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Hypnotherapy: building resilience and overcoming anxiety, Part 2

Blog from Mark D. Leahy, Clinical Hypnotherapist:

Today’s blog will explain about building resilience, and how hypnotherapy can help, along with my top tips. Part one of this blog explained what hypnotherapy is, and how it can help with anxiety.

I have recently spoken about building resilience through hypnotherapy in this webinar that you can watch now.

Building resilience

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy can be used to help us develop and build our resilience. Below I offer six tips for building resilience, all of which can be mastered when acquired and developed under hypnosis. Of course, hypnotherapy is not essential in developing resilience – but it can be very powerful in supporting our efforts!

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures. It enables us to adapt well in the face of adversity.

But my advice is don’t wait for adversity to strike before you think about building resilience – start now! Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed by anyone.

What’s interesting is that research has shown that resilience is not extra-ordinary – it’s actually ordinary and ordinary people commonly demonstrate resilience.

Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress – but it means they can cope better with it and bounce back more quickly – and this is where hypnotherapy can help.
I’ve got 6 top tips for building and developing resilience; here they are:

Mark’s Top 6 tips for building resilience

1 Realise the ways you’re already resilient.

Most of us have some degree of resilience – maybe more than we think. Think about the three toughest times in your life; how did you get through those times? Reflect on those times and how you got through them. Give yourself credit for how you coped and the actions you took. You probably already know more about being resilient than you realise.

People who face some adversity in their lives become stronger. Of course, it depends on a lot of other factors — how big is the adversity, how much support is available? — but by learning to cope with stress and having that experience, we gain confidence and we gain preparation; we sometimes forget that. We sometimes focus on how we’re broken rather than how we’re strong. Focus on the resilience and see yourself as someone who is even better prepared for life than the average person because you’ve already lived so much of it.

2 Build self-esteem and Positive Beliefs in Your Abilities

Having confidence in your own ability to cope with the stresses of life can play an important part in resilience. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
Research has demonstrated that your self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Regularly remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments.

When you hear negative comments in your head, practice immediately replacing them with positive ones, such as, “I can do this,” “I’m a great friend/father/partner,” or “I’m good at my job.”

Becoming more confident in your own abilities, including your ability to respond to and deal with a crisis, is a great way to build resilience for the future.

3 Nurture Yourself/Take care of yourself – be compassionate

When you’re stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis.

Focus on building your self-nurturance skills, even when you’re troubled. Make time for regular exercise and for activities that you enjoy and find relaxing – this helps you “switch off” for a while and shift your focus, lowering your stress levels.

4 Don’t catastrophize – avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems

You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations. In hypnotherapy we use re-framing techniques to see things from a different perspective – e.g. don’t refer to a problem; refer to a challenge.

Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.

5 Accept that change is a part of living – embrace change

Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis.

Resilient people often utilize these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. While some people may be crushed by abrupt changes, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.

6 Take your sense of humour seriously

We’ve all heard the phrase that laughter is the best medicine. Humour helps us keep a balance between the serious things in life and the less serious – it keeps us grounded. Laughing in the face of adversity can be profoundly pain relieving, for both the body and mind.

There are many reasons why playful humour helps us survive: for one thing, laughing reduces tension to more moderate levels. And psychologically, choosing humour can be incredibly empowering: playing with a situation makes a person more powerful than sheer determination alone does. The person who toys with the situation creates an inner feeling of ‘This is my plaything; I am bigger than it . . . I won’t let it scare me.’

I’m not suggesting we adopt a Pollyanna-like optimism; that’s not realistic – but humour can actively confront, proactively reframe, and at times transform the tragic.

So, start today. Use my top 6 tips for building resilience.

If you’d like to re-read Part 1 of this blog, click here.