Resilience is the New Happiness
Eating kale brings resilience, and not in the way you think…
Resilience is the new happiness. The concept is that in order to be happy, we first must be strong. We need to be able to pick ourselves up when we fall, and detach ourselves from sadness when we fail.
And the best part – resilience is a skill. It is not some quality that is reserved for a select, lucky few. Everyone can build up resilience skills, at any age. And it is well worth putting in the effort. Simply put, resilience can help us heal ourselves.
Like a muscle, it can be developed and strengthened by anyone.
One of the things that we can do to build resilience is to move out of our comfort zone. To purposefully do something new or different every day. It does not need to be huge. Keep it simple. Keep it small.
I was inspired to write about resilience because I had the opportunity on a recent trip to move out of my comfort zone, several times in one single day.
Renting a car on my own for the first time.
Eating kale for the first time! (Yes, I know I’m late to the game)!
Stepping on snow on the first day of summer for the first time!
Eating in a nice restaurant by myself for the first time.
Some were nerve-wracking, and some exciting! But all increasing resilience!
Here are some ideas for cultivating resilience at any age.
Create clear boundaries. Be mindful of how much you allow problems in one area of your life to affect other areas of your life. Learn to set boundaries and avoid “spillover”.
Maintain a positive view of yourself and confidence in your abilities. Engage in positive self-talk. Pay attention to what thoughts are running through your head. How to you talk to yourself? When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, work on turning them into positive thoughts. Use meditation or other relaxation strategies to help quiet the “chatter”, “static”, or “noise” going on in your head.
Maintain an internal locus of control. Remember that you are in control of your own thoughts and behavior. The more you believe that you can effect change, the more you will be engaged in purposeful behavior to bounce back and improve a negative situation.
Be mindful of daily stress management. Stress will never be eliminated from our lives. The key is to manage it. An important factor in managing it is taking a break. Engage in whatever activity helps you relax and de-stress. Yoga, meditation, hiking, deep breathing, coffee with a friend, listening to music, running, or spending time with your partner, family, pet, and/or friends. Do what makes your soul happy.
Build meaningful relationships. As human beings, we are hard-wired to be social. You can cultivate relationships by reaching out to someone every day. Set up a date for coffee. Go on a walk with a friend. A strong social support network is important to the resilient person, and the resilient person knows how to draw upon that support when needed.
Re-Write Your Story. Recognize the story you use to represent your life. Listen to what you are saying to yourself and question it. Reframe your personal narrative that shapes your view of yourself and the world.
Practice Optimism. Make it a priority to think positive thoughts and surround yourself with optimistic people.
Don’t Take Things Too Personally. Yes, taking personal responsibility is important. Not just important, but crucial. But it is also important to view any setback with perspective. Remember that any setback is not 100% personal or your fault, pervasive, or permanent. Also, remember not to take others’ words and behavior personally. That is all about them, not you.
Support Others. Cultivate compassion and empathy. Resilience studies consistently demonstrate that people with resilience have strong social support networks. But those who have the most resilience are those who GIVE support to others. We feel good when we help others, and building connections helps us build our own social networks. The giving need not be big. It just needs to be meaningful and purposeful.
Remember What You Have Overcome. Reminding yourself of all of the obstacles that you have overcome will help you to maintain the mindset that you can overcome whatever obstacle, challenge, or stress you are now facing. You are the same person now – you still have the wonderful characteristics that got you through those obstacles in the past.
Move Out of Your Comfort Zone. Make your motto, “Life happens out of your comfort zone.” Put yourself in challenging situations. Take an adventurous vacation, share your secret singing talent at an Open Mic. When you design and create your own challenge or stress, you will be better able to handle the stressors that you do not create in your life.
And here’s my favorite…
Gratitude. Practicing gratitude on a daily basis will help you build resilience. You then will not get caught up in the things that are going wrong, and rather be better able to celebrate the things that are going well.
Just one more reason to practice gratitude daily. It builds resilience!
And if you are interested in some wearable, inspirational reminders, here are three of my bracelets that remind us to engage in activities that build resilience.
And if you would like assistance for personal growth in any of the areas above, seek the help of a qualified, licensed mental health professional – You do not need to be in crisis mode to desire personal growth and seek more fulfillment in your life.
PS In addition to building resilience, gratitude heals