Building Resilience Into Your Life

By Dr Justine Gatt 

COMPAS-W provides a framework of 6 key principles that you can adopt to build wellbeing and resilience to stress in your life:

C = Composure

O = Own-worth

M = Mastery

P = Positivity

A = Achievement

S = Satisfaction


1. Composure: 

Adaptive coping strategies (active problem solving, humour, yoga) rather than maladaptive ones (problem avoidance, denial, self-blame, venting, substance use/abuse)

Am I stressed? How do you deal with stress? Build self-awareness of your body when you are stressed (e.g., racing heart, irritation)

Respond not react: take a breath, pause before reacting and consider an alternative way to respond


2. Own-Worth: 

Know who you are and what you stand for: what are your values?

Healthy boundaries: preserve who you are by being assertive, daring to say ‘no’ when your boundaries are being compromised, and knowing when to seek help or support

Value yourself: have compassion for yourself and be your #1 supporter rather than worst enemy when things don’t work out as planned


3. Mastery: 

Build on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses: identify weaknesses that are potential roadblocks, and things you could master

Seek opportunities for growth: step out of your comfort zone, learn new things, and empower yourself with knowledge

Be self-reliant: keep your happiness in your own pocket – do not outsource your happiness to your partners/children: they are a part of it, but you need your own interests, goals and sources of inspiration


4. Positivity: 

Practice optimistic thinking: smile/laugh, have a positive outlook

Schedule time for fun! Seek out activities you enjoy and schedule them in

Positive “to-do” lists: At the end of the day/week, write lists of things you have achieved or that went well for you


5. Achievement: 

Identify your life purpose, your talents and interests: What drives you? what are you passionate about? What really excites you?

It doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as it makes you happy, brings you joy and a sense of achievement

Then set meaningful goals that satisfy your needs that are not contingent on the needs of others


6. Satisfaction: 

Be fit and healthy: Look after your body too – diet, sleep, exercise

Be mindful and “present” in the moment: remember the 5 senses, don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow

Practice gratitude: for everything good and lessons learned from the challenges


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