Beyond Resilience: Why Bounce Back When You Can Bounce Forwards?

Resilience is a word that we hear and read a lot about at the moment. It can be defined as the capacity to recover quickly from set-backs, difficulties or life changes. Whilst the ability to bounce back from challenging situations is clearly a step in the right direction and much better than struggling to cope, there is something even better: the ability to learn and grow from mistakes and turn challenges and set backs into opportunities to learn new skills and come out feeling stronger and more powerful than before. The very description of “bouncing back” indicates that very little, if anything, has improved: you coped and then carried on as before. How much more amazing to improve the quality of your life after a difficulty: to be able to bounce forward rather than just bounce back. This ability to bounce forwards is a key element to thriving.

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When life is on an even keel, there may be a tendency to have very little drive towards making positive changes. We often just keep doing what we’ve always done. Sometimes, it is only when there is a major life event that we take stock and decide to make beneficial, meaningful life changes. Post-traumatic growth is when we have a positive psychological change as a result of difficulties and, as a result, we function better than we did before. We may have an increased appreciation for life; a deeper connection with what is important to us; a new perspective on both life and ourselves; better relationships; more confidence in our abilities and an openness to new experiences. This idea of processing experiences in a helpful way is central to how Thrive Consultants support clients in making positive changes: we are the not result of our life experiences, we are the result of how we PROCESS our life experiences.

How we perceive and react to stress is important in bouncing forwards and thriving rather than struggling, surviving or coping. If we only see stress or challenges as negative and damaging rather than potentially motivating and energising, they will almost certainly have an unhelpful, limiting effect on us in life. If you take the scenario of two people in a waiting room before an interview: one attributes the feelings of the adrenalin they are releasing as anxiety and thinks, “This awful, I feel so anxious. I can’t do this. I’m going to panic and forget what I want it say….”, the other interprets the adrenalin in a helpful way, attributing it as being energising and thinks, “I am so ready for this opportunity. I’m excited to get in there and show what I can do…”. The contrasting ways these two people THINK ABOUT and PROCESS  this situation is so important in whether they struggle, survive or thrive in the interview. The really exciting thing is that with The Thrive Programme, you can learn how to change the way you think about and process experiences, no matter how long you have been thinking that way!

When we are resilient we can manage our feelings of anxiety, which is clearly better than struggling with anxious feelings. However, thriving is about choosing to creating calm rather than anxiety. It is about developing really helpful beliefs and being psychologically strong so that you view set-backs in an entirely different way. You can start to see the opportunities in challenges. You look for what you can learn from mistakes and failures. You seek out and embrace change. Working through The Thrive Programme supports the development and maintenance of all of these skills.

Please contact me if you are going through a life challenge at the moment and you would like to thrive rather than just survive. Even better, instead of  waiting for adversity before you make the decision to thrive as many people understandably do: go through The Thrive Programme whatever is going on in your life so that you are in the best position to bounce forward any place, anywhere at any time!

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