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What makes humans so fascinating is the unique differences between each and everyone one of us. The nuances that allow us to shine bright, the quirky intricacies which make us intrigued by a person we meet for the first time. With this in mind, we will all experience this time in a slightly different way, what is a challenge and a major stressor for one individual, may not be cognitively appraised as a stressor for another. Equally, how one individual best copes with these stressors, will be different from how another individual chooses to work through these challenges. Within sport, there are key psychological factors that can protect athletes from the negative effects of stressful experiences, supporting them through the challenge. These factors are ever more relevant for us today, but the key is to spend time understanding and discovering which of these factors is the most valuable and supportive for you. In doing so, we help build our resilience through this incredibly challenging period of time, coming out of it with the insight we may not have had before and preparing us for times ahead where we can draw on these skills and resources.
Consider some of the factors below which may work for you.
Building resilience is not about just being positive. Even paying attention to the smallest of events can be a buffer for the negative psychological effects of stressors. Try reflecting on your day including one thing which went well, one thing you could have done better, and one thing you would like to incorporate into your day tomorrow. Be honest about your feelings, and remember, building resilience is not about suppressing emotions or thoughts, it is about recognising there are alternative ways to think about a situation and managing those emotions which do arise.
Day to day, hour to hour, our motivation will fluctuate. Be sensitive to these changes and begin to recognise the different types of motivators which keep you going. For example, are they internal, coming from an inner drive? Or are external, from outer pressures? Regard your decisions in your day as active choices, moving you one step forward, as opposed to sacrifices holding you back.
Focus on what you can control and park that which you cannot. Try drawing two circles on a piece of paper. In the middle circle, write everything you can control here. That may include your bedtime, your nutrition, your exercise, and turning off the news. In the outer circle, write what you cannot control. That may include other people’s behaviour, or predictions about what may happen. On looking at these two circles in front of you, pause to think about where you focus your energy. Where do you direct your attention, your thoughts, and your actions? Are they on the inner circles, those elements which you can control, or are they on the outer circle, on those which, ultimately, you have no influence over?
The way in which we reach out for support may have changed over the last few years, but this does not stop us from recognising and knowing who we can go to for what type of support. Consider who you reach out to when you are feeling emotional, when you need guidance, or when you are in need of a confidence boost or a physical helping hand.
Which one of these four areas do you connect with the most? Upon spending time to discover which is most valuable for you, begin to incorporate it more often into your day. We are bombarded with ideas for self-care and well-being, so in an effort to remain focused on what really works, spend a short time discovering what you find most valuable, pay attention, and repeat.