“So what are we doing here? What has been done?
What are you gonna do about it when the world comes undone?
My voice feels tiny and I’m sure so does yours
But put us all together, make a mighty roar!
I am resilient
I trust the movement
I negate the chaos
Uplift the negative
I’ll show up at the table, again and again and again
I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen.”
Are you tired of hearing the words ‘we are in unprecedented times….?”
Most of us hoped that the constant threat of Covid would be dissipated by now, and that schools and colleges would return to in person learning, riots and protests would transform into long-lasting action and transformation, and we would have returned to some semblance of normalcy, etc… Instead we are swimming in the seas of the great unknown. Messy politics, rampant injustice, violence against people of color, wildfires, and divisiveness are burning hot. Fortunately, each and every one of us is capable of great resilience! And as life doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon, our strength, adaptability, and above all, resilience, will be necessary- for ourselves and the world.
“Psychologists define 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. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth. Resilience isn’t necessarily a personality trait that only some people possess. On the contrary, resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop. The ability to learn resilience is one reason research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. Like building a muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and intentionality.”
Thanks to the miracle of neuroplasticity, our brain can grow, adapt, change, and rewire away from stress, habitual reactions, and trauma- towards adaptability, flexibility, self-compassion, authentic connection. “The importance of neuroplasticity can’t be overstated: It means that it is possible to change dysfunctional patterns of thinking and behaving and to develop new mindsets, new memories, new skills, and new abilities. The ability of the brain to change and grow in response to experience enables people to bounce back from setbacks and adversity—to be, in a word, resilient. They can bend without breaking.”
So here’s where the rubber meets the road. How do we make use of our brain’s neuroplasticity to develop and grow our own resilience? It’s a dance between how we relate to ourselves and the world around us. It’s the skills, meaning, and kindness we bring to both our interpersonal and intrapersonal experience.
Connections and Community
“Having people you can trust and confide in is important for building resilience. Talking about the difficulties you are coping with doesn't make them go away, but sharing with a friend or loved one can make you feel like you have someone in your corner.” Amy Morin
When we feel supported, understood, connected- our reserves grow stronger and we are able to feel, respond, and grow through our experience. We’ve all heard beautiful stories of communities coming together in times of great strife to support each other. Towns hit by tragedy, natural disasters, etc…often describe themselves as more bonded, connected, and nourished by each other in daily life. Friendships are formed, deepened, and nurtured by coming together in times of trouble and offering and receiving support.
Connections sustain us in times of great sorrow and challenge, enhancing our ability to move through impossible moments, and emerge transformed. In our most challenging moments, we can reach out to the people who care, and when we know someone in our lives is struggling, we reach out to them. “Many studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. Relationships that create love and trust, provide role models and offer encouragement and reassurance, help bolster a person’s resilience.” Jill Suttie
Resilience can be built similar to a mindfulness practice. The first time our thoughts
spinning and we sit down to meditate, we are not magically transported to a moment of stillness and peace. A mindfulness practice is built by committing time each day, to practicing the art of focus, stillness, and peace. Similarly, if we ignore our wellness until we really need it, it won’t be available. So how do we take care of ourselves daily, building up our reserves, so that when we need them, they are available? Resilience includes health of mind, body, and spirit- therefore eating well, getting good rest, spending time in nature, disconnecting from technology and devices, taking time to play and be creative, all support our system. When moments of deep challenge occur, and they do, we are more prepared and can rely on the goodness we have been nurturing ourselves with to carry us through.
“We’re finding that a good route to feelings of purpose and meaning—which we tend to think of as good sources of resilience—comes from being out in the world, being engaged with meaningful activities that are doing good for other people and that are contributing,” says Friedman.
Purpose has been described as a necessary component of happiness itself! So in this topsy turvy time, when it’s harder to be in the world serving at nursing homes or food shelters, tutoring, etc…how can we find purpose?
There are numerous ways to volunteer to help us contribute to the world and our own sense of meaning. Many students need online tutoring as they navigate this new world of online school, or call your local food bank and see what kind of support they may need. These are postcards you can offer online opportunities from the comfort of your coach. This article offers more than 20 ways of connecting as well! Or simply check in with your neighbors, offer to grocery shop, weed their gardens, or get creative! What inspires you?
“Self-compassion involves offering compassion to ourselves: confronting our own suffering with an attitude of warmth and kindness, without judgment. In one study, participants in an eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion program reported more mindfulness and life satisfaction, with lower depression, anxiety, and stress afterward compared to people who didn’t participate—and the benefits lasted up to a year.” Kira M. Newman
Some iteration of self compassion comes into every blog we write. Why? Because it’s that important! It is the bedrock of how we speak to ourself, think about ourself, make choices that support our well being, choose what we eat, what we do, etc..And it turns out, it’s equally important in building and fostering resilience. We can choose at any moment to turn out thoughts from self-criticism to kindness. Be relentless in your self compassion. Check out this website for more resources on nurturing compassion.
“All psychotherapy is intended to foster resilience; the goal is to help people examine distressing feelings and experience and redirect them into more functional patterns, restoring cognitive and behavioral flexibility.”
No part of being a human today involves being able to do it ourselves. We are meant to be connected, giving and receiving help, wisdom, ideas, and love. The support, knowledge, acceptance, and encouragement of a coach, counselor, therapist, mentor, etc…can help you enhance the areas of your life that need support, in order for you to grow your resiliency and face whatever life throws at you, with as much adaptability, strength, and kindness as possible.
Feeling anxiety, stress, numbness or overwhelm are all normal at this time, you are definitely not alone! If you would like additional support, please reach out to us. We are here, and happy to stay connected with you. At the Strength in Motion wellness community, we believe in a mind-body-soul approach towards finding and sustaining balance. We feel honored to be on your path in some way and are here to support you in living to your greatest potential. Click here to find out more information about who we are and how we may be a support to you. We are offering telehealth during this time and free consultations as always. We are here to support you.
HERE is a Playlist to support your journey!