Building Resilience



Leeds Hypnotherapy
Resilience by Tam Emery, Leeds Hypnotherapist.


So, what is resilience?


Resilience is the ability to bounce back; to cope with stressful situations; to adapt well in the

face of adversity; having a positive, growth mindset… We all know resilience. And if we

didn’t, I’m sure that there isn’t anyone that hasn’t become familiar with resilience over the

past couple of years.

There are many factors that can increase resilience; by having a positive mindset; by

maintaining positive personal relationships; having a good self-image; having a good

support system; making and carrying out realistic plans; pushing your limits; effectively

expressing yourself and communicating with those closest to you… Many, many factors.

We know that one of the most prevalent factors in building resilience is pushing ourselves,

pushing our limits. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing each day that scares you”. But

why is this?


What’s going on in the brain?


The main reason is the limbic system, or our Primitive brain. This part of the brain is

emotionally-driven. There is no logic or rationality here; it is negative, reactionary, obsessive

and instinctive. It will always see things from the worst possible perspective, for our self-

preservation, and is constantly vigilant. The three main components of the limbic system are

the hypothalamus, which regulates all chemical responses in our body and mind, the

amygdala, which is responsible for the fight/flight response, and the hippocampus.

Our hippocampus is responsible for numerous things – memories, negative emotions, habits,

fears, patterns of behaviour and thought patterns - many of which are the reason some of

us are more resilient than others. I liken the hippocampus to a library containing millions of

files, which relate to everything we have encountered or experienced in our life. Every time

we have a new experience or encounter a new thing, we write a new file. And every time

we repeat that event or encounter that stimulus, we update the relevant files – whether that

be with positive or negative information, depending on our experience and emotion. Our

amygdala only reacts to what is written in our files – so if the file says we fear flying

because we once experienced turbulence, we will react with fear to flying. However, if we

begin to change what is written in the files – by changing our mindset, our actions and our

behaviour – we will react accordingly. Therefore, having a more positive viewpoint on things

will invariably write more positive files… And we will begin to react in a more positive

manner.


How do we change it?


Firstly, it is important to understand that not all stress is harmful, in fact a certain amount of

stress is necessary in our lives… We need a degree of manageable stress to enable us to

push ourselves and to test ourselves. It is so important to human beings to keep striving,


not only for our self-confidence and self-belief, but the ability to overcome problems helps to

write the relevant ‘resilience’ files in the hippocampus, in our libraries. We, as humans, can

understand that life can be tough but we need those difficult experiences to allow us to

recognise and appreciate the good things and times in our lives. We will all experience

trauma and stress at some point in our life, but if you can recognise, understand and cope

with it, you will build you resilience levels. Remember nobody and no thing can make us feel

a certain way – things that are stressful are so because we allow them so to be. Try to let

the small things go; by allowing enough insignificant things build up they will eventually

become significant. These things happen, but it’s how we deal with them that makes us the

strong, resilient people we are.

The easiest way of improving our resilience levels is by improving our mindset; from

changing from a negative to a more positive viewpoint. Never underestimate the power of

positivity on a neuroscientific level; about how important it is to increase neural growth with

positive growth; about how a growth mindset drives motivation, determination and

achievement. If we have the belief that we can change and improve both our abilities and

our intellect, we will likely be more adept at problem solving, more curious as to how we can

improve our abilities, more accepting of change and much more likely to have a more

positive outlook and thus a happier life – all of which increases resilience levels. We know,

thanks to many years of scientific research, that there is a definite link between a growth

mindset and the activation in two key areas of the brain; the anterior cingulate cortex –

which is involved in learning and control – and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – which is

involved in error-monitoring and behavioural adaptation. From this we can deduce that a

growth mindset seems to be linked to higher motivation levels and error corrective

behaviour. So, a growth mindset allows people to see failure as a necessary learning

experience and bounce back easier than those with a fixed mindset and encourages

increased brain activity. It’s also worth noting that the setting of and achievements of goals

– no matter how small or seemingly insignificant - is also incredibly important to our

increasing our wellbeing and resilience levels in life due to the release of dopamine, our

reward chemical, and the updating of the relevant files in the hippocampus.


Hypnotherapy and resilience

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can really help develop a more positive, growth mindset and

an increase in motivation to make positive changes, while helping with the ability to cope

better in stressful situations. Using a combination of psychotherapy and hypnosis – all based

on neuroscientific research – we can rewrite the files in the hippocampus; rewire the brain,

if you will, and encourage the subconscious mind to make the changes to our thought

patterns and behavioral patterns needed to build resilience. Physiologically, by lowering

cortisol levels, increasing serotonin amounts and learning new coping techniques, we can

strengthen the positive neuropathways and increase our overall feeling of wellbeing. And, by

exploring new ways of thinking and shifting our perspective of situations, we can begin to

make small changes to help build resilience levels – in all areas of life.


In short, you can build resilience by:


 Being more positive

 Being kinder to yourself

 Pushing your limits

 Stepping out of your comfort zone

 Setting achievable goals – and doing them!

 Making an effort to keep calm and letting insignificant things go

 Practising expressing yourself calmly and confidently

 Using positive affirmations

 Practising positive body language and using verbal language

 Practising hypnotherapy


For more information on how to build your resilience or to book in with our qualified and

experienced Leeds hypnotherapist, please drop us a line or fill in our contact form here.*

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