Resilience is a real buzz word going around at the moment, it's often referred to as 'becoming resolute', 'being resilient', 'having resilience'. All of these descriptors allude to the fact that you either have it or you don't and once you do reach the magic state of resolution your work is done.
Well we can dispel that myth right away!
Resilience is a practice, it requires practical tools applied to your day to day life, and a dedicated mindset. In short, it's a continual process.
If you are thinking that you have an innate propensity to greater resilience in some areas, you are correct. Biologically there are certain genomes that we are born with, meaning that we are more inclined to be resilient in some areas more than others. Also coupled with the environment we are bought up and exposed to can develop a biological resilience.
For example, body types have the ability to withstand colder or warmer temperatures, can go longer without food or mentally can face and overcome adverse challenges with greater ease. OK so we are no longer running away from sabre tooth tigers or hunting down wooly mammoths in the frozen tundra so having physical resilience from a survival point of view is not as prevalent. However, in today’s society this transfer across to facing the S word, stress. Whether the stress be physical, mental or emotional.
You will know innately what you are able to deal with more ease, so practicing resilience is playing to your strengths in these areas as well as acknowledging the areas you need to work on.
It's easy to focus on what you are already good at and developing this space however the real growth comes from those areas that need work. If you have a desire to be able to have resilience across the board in your life start making friends with those parts that need work.
Like the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of resilience is never from outside coming in, it's an inside job. No one or any external influencers can make you more resilient, you have to be the instigator. However, an external factor or influence can lead to you responding in a more stressful manner or send you into a state of stress...for example the reemergence of Covid 19 in NZ.
On that note we are going ahead to dispel another myth around resilience, if you are a person with resilience you won't get stressed or find life challenging...wrong.
Dr Paul Wood talks about resilience being about when you come out from a stressful situation what is your behavior or mindset like. It's what you do during and after you have experienced stress. Resilience is not a cure to stress. Resilience is being able to continue to operate through stressful times with integrity, acceptance and a healthy mindset.
If you would like to read about Dr Paul Wood's amazing story check out: https://paulwood.com
As we mentioned earlier in the piece resilience is a practice so requires practical steps you can take each day in your life to make the and retaining of resilience easier.
Check out Gareth O’Donnell’s (Edison's Head of Protocol) top four practical and proactive points for resilience below;
To put it simply get a good night's sleep where possible!
Delta wave is where the magic happens in terms of restorative impact to your body; this is your deep sleep. You want this to make up 25% of your sleep each night. REM sleep (also known as your dream sleep) is the other key area of your sleep that you want to make up 25% of your sleep cycle. REM sleep promotes mental regeneration so aiming for a 2-hour block of both deep and REM sleep means you will be well primed to take on the challenges of the day.
Your state of being is predicated on your mindset and your mindset is governed by the thoughts you amplify the most "Where focus goes energy flows" sic Eric Thomas.
Optimism is a practice, for some more than others which can be dependent upon your genetics. Regardless of your starting point, optimism is a much more resourceful headspace than pessimism, which is easier said than done right? Practicing daily gratitude will boost your personal morale, acknowledging and resolving your negative thoughts by being mindful of the emotions they invoke and building a well-formed plan to get through. If plan "A" fails, there are "25" more letters in the alphabet to choose from.
Influences and Boundaries
Be conscious of your current social environments. You are the product of the 5 people you spend the most time with; their eating habits, mindsets, physical behaviors and social behaviors. These are yours to protect and set your own personal standards by bringing your groups up to the level or cutting the driftwood from your life.
Boundaries give yourself permission to say "NO" you are not available 24 hours a day. If you could have your perfect week what would be your must haves? Build your boundaries around those non-negotiables. If you're thinking that's impossible with your current lifestyle think again. (see Positive psychology) You are looking at it from pessimistic outlook which shuts down possibility and opportunity
Movement and Fitness
Move well, move often and make it fun! Don't sign up for things because you feel you have too, sign up for things you want to do and get after it. One of the greatest gifts of life is to be able bodied, it's your duty to take care of it, respect it and master it.
Every military for the past 2000 years from Greeks to Romans prioritized physical conditioning not because it was a nice to have, but because it dictated the winning or losing of battles and ultimately the wars. To see physiological shifts in cardiovascular performance do something that extends your current physical ability both anaerobically and aerobically min 3x per week.
Take a deep breath, here's to practicing resilience!
Look out for our next comms piece in the resilience space where Gareth takes a deep dive into the B.O.U.N.C.E methodology when it comes to resilience and how you can implement this in your life.