Top psychologist launches new resilience guide, as young people fear for the future

Leading psychologist Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA Health, has today launched a guide to help Brits build their resilience and become better equipped to face life’s challenges.

1 February 2017

Posted in Community

  • Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and to keep going in the face of tough demands and difficult circumstances1
  • 78 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds want to be more resilient, with almost a third (31 per cent) saying they fear what faces them in the future
  • Psychologist Dr Mark Winwood launches a new guide to help people to build resilience and improve their wellbeing

The guide follows in the wake of new research2 from AXA Health which finds that many Brits (62 per cent) say they want to build their ability to bounce back from setbacks by being more resilient. What’s more, they’re not confident in the ability of others to keep going in the face of tough demands and difficult circumstances – only 15 per cent rate the resilience of the UK population as high.3

The desire to be more resilient is especially prominent in younger people – 78 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds want to be more resilient, compared with 44 per cent of those aged 55+. Almost a third (31 per cent) of younger adults say fear of what faces them in the future is behind this while only 11 per cent of those aged 55+ say this is the case.

Younger people who wished to be more resilient also had greater expectations for the boost it would bring compared with those of their older counterparts: 35 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds believed being more resilient would help them at work, compared with just 6 per cent of those aged 55+. In a similar vein, 33 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 years old felt that being more resilient would help them in their day-to-day lives and relationships versus 26 per cent of those aged 55+.

To help people feel better prepared to face life’s challenges, Dr Winwood has devised a guide to help people to thrive. By focusing on five key factors – energy, perspective, priorities, relationships, and emotional intelligence – we can all build our resilience:

  • Improve your energy – Energy management is key to building resilience as it influences how well we sleep. Taking regular exercise, staying hydrated and reducing caffeine intake can all help control our energy levels to support good quality sleep.
  • Get some perspective – A considered and reasonable approach can help us to see the bigger picture when we’re thinking over a problem – and then come up with solutions. Taking a short, brisk walk can help our clarity of thought and problem solving by allowing us to reflect.
  • Think about your priorities – It’s important to take time for ourselves in order to relax and think about our goals in life based on our values and strengths.
  • Create meaningful relationships – Having a support network of family, friends, colleagues and other social groups helps us feel connected and valued. This is important when we’re facing awkward or difficult situations because we know where to find support, advice and comfort.
  • Work on your Emotional Intelligence – Being able to identify and manage our own emotions, as well as identify other’s, can help us see things objectively. This can help when we feel threatened. Our interpersonal skills also help us connect emotionally with others as part of building resilience.

Dr Mark Winwood comments: “While we’re not necessarily born with an ability to deal with potential setbacks, some people can appear to be better equipped – or more resilient – than others to face life’s challenges. But resilience is something we can all develop and grow. Being aware of the lifestyle choices that can increase our ability to bend rather than break when we face adversity can help us not only survive, but thrive.”

Dr Winwood continued: “While committing to make big changes can seem daunting, taking a number of small steps such as reducing caffeine intake, taking a lunchtime walk and spending time with our friends and family can make a big difference to how we feel. I’m urging Brits to make small changes such as these and see how they boost wellbeing and resilience.”

To help people take a simple first step to building their resilience by improving their energy, AXA Health (mental health resilience page) is encouraging people to join a Caffeine Curfew – cutting out caffeine after 2pm each day for 4 weeks to see how this affects their quality of sleep. Join the conversation using #TRYit.

1 CL Cooper, J Flint-Taylor & M Pearn (2013), Building resilience for success: a resource for managers and organizations. Palgrave Macmillan.

2 Research of 2,000 UK adults undertaken in January 2017 by research agency Vitreous World.

3 Respondents were asked to rate the level of resilience on a scale of 0 (not resilient) to 10 (highly resilient), with 0-5 scored interpreted as being low, 6-7 interpreted as medium and 8-10 interpreted as being high.