Stay cool during the coronavirus crisis
There are people whose optimism knows no bounds. Even during the current coronavirus crisis, they have no difficulty facing and accepting the situation. This inner strength is also called resilience. "It is a kind of mental immune system – and everybody can strengthen this immune system", says Dieter Studer, who works as a prevention management specialist at SWICA and has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.
The seven factors of inner strength
Resilience is based on seven pillars, all of which are closely interlinked. The pillars are: optimism, acceptance, solution orientation, mindfulness, self-responsibility, network orientation and future orientation.
Optimism Resilient people look positively into the future; in other words they have a healthy optimism. When changes happen, they look for possible positive effects. During the coronavirus crisis, for example, they have been using their time constructively to launch new projects or try out new sports (SWICA supports more than 100 online offerings). Even if things don’t turn out as they would like them to, they don’t bury their heads in the sand. Instead, they keep going over any hurdles that life places in their way.
Acceptance Resilient people direct their energy towards the things they can change and accept things and situations that can’t be changed. They let go of the past.
Solution orientation Resilient people have clear goals and pursue them without allowing themselves to become discouraged. But they also know when to abandon a goal they have set themselves. Resilient people are open to suggestions and think outside the box.
Mindfulness Mindful people have good self-perception. They focus their awareness on the here and now. This improves their concentration and significantly reduces stress levels. Incidentally, SWICA supports its customers by contributing up to 600 francs towards mindfulness courses run by BMBSR or TLEX. You can find out more here.
Self-responsibility Resilient people know that they can change themselves and things around them for the better through their behaviour. They are not victims; they shape their own lives. Everyone who tries out new things inevitably make mistakes – even people with special talents.
Network orientation Friendships have a positive influence on our perception of stress and even on cardiovascular diseases. Good friendships can be a source of strength in difficult times. As an African proverb says: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you have to go with others.
Future Orientation Resilient people not only have a vision of the future, they also have concrete goals in life – from daily goals to annual Goals.
How can I strengthen my resilience?
“If you want to strengthen your resilience, you should take a look at your personal balance of stresses and resources”, says Dieter Studer. As soon as you identify an imbalance, you should start building up your resources. “Whether this is done through hobbies such as nature, family, friendships and sport varies from person to person and is an aspect of self-management.” The following tips can help you to strengthen your resilience.
Look after yourself
Be mindful of yourself. Get into the habit of consciously doing something good at least once a day. “The easiest way is to make a list of things that help you to relax quickly”, says Dieter Studer. Perhaps it’s a relaxing bath? Exercise? Cooking? Your favourite food?
Mindfulness exercise: Use microbreaks when working from home to do mindfulness exercises, such as breathing exercises. Close your eyes, place your hands on your stomach and focus on your breathing. Breathe in deeply through your nose, feel the abdominal wall rising and then falling as you exhale.
Optimism can be learned. For example: You’re on your way home in your car. You’re stuck in traffic or you just happen to have a moment for yourself. Consider: What am I thankful for in my life? What am I happy about right now? What do others envy me for? What were the three good things that happened today? “These conscious thoughts will quickly improve your state of mind. Over the medium term, this approach will build your resilience. After all, daily moments of contentment give you a feeling of happiness and strengthen your defences for when times get tough”, explains Dieter Studer.