a resilient life they must continuously develop and strengthen their skills and abilities to remain strong.

They are survivors and when faced with adversity will ask themselves, “How can I survive this and what do I need to do to overcome this obstacle?” They know their strengths and their vulnerabilities and they are solution-focused thinkers.

They will always look for ways in which they can source the best solution for the problem or challenges they need to overcome. Resilient people are inquisitive, curious and questioning – always seeking information or new knowledge that will help them to be a better and stronger person.

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They acquire new skills and knowledge through life experience, observation, reflection and from the wisdom of others. They believe in the journey of continuous self-improvement and see life challenges and adversity as an opportunity to learn.

Resilient people also understand that to live a resilient life one has to experience life – the good, the bad and the ugly.

7. Valuing The Importance of Health & Well-Being

“Intelligence comes into being when…the mind, the heart and the body are really harmonious” J Krishnamurti

The energy source of resilience comes from the physical and mental strength of a person. A resilient person understands the importance of being physically, emotionally and mentally fit. They understand the importance of consistently following daily healthy habits  that nurture and strength their health and well-being. Resilient people look after themselves and value the gift of having a healthy and emotionally strong body and mind.

They value the positive energy they get by surrounding themselves with like-minded people. This positive energy builds and maintains their emotional, physical and mental well-being. Resilient people have healthy and strong relationships which they value and nurture.

8. Practicing Appreciation & Gratitude

People who live a resilient life know that it is not a one-way ticket and that life is not all about them. It is about how they can help and support other people in their lives. They have an deep awareness of people and how they feel. They actively practice gratitude and will always acknowledge their appreciation of others. Resilient people like to serve others and develop supportive and caring relationships.

This strategy of  practicing appreciation and gratitude strengthens the emotional resilience in people. Resilient people are grateful and appreciate all the good things they have in their life. When adversity strikes, resilient people are able to keep perspective because they are emotionally resilient.

9. Embrace Failure and Disappointment

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved” Helen Keller

Resilient people have the mindset of a survivor and not a victim. They expect to make mistakes, to fail, and to be disappointed. They know that to be strong, one has to overcome adversity and failure.

They embrace life learning experiences such as failure and disappointment because it enables them to grow and become a better person.

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Resilient people do not seek validation from others to determine their success. They define their success in their own terms.

To help them define their key learnings and how they can move forward in their lives, resilient people will ask these three questions:

1. What went well?

2. What didn’t go so well?

3. What can I do better next time?

Those who are resilient do not typically have a fear of failure and they understand the importance of how they respond to their failures. Resilient people choose to respond to failure by “bouncing back” and starting again.

10. Be Adaptable, Flexible and Flow

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way ’round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves”   Bruce Lee

Resilient people understand that life is not static – it is unpredictable and challenging. Adaptability, flexibility and flow are key strengths that enable resilient people to manage the unpredictability of life. These three strengths are also essential for all the other nine resilient strategies that resilient people use to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.

Adaptability, flexibility and flow give resilient people the capacity to cope internally with the complexity of life and the range of positive and negative emotions they will experience in their lives.

If you want to live a resilient life, it is a tough journey because to be resilient you have to experience personal setbacks. This is undoubtedly scary, and for many of us, we choose not to embrace resilience and our life languishes. Resilient people know the huge effort and energy it takes to be able to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.

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They use these 10 strategies to build their strength and capacity to lead a resilient life. They choose to embrace the unpredictability of life, the pain and the adversity because they know that the rewards they gain from choosing a resilient life are priceless. It is easy to take these strategies and want to follow them to lead a resilient life, but to actually follow them and live by them is a feat all on its own.

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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