When I look back at the last few weeks and all the ways we can become resilient, I think, “Why aren’t we all resilient? Doesn’t doing some of this stuff guarantee I’ll be 100% resilient?”
Then I look around and see all the ways life can knock the stuffing out of us.
And I understand.
There are almost endless ways that we can become resilient.
And that is counterbalanced by the almost endless ways we can get beaten down.
In both cases, the effects are cumulative.
Today we focus on reducing our total stress load. Small, seemingly inconsequential stresses add up and consume our newly acquired resiliency.
All of us need to begin to think in terms of our own inner strengths, our resilience and resourcefulness, our capacity to adapt and to rely upon ourselves and our families.
No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for 'we' are the only thinkers in our mind. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.
~Louise L. Hay
Human beings have enormous resilience.
1. Sugar. Huge stressor on the body and the brain. Not only is it a non-nutrient, because it hinders functioning, it is an anti-nutrient. Reduce where possible.
If reducing sugar seems impossible, be kind to yourself. For a segment of us, sugar is an addiction. In a study of 43 mice, after being addicted to cocaine, the mice were given the choice of cocaine or sugar water. Forty-one of the mice (95%) chose the sugar water . To reduce the need for sugar, increase your intake of water, quality protein and veggies, especially green leafy ones, and healthy fats. Also move your body more frequently. Not necessarily exercise but a quick morning stretch or when at the computer, waiting for a page to load. Movement releases tension.
Sugar/carbs are also emotional crutches. When do your sugar cravings kick in? Mine is when I'm tired or feeling blocked. Planning my day helped to reduce my afternoon sugar hunts. For me, it is an ongoing struggle. I’ve made progress but it is still an issue. (The mice example is from a paid-for Dr. Alan Christianson webinar. This info may be in one of his books as well.)
2. Caffeine. It may feel like we can do more with a bit of caffeine coursing through our body but caffeine can be a stressor. A study was done comparing those who ingested almost no caffeine and those who drank coffee. The coffee drinkers, after recently ingesting coffee, had the same ability to focus as the non-caffeine people. That is, we feel more focused after coffee because we were in a below normal slump created from drinking coffee previously. Non-caffeine people were constantly at the state the caffeine people boosted to reach. (Info found in a paid-for Dr. Alan Christianson webinar. This info may be in one of his books as well.)
I am not a coffee drinker so any coffee recommendations coming from me need to be taken with a few grains of salt and a handful of coffee beans. If you love coffee and want the best, I’ve heard positive reviews from health experts about Bulletproof coffee.
3. Exercise. Not only should we exercise to reduce stress, we should exercise so we are more comfortable with an increased heart rate, sweating, rubber or cramping muscles, or dizziness, for example. If those normal bodily functions are seldom experienced, they would be labelled as critical and frightening when in fact they are the body’s natural way to maintain homeostasis. If dealing with a stressful situation and the seldom-ever-felt above sensations happened, it would be much more frightening for someone does not ever remember experiencing them before or paired them with emotional trauma.
4. Nurture yourself. What do you do to care for yourself? Have you done that lately? Do you know how to ask others to support you? If you need a little clarity, read “The Five Love Languages”.
We all have our own primary love language: Words of affirmation, gifts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch.
Once you know which one you are, this not only helps you to nurture yourself but also to recognize when others may be trying to support you, and help you to support others. If you have a different love language than those around you, there could be lots of unrecognized love floating around.
5. Make connections. Social interaction and support is one of the highest factors of resilience. Don’t have close friends? Not a problem. It starts with feeling a connection to the human race. Mega-motivational speaker, Brendon Burchard went through a depression/suicidal time in his life. One of his goals to get him back on track was to say hi to one person every day – a store clerk or stranger passing by, are examples. Who wasn’t as important as the act of doing it. Every day.
6. Humour. Another wonderful stress reducer. The use of black humour can be indispensable during a rough patch.
7. Breathing. This has been mentioned before and here it is again. It’s free, takes very little effort and its payback is huge. So simple. So important. Sit or stand in a dignified pose (or as if there was a string from the top of your head gently pulling upwards). Breathe into the belly and collapse the belly when breathing out. That’s it. There are lots of variations. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe out for more counts than you breathe in. Say a mantra (like the word ‘release’) during both inhale and exhale. Breathing may help to refocus the brain and also to reduce physical symptoms such as tightness of the chest, lightheadedness, and the inability to focus.
8. Cut yourself some slack. I didn't read this anywhere but, this is from me to you. Sometimes life is hard and can be confusing. Both you and I will mess up. Guaranteed. Forgive and move on. We need to extend kindness to ourselves, then learn from the situation and move on. Create a better next time.
And this brings us to the end of resilience!
I sincerely hope you have found at least one activity to integrate into your life. Hopefully a few ideas have been rooted into your routine.
And now, as Porky Pig used to say "That’s all folks!"