With all the chaos and uncertainty in the world today, a lot of people are talking about resilience. So what is resilience? Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, adapt to challenging situations, and maintain mental well-being in the face of stress or hardship. It involves developing a set of skills, attitudes, and strategies that help individuals navigate and overcome difficulties. Resilience is not about avoiding stress or difficult situations, but rather about developing the skills and mindset to navigate through them effectively.
I would go so far as to say that resilience is the most important quality you can cultivate in a rapidly changing and uncertain world. The question then arises, how does one cultivate resilience? Here are few pointers to set you in the right direction.
Realize that there are two sides to every situation and every challenge or obstacle is more than it appears. Experience is the best teacher so you should try to learn as much as possible from your experiences, no matter how negative they may seem on the surface. The way to do this is to journal about the experience and try to discover what you learned from it and how you can apply it to future situations.
Focus on your breathing. Most people are in a pattern of rapid, shallow breathing because they are always on edge and dealing with chronic stress. When you take slow deep breaths, you allow your entire lung to oxygenate your blood which will allow your circulation to deliver more oxygen to your organs and increase your energy and vitality. This will optimize your ability to deal with daily challenges.
Stay well hydrated. Most people are chronically dehydrated and this will affect your circulating blood volume which will affect the ability to deliver vital oxygen to your organs. Sip filtered water with lemon and sea salt which will keep you hydrated and give you needed electrolytes for cellular functions.
Become physically active. This is not just about exercise but about moving your body. You need a strong and fit body to be able to weather the storms that life will throw your way. If you are completely inactive then start out small with a 30 minute walk five times a week and watch your health transform in 30 days! If you enjoy sports then engage in them on a regular basis which is also a great way to socialize.
Maintain close relationships with people you trust. We are social creatures and cannot function in isolation. We need each for support, guidance, comradery and friendship. Seek to cultivate strong relationships and maintain a few close friends who you can lean on in times of difficulty. Have meaningful conversations with good friends several several times per week. If you are lonely then join local clubs and organizations, based on your interests, so you can meet and socialize with like-minded people and, potentially, form friendships. Loneliness is one of the world’s biggest epidemics and does not need to be your reality.
Feel your emotions, even the negative ones. We often gravitate towards positive emotions such as joy and excitement but try to suppress negative emotions such as anger, regret, shame and guilt. We need to feel all of our emotions and understand the source of them. If we suppress them, they will smolder and eventually create fires which manifest as physical symptoms and even chronic disease over time.
Discover your true values and live by them. A lot of us are living lives of quiet desperation and fulfilling someone else’s agenda. This is because we have been conditioned by our families, the education system, government, marketing and advertising and society at large. Journal about what is truly important to you in life and try to look for patterns to discover what your true values are. Once you know your values, ask yourself, am I living by them? If not what can I eliminate from my life and what should I move towards to get closer to harmony with my highest values?
Cultivate stillness. Stillness means to withdraw from the outer world and go deep within to uncover your true nature. This could be through meditation, prayer, taking a walk in nature or immersing yourself in a natural setting. This will help you put your life into perspective and get you in touch with what truly matters.
When all else fails, seek professional help. This may be a therapist or a life coach. We often need to seek guidance when we lose hope and all seems lost. A therapist or life coach can help us make sense of our lives and our past and help us get back on track.
In summary, there are several steps to cultivate resilience, as I have outlined above, and this is more important in our current time of global unrest and uncertainty. This will be the most important thing you can do for your overall wellbeing and success.
Dr. Nauman Naeem