The quality of resilience is something particularly important during these challenging times that we are all facing. Everyone I know has had friends or family members fall ill or die, encounter difficulties through employment and housing, feel the loss of hugs and other benefits of intimate relationships, and much more.
According to the definition, people who are resilient are able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Resilience is a quality that we can cultivate into a skill that we bring to adversity. We are not necessarily born with it, but we learn how to be resilient through a variety of techniques and contemplations.
Reflect and practice with the suggestions listed below and notice your ability to bounce back happen more quickly and more successfully.
Seven Techniques for Developing Resilience
1. Cultivate the skill of mindfulness.
Mindfulness has been shown to be effective at helping people be more physically and psychologically resilient. Everyone will react to stress because that is how your body is designed. However, according to decades of research, when you use the skill of mindfulness, you will recover more quickly from stress. It is the quicker recovery from stress that makes a huge difference in your physical and mental health. Many mindfulness practices can be found on my website under the multimedia tab. They help you step back from the stories you tell yourself and get a fresh perspective on life. They help you feel your feelings and let them go. They help you breathe through the difficulties until you get to the other side.
2. Change your self-talk.
What you tell yourself makes a big difference in how you feel. For instance, it has been hard hearing about all of the people around me getting the COVID vaccine because I am in Tier 3. And, many other people are experiencing a lot of anxiety about when they will get their turn. I noticed how I was feeling (not happy) and I switched from saying “I will probably have to wait months to get the vaccine” to “I will get the vaccine when I’m supposed to.” And, I added a “thank you” to the universe at the end of the statement, acknowledging the future receipt of the vaccine as already assured. This shift in how I talk to myself made an immediate huge difference in how I feel.
3. Move your body.
There is probably no list that I give people on my blog for improving their wellbeing that doesn’t include moving your body. It is truly the number one thing that almost all of us can do to feel better. Every day, just move. It’s truly that simple. Pick something you enjoy and do it. I love to walk, to do yoga, and to dance. If it’s cold out, that’s no excuse. As my 87 year old mother would say “It’s not cold, you just don’t have enough layers on!” Moving your body activates chemicals in the body that make you feel good and help you bounce back from stress.
4. Let go of the past.
If you don’t let go of the difficulties from the past, you will keep carrying them in the bag on your back until you break it. Seriously, let the past be in the past and step fully into the present. All you need to be able to do is handle what is in front of you in this moment. Get excited about your life in the present. Do the things that you have passion for and notice how it transforms how you feel.
5. Don’t worry about the future.
The future is not here yet. If you are spending too much time worrying about the future, you will have spent all of your resources on something that hasn’t even happened. Then you don’t have the resources to deal with what is actually happening. When you take care of the moment you’re in, the future will work out as best as possible. This doesn’t mean you don’t plan for the future. But, conscious planning and worrying are two very different things.
6. Plan for the future.
While worrying about the future is not a helpful strategy, planning for it is. I have found that “looking forward” to things I want to do and accomplish is good for the soul and makes me more resilient in the present. You need to not only dream about what could happen, but take the necessary steps to make the dreams come true. For instance, looking forward to what you will do once it is more safe to be together and to travel is something I can get very excited about. I have both a trip to visit family and a yoga retreat in Costa Rica to look forward to. If you get excited about yoga, check out my February 2022 retreat here.
7. Be careful about what and who you let in.
What you listen to and who you have around you will have an impact on how you feel. Surround yourself with people and things that lift you up. Not that you will never listen to the news, for instance, but don’t make it an all day ordeal. Limit your news, limit your social media, and limit the other inputs that you know bring you down. Be consciously aware of who and what you bring into your space. Learn how to set appropriate boundaries. Let in the good in much larger proportions.
These are all things that I practice in my own life, and I see how they impact my ability to be resilient in the presence of difficulty. Try them out and notice how you feel!