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A Roadmap to Resilience

My husband and I had a dream come true when we went to Italy a few years ago but we couldn’t imagine doing this trip on our own. How would we navigate the airport, order meals in a restaurant, call for an Uber, let alone speak the language? Bearing all that in mind, we enlisted the help of our eager friends who were all too familiar with the country – they had been there 22 times and had submerged themselves in the culture while they lived there for 3 years. Jackpot!!! All the hard work was done - in an instant, we just needed to show up! But without the help of our friends, our trip would have been hard to navigate, we would have been stressed to the max and unable to handle any unexpected problems that came from the challenges we most certainly would have encountered.

Maybe you would have learned the language, to a degree, before heading overseas. Or hired a translator or someone experienced to navigate your trip. Either way with the right tools and supports in place, one thing is sure: you would not only make it through the challenges of your overseas adventure, you would have also emerged a more confident and courageous traveler.

Resilience is a term frequently used but what does it mean and how does it affect our life? The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.

Being resilient doesn’t mean you will not experience difficulty or distress — it is just the difference between handling those stressors calmly as opposed to losing your cool. “The resilient person isn’t papering over the negative emotions, but instead letting them sit side by side with other feelings. So at the same time they’re feeling ‘I’m sad about that,’ they’re also prone to thinking, ‘but I’m grateful about this, ” says Darcy Smith, PhD. In other words, resilient people find the silver lining even in the worst of circumstances.

Here are a few strategies to help implement resilience in your life:

Make connections: Relationships are one of the first things to suffer when you are under stress. Maintaining positive, healthy relationships with friends and family is imperative to your mental and physical health. Rather than giving in to stress, try accepting love and support from those around you to strengthen your resilience.

Daily Habits Count: Developing health habits are foundational to mental and emotional resilience. Do something regularly that enables you to move toward your goals, even if it seems like a small accomplishment. Those small accomplishments will lead to bigger ones. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What is one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?” Setting and accomplishing realistic goals will give you the confidence to continue reaching your goals no matter how big.

Live & Learn: Reframing the way you look at a situation can take away some of the fear and anxiety associated with it. It is important to accept that change is inevitable and to take on new challenges with an optimistic point of view. By developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts, you can build resilience. Practice keeping things in perspective by engaging in relaxing activities like walking, yoga, or anything that brings you peace all while asking the question, “what is this situation trying to teach me?”

Taking control: People who are stressed often feel they surrendering to events beyond their control. Initiating small critical actions can give you a sense of empowerment and help you maintain control in situations you might otherwise feel anxious about. Taking control of small decisions can give you the confidence to take more significant steps later.

Add some comic relief: Laughing in the face of adversity can have a profound affect on the body and mind. Laughter releases many positive hormones in your system and helps to create a different outlook on your situation. Laughter truly is the best medicine for the mind, body and spirit as proven by research.

Acceptance: There are things in life you may not be able to change. A key step in building personal resilience is accepting that you do not have the power to change everything, so focus on circumstances that you do have control over. Instead of stressing yourself by worrying about things outside your control, focus on those things you can change.

But, most importantly, don’t give up! Resilience takes time to build. It is important not to be discouraged if you don’t have instant gratification. Instead, continue with the strategies that work best for you and rest assured that we are not born with resilience — it is a skill that you learn and perfect. Change is hard! What if you had a strategy, personalized to meet your needs and fit your lifestyle, from a trained healthcare expert who's been where you are and who will empower you to become all you want to be? NOW, that would be EASY. Click here to schedule your free discovery call.

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