Resilience and ABC REDPublished 04/10/2014
We all want to be more resilient.

Resilience is about having the capacity to deal with difficult situations. Whether we think we have suffered particularly difficult times or not, we can all become more resilient for the future.

Just like self-defence, not all situations can be avoided through awareness. We still need to train our inner resilience to deal with, through physical actions, those difficult situations.

This is where the ABC RED model is useful.

ABC deals with the recognition, acceptance and avoidance of difficulty.

RED relates to strengthening our levels of resilience.

AWARENESS - We should try to recognise difficulty as soon as possible. Trust our instincts and go with them.

BREATHE - Resilient people acknowledge difficult situations, keep calm and evaluate matters rationally - so they can make a plan and act. We should breathe more purposefully more often.

CREATE SPACE - Creating some space in our life for the things that are most important like friends and family, can stem the difficulties being experienced. These things are not just the essentials in life but others like our hobbies and pastimes. However we cannot do everything and expect to not face difficulties. To get good at anything we need to put in the time and effort, the required focus and dedication. We should have a hunger for progress. This means creating some space.

RESPOND - In order to become more resilient, I mean that's the whole point here right? We should have some robust responses, so that when difficult situations turn up mob handed, we can kick serious ass!

Depending on the situation, we should seek help from our loved ones, advice from professionals or even just do or say what feels right at the time. Whatever the situation, we must respond.

ESCAPE - Just like self-defence, when our instinct kicks in, or it gets physical, our aim is to escape and get back to normality at the first opportunity.

In prolonged times of difficulty we may not feel up to making a significant kick ass response. We shouldn't fixate on making a massive change but just ensure change happens irrespective of size. Making small frequent responses is sometimes the better strategy. Making that first small change response is vital though. The key is to make it small and as soon as you can. Like an endurance athlete (that's essentially what we all are right?) that needs a fast acting energy hit, a jelly bean often does the trick. It's easily reachable from our pocket, it tastes nice and the effects are almost instant. 

The aim is to make an iterative process of responses that collectively contribute to a bigger more significant response. Ultimately, no further responses are needed and our escape can be made. The escape denotes a mental tick in the box as life moves on along a less strenuous path. 

DEBRIEFING is important and often overlooked. This is where after the storm has settled, we sit back and reflect. This has its challenges as it means going through the journey of difficulty all over again. At least by this time, it's not reliving it entirely. Thinking back over the actions made around the difficult period can stir up the same challenging emotions hindering the process itself, and moving on can seem the best option.

Hang in there!

The debrief can be as simple as you like, there will be lessons learned. A simple sentence of self-congratulation said out loud is sometimes enough to acknowledge just how resilient we actually are by the fact that we're looking back in hindsight.

So, give the ABC RED structure a try, and become more resilient.


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