Greetings, my friends! One of my favorite ongoing well-being topics to research and talk about is resiliency, which has been a bit of a buzzword since the start of the pandemic when we faced unprecedented personal and collective pandemic-related challenges. Now that life has opened up again, we can continue to build our resiliency not just to prepare for future challenges, but to thrive in the here and now. Personally, I try to practice at least one of the resiliency skills I’ve shared below every day to best manage a new job, a new move, and new medicine all at the same time!
I’ve been researching this topic for years and some of my favorite books include STRONGER: The Science and Art of Stress Resilience by Dr. Amit Sood, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges by Steven M. Southwick and Dennis S. Charney, and Resilient: Find Your Inner Strength by Rick Hanson. To dive deeper last year, I took the online course Cultivating Resilience in Crisis with Dr. Kristen Lee at the Global Resiliency Institute, Northeastern University. As a global well-being manager, I was also so fortunate to bring resiliency experts to my former employer since 2019 (and highly recommend philosopher Dr. Brennan Jacoby as a keynote speaker and trainer).
While the more commonly referred to definition of resiliency is bouncing back from adversity, which may be true in a sense, it doesn’t give the complete picture of how powerful a concept of resiliency is. Just ask the experts above! The cornerstone of resiliency is adaptability and learning practical coping skills not just to weather life’s ups and downs but to thrive despite them. I’ve crystallized eight of the most common threads I found in my research combined with my own professional expertise below, with accessible examples of how you increase your resiliency.
GROW: Implement a growth mindset and a curious mind. The next time you face a challenge or fail at something, write down the lessons you learned instead of berating yourself.
PERSIST: Become grittier through passion and perseverance. Celebrate small wins and try positive self-talk. Try fitness guru Christine D’ercole’s matra “I can, I am, I will I do! Test your own grit HERE.
SHINE: Open up optimism. If your default is the glass-half-empty approach, literally write down or say the opposite aloud. Negative future talk negates hope and possibility.
THANK: Develop an attitude of gratitude and appreciate more of what you have. It works. Write down three things you are grateful for and why at the end of the day. Even doing this exercise once a week will boost your well-being.
CARE: Cultivate compassion and kindness (to self and others). Fast track it by closing your eyes, placing your hands over your heart, and silently saying something nice about yourself or about someone else (extra points for a difficult person).
CONNECT: Spread your social wings, big and small. Even introverts need other people! Find a piece of paper and make six circles, one outside the other with some room in between. Label the innermost circle “Me,” and then successively, “Family,” Friends,” “Community,” and “World.” Fill in as many names, groups, affiliations, tribes, causes, etc…in each related circle. Connect with just one of those people or groups this week.
NURTURE Practice self-care. Eat well, move more, sleep soundly, and find simple ways to relax like taking a hot shower or bath at night, reading a favorite author, getting a massage, or chatting with a best friend,
BE: Quiet the mind through meditation, mindfulness, and awe. You can start with just one minute! Close your eyes and press pause for sixty seconds. Nothing to do and nothing to think about. It’s like putting a hypothetical doorstopper in the door of relaxation to crack it open even just a tiny bit.
As I take a page from Dr. Jacoby’s metaphor I learned in his workshop, resiliency is the sail that steers the ship through the storm. The sturdier the sail, the easier the ride. It is my sincere hope that this post resonates with you. Try one or all of the suggestions and please share your comments!