- Naturopathic Medicine
Christina Carreau BA, ND
Resiliency – ‘the ability to recover from difficult life events‘;’ to withstand adversity and bounce back and grow despite life’s downturns.’
We all have vulnerabilities, we all have weaknesses, we all have moments of fear where we may feel we have lost our way. Even those who we look upon as “rocks”, who remain stoic and unflappable in the face of adversity – they most assuredly also have their moments of doubt. The attribute that empowers each of us to choose to sink or to swim, to rise or to fall, to breath or to panic is resiliency. And like any personal attribute we can work on our resiliency to strengthen it. I believe the current situation is an opportunity to do this and have provided some tools that may help you with this.
Five Tools To Build Resiliency
- Nurture Yourself – In the face of stress we often neglect to take care of ourselves. That can mean staying up too late, disconnecting from loved ones, eating too much or too little, not moving our bodies, drinking too much coffee or alcohol, not drinking enough water, etc. What if we chose to take better care of ourselves during stressful times? What if we nurtured ourselves with more sleep, healthier food, proper hydration, love and movement. This alone can be a game changer and is a powerful tool that helps us better adapt and overcome stress.
- Establish Goals – Goals help give you purpose and direction. They motivate healthy behaviours and support focus. In times of stress, the smaller the goal, the better. This way you keep your goals attainable and they serve as stepping stones to guide you through challenging times and events. Consider writing them down, even sharing them with a friend, celebrate your progress when you achieve your goals and be open to changing your goals if they are causing you more stress than good.
- Connectedness – In the face of stress, prioritize your relationships and lean in to friends and family for support. Research shows that social support helps us better cope with stress, improves motivation and encourages healthy choices and behaviours. Connecting with people who understand and care about you and your well-being will help you boost your resiliency.
- Practice Mindfulness – When we create time and space in our lives to bring awareness to what we are experiencing in the present moment, we gain insight and clarity into our subjective experience. If we are willing to accept that it is our interpretation of events that either helps us our hurts us then we are in a position to alter that experience in our favour. The self-talk that we engage in around events that happen in the world, ultimately determines the emotions that we experience around those events. Often in times of stress our self-talk is centered around fear, worry, guilt, blame and/or shame but when we are able to deconstruct and reframe those fear-based feelings it can instantly change our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and body sensations. Let your interpretations be rooted in compassion, openness, acceptance and awareness.
- Optimism –In every situation the glass is both half empty and half full and your lens and focus determine your interpretation of that experience. Research has shown that there are a number of health benefits related to optimism and having a positive outlook in life. These benefits include better physical and mental health, lower stress levels, greater motivation and persistence. This is a learned skill and one that takes practice but similar to mindfulness, we can change the way that we think, which in turn can change the way that we feel, which in turn can change our entire outlook on life! Try and find the silver linings when you can.
We are all juggling stress on a regular basis, so don’t wait until the stress is overwhelming to take action. Start now…small changes today amount to huge changes over time.
“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” Elizabeth Edwards
Let’s turn our stress into strength by adjusting our sails and boosting our resilience.