5 Strategies for Sustainable Resilience
It seems as though everyone wants to be resilient these days.
Going through life events of relationship breakups, job losses, relocation and personal losses due to death of a loved one and sometimes all within a ten day period , can lead one to feel fatigued, despondent, and in total despair. We don’t have too much control over external occurrences; but what if we could change our perception around these types of occurrences so that they don’t have such a negative impact on our resilience.
Resilience is both an innate quality as well as an acquired quality.
I started my research on resilience when I experienced a period of time when I was challenged with 3 top stressors: loss of a loved one, a move across the country and a job loss. I remember the moment when it all hit within a 48 hour period. Yes within 48 hours the tornado of life happenings hit like a wave closeout. For those that are unfamiliar, a wave that slams you and holds you for a few moments at the bottom of the ocean floor.
All of us have been faced with challenges, after all we are alive. We feel joy as well as pleasure and pain. Sometimes more pain than other times. What does it take to bounce back from the painful times? That all depends on how “resilient” we are.
Here I will share five major strategies to build sustainable resilience.
1. Awareness is a key principle. Acknowledge the root of the problem.
Awareness is key to change. Our level of awareness does indeed dictate how we operate in the world, our thinking, feeling and acting. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most important exercise for improving your resilience is to train your attention and awareness. Becoming more intentional and purposeful will decrease your negative thoughts and draw your attention to what is most meaningful around you. (Mayo Clinic, 2018).
We use breath as our gold standard to train and refine our awareness. Breath is the key to self-regulation.
2. Shifting perception from fear to fearlessness.
Fear drives all living organisms and a perceived threat creates fear. Stress comes when we perceive something that is dangerous to our well-being. Not everyone perceives circumstances the same way. For example, someone who has been bitten by a dog, may perceive a dog as dangerous; whereas, someone who has childhood memories of laughter and enjoyment with their dog, will have a different perception. When we use our awareness to watch our perceptions; then we can free ourselves from the ties that bind us in fear.
3. Training the energy of the mind by focusing our awareness.
Resilience starts in the mind. The most sophisticated and scientific way to train the mind is through breath. Breath, normally is taken for granted. It is clearly the gateway to understanding the mind and its functions as well as learning to master the energy of the mind. The energy of the mind is the essence of your life. It is your inner instrument. With all 4 functions working in order, the body is able to withstand the obstacles that fall along our way to sustaining resilience. Mind follows breath. By regulating the breath we regulate our resilience factor.
4. Bring mindfulness into focus.
Mindfulness is not enough if we want to restore function. To create change you have to take action. Being mindful does not require that you change; so it becomes necessary to bring it into focus. As we have already mentioned, bring the mind into focus with the breath; since the breath operates by self regulating our nervous system.
5. Resilience is both innate and acquired.
Resilience needs to be nurtured. Sounds like a play on words, but it is true. Although we are born with a resilience factor, we must acquire habits along the way that support a sound body and mind; especially if we are involved in the outside world. We know that resilience is an inner skill set and cannot be intellectually developed, but comes through experience.
“The goal of resilience training is to enhance the overall well-being and access the healing force with us”.
Resilience requires practice. No matter who or what exerts dominance over our bodies, our food, or our freedoms, we are in charge of what matters most: our mind. Train your mind because the energy of your mind is the essence of life.
Regardless of how we have been hurt, who we are stays the same, and our true self — our strength — our will —is ours to let die or to cultivate.