Five Steps for Developing Resilience
Resilience is the word we use to describe health in integrative medicine. Resilience literally means the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty; be it time, money, physical or emotional.
I have developed 5 Steps for Building Resilience that might come in handy this holiday season. When your resilience is low, your immunity will follow. There is no way to reverse or prevent disease when you perceive yourself to be stressed out.
1. Examine your expectations: I love to give people a journaling exercise for examining your expectations. Write down every expectation you can think of that you have from life, God (the Universe, Divine, Spirit, etc.), your parents, your kids, your partner(s), your job, yourself, the government, food, your body, your mind, your spirit, etc. EVERYTHING…
Now go through them and check the ones you don’t want to release. These are deal breakers. Now look at the ones you can let go of. This is most of your list. They are not under your control. The more deal breakers you have, the more unhappy you will be when they are not met.
2. Learn to regulate your emotions: The first step is just to notice when you are experiencing a feeling. Feelings are a felt sense of your life experiences. Emotions are the physiological response you have to the feeling. If you feel sad, deny yourself permission to feel that sadness by judging the feeling as “bad” and then find yourself overwhelmed by sadness, your body’s systems will follow.
Allowing yourself permission to feel, without judgment of the feeling, is important. If you notice a feeling, give yourself compassion for that feeling, and sit with it in neutrality…it will pass. If you judge it as bad, you will lock it in and the body will take 8 hours to recover from every 5 minutes you are upset. Compassion is the key.
3. Connect to your inner self: When you feel sad or mad or anxious or confused…check in with how old you feel in that moment. Find the little kid part of you that is feeling the feeling and give her or him the love, support and encouragement he or she wanted the very first time she or he felt this same feeling.
Science tells us that time is not linear. All of our ages and stages are available to us all at the same time. You can reach in and self-soothe that upset child part of you and not expect someone else to do it for you.
4. Perform daily self-care: Setting good boundaries is an excellent form of self-care that will help you glide through the holidays with ease. Just say no. Don’t worry if you cannot do the perfect dish, give the perfect present, or be in two places at one time. You are loveable no matter what.
5. Heal resistance to life: Resistance to life happens when you are in utero. It’s a concept that helps you understand yourself or someone else in your life who is: always late, thinks everything is too hard, lacks energy perpetually, resembles Eyore from Winnie the Poo. Here are 5 ways to overcome resistance to life:
- Uncover your story plot. What is yours? Is it a drama, a tragedy, a romance, a comedy?
- Create a new story. If you are in the habit of “shoulding” all over yourself, you might want to create more “coulds” and trust that you can be in the flow of life and not in control of it.
- Mine for evidence. It’s true that bad things happen in life. It’s also true that lovely things happen. Which one do you focus on more?
- Reframe your view. Perhaps you can now focus on what is working rather than on what you long for or don’t have in your life.
- Make a mantra. Something like, “I live in joy effortlessly and with resilience, accepting my challenges as gifts for my growth”.
This list of resilience builders and the graphic I have created are part of a larger program called, You Unbroken. If you find you need more help than a simple blog can offer, I invite you to join the private Facebook group and enter this online program. It’s filled with tools for developing resilience that are based on a therapy technique called Dialectical Behavior Technique (DBT). This program has helped hundreds of people reverse their autoimmunity, develop more happiness and joy in their lives, and even assisted in creating better holiday boundaries.