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News & Press: Blog

Resilience Amidst The Coronavirus Pandemic

10 June 2020   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Zoryna O’Donnell
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As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the globe and in the UK, the impact of the crisis on people’s mental health becomes more profound and our resilience is being truly tested in this unprecedented situation.

While there is no singe scientific definition of resilience, it is often described as the ability to recover and bounce back from adversity and hardships, feeling stronger and more capable to cope than ever before. 

Resilient people “roll with the punches” and deal with perceived adverse situations in a positive and creative way; transform challenge into an opportunity; and absorb any learning offered by setbacks quickly and at minimum physical and mental cost. We need all of these qualities even more now, while we are dealing with the personal, societal and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Although resilience is linked to our personality type and our genetic make-up, we can learn resilience skills and strategies that will make a remarkable difference to our professional and personal lives. Furthermore, people with the lowest natural (inborn) levels of resilience have a greater capacity to develop it, according to research. 

In her article How Resilience Works, Diane Coutu looked at some of the theories of resilience and concluded that they all overlap in recognising that resilient people seem to have the following key qualities: 

  • A staunch acceptance of reality – the optimistic realism rather than unreserved optimism which can distort the sense of reality and create unachievable expectations.
  • A deep belief that life is meaningful, even a current hardship – the belief that puts present difficulties into prospective, allows one to rise above the sufferings of the moment, and acts as a beacon leading from present adversity to a better future.
  • An uncanny ability to improvise – the ability to make do with whatever is at hand and to mobilise help from others when they need it. 

Each one of these qualities is crucial for us if we want to thrive, not just survive during the global crisis brought about by the COVID-19. As Diane Coutu pointed out, “You can bounce back from hardship with just one or two of these qualities, but you will only be truly resilient with all three.” 

If you want to find out how resilient you are to stress and adversity now, you can use a free online resilience test. Once you have completed this 50 item resilience questionnaire, your results will be provided to you, along with feedback.

Take some time to reflect on the feedback from the test and key qualities of resilient people.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I have some or all of these key qualities?
  • How well are they developed? 
  • What can I do to develop these qualities even more?
  • What could be my three top actions needed to develop further each one of these three qualities?
  • Who else/what else is needed to help me with these actions?
Then, create your own success strategy – a plan of actions designed to achieve your overall goal of improving your resilience.

Ask yourself: 

  • What actions and techniques do I chose to build up my resilience? 
  • How will I implement this strategy? 

Record what happens when you use this strategy (actions and techniques). Amend and improve it if required after two weeks.  

After applying this strategy for at least four weeks, reflect on, and record the overall effect of this strategy. Make further changes and improvements if required.

Finally, if you ever need to top up your motivation to become truly resilient, read this blog by Jon Morrow: 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face.

Make an effort to develop your resilience and notice the difference it will make to all areas of your life – now and after this crisis is over.

Guest blogger bio

Zoryna O'Donnell is a change consultant, ICF coach, trainer, public speaker, author and business owner. She is alumna of The Neuroscience Academy and a creator of several high impact programmes such as Quantum Leap to Success®, Breakthrough Skills Programme™, Leading Change with the Brain in Mind™, mindworks4wellbeing® and the Workplace Wellness programme. Zoryna is a contributor to the Psychreg - a Highly Commended Blog (UK Blog Awards 2017 and 2018) and one of the 10 Most Influential Psychology Blogs in the world; and to The Best Brain Possible blog dedicated to mental health. She is also a Mentor of the Warwick Business School (WBS) Mentoring Programme, providing career mentoring and advice to individual students and graduates of the Warwick Business School MBA Programme. 

You can connect with Zoryna on Twitter @ZorynaODonnell  


Zoryna O'Donnell says...
Posted 17 June 2020
Link to the FREE online Resilience Test mentioned in this article:

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