As we enter the final week of January, I am reminded of the oft-quoted statistic: 70% of people have either already abandoned or are close to abandoning their New Year ‘resoultions’. Even those who did not make a formal resoultion, but decided to make some life-style changes, are starting to feel that they could use some extra support. As I watched a TED talk the other day about how to build resilience in four-key areas of our lives with a few simple actions (the ‘superbetter’ approach), I was inspired to embrace and extend the idea of ‘building resilience’ to seven key life areas.
- Physical Resilience. One very popular resolution made by many folks is to exercise ‘more’. The motivations behind ‘more exercise’ are manifold, but one key gain of exercise is the building of physical resilience and even strength. When we feel good physically, relatively free from pain, it delivers a psycosomatic boost to the quality of our life. I know for a fact that I feel less energetic on the days when I do not do some sort of exercise. How about you? For those with health issues which may prevent traditional exercise, the ‘superbetter’ method that we can build physical resilience even while sitting in place – by raising our arms above our heads for (the victory pose) or by taking a few steps back and forth every hour i.e. by refusing to sit still for long durations.
- Mental Resilience. The mind can be our foe, or we can make it our friend. Like a wild horse that needs to be tamed a bit if we want to ride it, mental acuity is a key area of building resilience. The act of simple game play, whether it be board games (scrabble or chess, anyone?), card games, number games (sudoku?) or the like, is one way to keep the mind sharp. The ‘superbetter’ method suggests two activities – click your finger fify times, or count backwards from 100 as 100, 93, 86… (skip 7). I say, do them both simultaneously! A quick way indeed, to build mental resilience.
- Emotional Resilience. The ability to roll with the punches or stay calm in the face of the vigorous shakings and the roller-coaster rides of life requires us to have at least a rudimentary understanding of how our emotional system operates. This understanding leads to the development of emotional resilience, which is closely connected to physical and mental resilience. Have you ever noticed that a walk outside in nature (physical activity), or even the simple act of looking out the window at a soothing scenery, can almost instantly lift our emotional state? The ‘superbetter’ technique suggests that the action of looking at, say, baby animal photos or videos helps us build emotional resistance. Is that why pets are so popular in American households and animal videos are so popular on social media?
- Financial Resilience. I cannot imagine that any one of us would not feel a bit uneasy if our finances were in bad shape. If we are stressed about our finances, it invariably percolates into many other areas of our lives. If we have a job or business that provides well for ourselves and our families, we tend to sleep better at night, don’t we? In addition, in building up a good reserve (savings) of daily operating expenses that can be used to weather a financial storm. We build financial resilience by staying out of debt as best we can – we may flex financially at times, but we will not break. They used to call it “living below our means”. I believe it is still relevant – what do you think? Are you financially resilient?
- Avocational Resilience. If we are to grow, thrive and feel alive, we need some good distractions or hobbies or avocations. Some love to cook, others love to paint or sculpt or sing or dance sketch or write or take photos or… no matter what it is, a good distraction gives our mind a place to rest and just be, so that it may have a chance to renew and revitalize some of its frayed threads. An avocation is a safe space for us. We feel free within our avocation because the space and time is filled with love and loving action. Is there a better way to build resilience than with loving action?
- Social Resilience. The quality of our relationships defines the quality of our life. There are many scientific studies pointing to this fact, including the long-running Harvard study that began in the 1930s. Our relationships literally keep us alive and happy, and one key action that creates happiness, promotes social resilience, is gratitude. Saying thank you, with a hug (when we have a chance), creates an enormous reservoir of social resilience. It builds and sustains community, and provides a safe landing space for people when they need space. Who knew, that all these years in #SpiritChat, we have been building social resilience? Thank you, with a hug, to all of you!
- Spiritual Resilience. I have saved the best for last, because, it is my hyothesis that all the other types of resiliences are dependent on spiritual resilience. Some call it belief. Others call it faith. Some invoke it by silent prayer. Others invoke it by group singing. Some grow it with meditation. Others grow it by visiting a place of worship. And so on. But no matter how successfully we build all the other resiliences, we will eventually feel a lack in our heart and soul if our well of spiritual resilience is empty. How do we fill the well of spiritual resilience?
Resilience is the ability [of a system] to cope with change ~ Wikipedia
Resilience is defined as an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity ~ (Psychologicy definition)
Resilience is the ability of a material to absorb energy when loaded and deformed, and release that energy upon unloading ~ (material science definition)
Resilience is the ability to absorb or avoid damage without suffering complete failure ~ (engineering definition)
My object in living is to unite, my avocation and my vocation – Robert Frost
The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being ~ HH The Dalai Lama
It is Faith that removes mental turbidity and makes your mind clear ~ HH The Dalai Lama
We can build spiritual resilence with non-judgemental loving actions emanating from purity of purpose. This will require us to build resilience in all areas of our lives – physical, mental, emotional, financial, avocational and social. Yes, it sounds like a lot of work. But, if we are to manifest our divine potential, work it will take. Let us not be afraid of it!
P.S. This post was written for our weekly chat on Sunday, January 24th 2016 at 9amET/2pmUTC. Do join us in hashtag #SpiritChat on twitter, where I will post some questions about “building resilience”. Your thoughts on resilience are also welcome in the comments area below. Namaste, and Thank YOU!
New Year. New Experiences. New Challenges. New Possibilities. New Fears.(by Elisa Balabram @womenandbiz)