• Eileen Woodford

Personal Resilience and a Sense of Humour

Resilience is our ability to overcome and deal with the challenges life throws at us - at work, at home, our health, relationships etc. At any given time our Resilience and ability to cope depends on what is going on within our lives, our experiences and the learning we had growing up and watching others deal with crisis.

I have often been asked "How do I do it?" - How do I seem to come through crisis and out the other side with a smile on my face and seemingly unscathed!! As one person put it "it's like you finish a chapter in a book and just move on to the next one - the book being the story of your life!". Well the answer to that is I don't really know but I have given it much thought and realised that one of the most important things for me is a sense of humour!


Often when things go wrong we stop laughing. We may become so engrossed in the problem that we forget to laugh, to experience enjoyment. We may also feel guilty if we are seen laughing - "there can't be that much wrong, I saw them having a good old laugh!!!" But laugh is one of the things we should do - laughing is known to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and create a feelgood feeling, so surely laughter is possibly one of the backbones of resilience? Especially needed when things go wrong?

In my opinion it is and as a result I created "The Laughter of Resilience"(c) outlining the things we need in order to be Resilient within our lives.

L is for Listening: We all need someone to whom we can turn and talk, cry, shout, get angry, even swear! We need a space where we will not be judged, where we feel safe enough to speak openly. This could be a friend, family member, coach, neighbour - it doesn't matter once we have someone.

A is for Adapt: Be open to change, as challenges and crisis are fundamentally change we do not want or are not ready for, however if we are adaptable and prepared to take it on board (regardless of how hard it is) it will definitely be easier to manage.

U is for Unwind: Even in good times it is necessary that we take time for ourselves and unwind. If we keep going without down time then something will give. When things are not going so well and we need to be strong, then it is absolutely crucial that we find some space for ourselves - a walk, a swim, going out for a coffee with a friend, reading a book,'s about being engaged in what we are doing and taking our focus away from the problem, even if only for a short time.

G is for Gratitude: It may seem strange to talk about gratitude in the face of crisis or challenge BUT that is when it is so important. If we can focus on what we have within our lives that is good, then it maintains a certain amount of balance and will therefore enable us to stay calmer and more focused on the task in hand - and that is having the ability to deal with and overcome the challenge.

H is for Humour: This is so important. As I said above it is often at times like this that we forget to laugh, however laugh & laugh as much as you can, Laugh until your belly hurts AND DO NOT feel guilty about it. It has many benefits personally and it is also benefits relationships with yourself and others. Again it helps to bring about a balance within the situation we find ourselves in, so that it is not all doom & gloom. Connected with gratitude it can really help to change our mindset and enable us to actively have a hand in the process of recovery.

T is for Trust: We need to develop a trust in our own skills and abilities, a confidence. Unfortunately it is sometimes only when crisis comes knocking on our door do we realise how strong we really are, we find skills and resources within that we didn't know we had. We suddenly have the ability to reach out for help and even realise what help it is we need. So trust that you do have what it takes to manage the situation in that (a) Personally you have the skills and abilities and/or (b) You can identify that you need help and ask for it.

E is for Expectation: One of the worst things we can do in life is to try to live up to the expectations of others - it can only lead to disappointment, feelings of failure and/or discontent etc. When things go wrong the same applies, so forget about what you assume others expect from you and have the courage to live to your expectations of yourself and situation i.e. what you want to strive for and achieve where possible. If you live by others it will only make the process of dealing with a crisis all the more difficult. Know what you want and stay true to that.

R is for Realistic: No rose tinted or black-out glasses allowed!! Be realistic about what is going on. If you have been diagnosed with a serious illness, if you have discovered your business has gone belly-up, if your partner has just told you they are leaving - be real about it. Don't lie to yourself and pretend that (a) it's either not as bad as it is or (b) that it's not happening, as neither is helpful. It is only when we accept what has happened (is happening) can we truly begin to manage the situation, and begin the process of overcoming to move onto the next stage.

"The Laughter of Resilience"(c) has been created by me as a result of the challenges I have faced, and continue to do so in my life. I hope you may find this useful :-)

#resilience #laughter #challenge