What is resilience – and is this what we should be aiming for?

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Meet life head on: be proactive, not reactive - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many people think the peak of mental wellbeing is to be resilient. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great skill to have but there is a whole other level up from resilience. It’s called thriving. But what does this look like? And what difference can it make to your life?

A thriving person does everything they can to make the best of their life. They do all they can to be as successful in their personal, emotional and business life as they can be. This requires a certain number of critical psychological processes to be taking place.

Much of this is based upon what your beliefs are and how well you manage your beliefs. If you believe, for example that you are powerful person and can make things happen in your life, that you can overcome hurdles and make changes, you’re much more likely to feel more positive, confident and stronger across a broad range of situations.

You’re able to manage your thinking, be positive, forward thinking and have a ‘growth mindset’ (seeing positivity and optimism in everything you do). Always looking to be better, always looking to do better, feeling and believing that you can make more of a situation than you currently are.

All resilience means is that you can bounce back. A thriving person doesn’t need to bounce back because they are always surfing on the crest of positivity, happiness and feeling in control of their life. Of course, they are going to meet the challenges, but a thriving person knows that they can cope with difficult situations.

It’s much easier to prevent something happening than to have to cure it afterwards, and thriving is also a preventative set of skills – you’re managing your emotional, psychological wellbeing, your work life far better than the average person. Each day you wake up with optimism, you feel strong, able to make changes and achieve what you want to.

It’s also having a realistic appraisal of a situation. There is a lot of uncertainly in the world at the moment and many people feel subdued, but a thriving person makes the best of that situation and remains positive, optimistic, focused and still works hard to achieve their goals despite what is going on in the world.

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Thriving is about having the right mindset, the right attitude, looking forward, feeling positive, feeling powerful.

A positive person experiences life differently to a negative person. An optimistic person sees opportunities that another person doesn’t see.

The best thing of all? No-one is born with these attributes – they are all learned behaviours, learned thinking styles, beliefs that people have that they created by working hard and challenging themselves. Not being held back, not allowing themselves to respond to setbacks in a negative way, always jumping back on their feet looking forward, thinking and working hard. Really trying to squeeze the most out of their lives and achieve whatever they put their minds to. A thriving person feels powerful, happy, confident and strong. All of these attributes are easily achievable for the person that focuses on them and works hard.

Phillipa is a Thrive Programme Coach. Find her on Instagram @thrive.with.philippa and Facebook @Thrive with Philippa