I could write a whole book on this subject alone! Resilience is such a big area. It is also complex. What makes some people get over things easily while others find it much harder to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and get back on the horse? Our early experiences and attitudes affect us profoundly. If we suffer massive grief or loss for example as a young child then subsequent losses may bring up the earlier trauma. Unless we are able to work through those earlier difficulties. And the attitudes of our parents or early care-givers also effects how we respond to loss. So you can see how complex it can be.
However, complexity aside, there are things we can do as adults to learn to develop more resilience. The good news is that self-care is something we can all work on and it has a corresponding link with our resilience. Eating well, getting enough sleep and having a regular sleep pattern, time of going to bed and getting up, have all been demonstrated to improve our capacity to deal with life’s challenges. So too, does exercise and having a good support network. Having a range of family, friends or confidants to go to when things are tough helps us feel more connected and is likely to be a factor in resilience. Add to this list a sense of contributing to something and giving back to the community and being involved in meaningful work which contributes to a sense of purpose in life. Also having a connection to something outside of ourselves such as religious belief, faith or spirituality clearly assists many people get through difficult times.
Lastly, my most favorite is cultivating a capacity to live in the present moment. By practicing mindfulness and meditation we develop our capacity to be with what is, to embrace as Jon Kabat Zin would say, the full catastrophe of living. This allows us to develop a capacity for acceptance of what is and this enable us to feel our feelings, to fully allow ourselves to connect with our experience but not to be so identified with it that it overwhelms us, at least some of the time. Mindfulness is a practice which as well as developing our awareness enhances our resilience in every facet of our lives.
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