At the moment we are being asked to adapt and change. With change comes uncertainty. And uncertainty, can bring challenges challenges and quite often suffering. Within this dialogue of change, the concept of resilience is not too far behind. Subsequently, today I wanted to share with you a little about resilience, change and what’s in my resilience toolkit at the moment as I navigate the changes within my world. Let’s get started…
What is Resilience?
There are many definitions of resilience, including –
- “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.” ~ Google
- “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries
- “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
- “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress – such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.” ~ PsychCentral
Is there anything you would add to these definitions? If so, what?
What is Change?
Change is one of the few certainties in life.
Many of us want to change different things in our lives or about ourselves, but that is not the challenge.
The challenge (or issue) is we criticise and judge ourselves harshly for not making the change. And subsequently end up being in resistance with the present moment, which equates to suffering.
A few years ago, it dawned on me. I realised I had to change on the inside for the outside to change. It was a real lightbulb moment and I developed a deeper understanding of what Aldous Huxley meant when he said – “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”
There are many definitions of change, including –
- “to make or become different” or “an act or process through which something becomes different” ~ Google
- “to exchange one thing for another thing, especially of a similar type” or “to improve”~ Cambridge Dictionary
- “to give a completely different form or appearance to; transform” ~ The Free Dictionary
- “to become different, or to make someone or something different” ~ MacMillan Dictionary
- “to become different”, “to make something or someone different” or “to become something else” ~ Merriam-Webster.
Types of Change
There are many types of change you can make in your life. It really depends on a number of factors, why you are wanting to make the change and also what context you are referring to the change in. For example – if you are reading this from an organisational perspective, changes can be made in relation to –
- the people (i.e. cultural change, personnel changes and social change),
- the organisation (i.e. leadership, structural or strategic change) or
- the system (i.e. systems and processes, business expansion or improvement).
From a personal perspective, you can be experiencing change in a number of areas including –
- your environment (i.e. where you live and your surrounds),
- your relationships (i.e. meeting new people),
- your physical health (i.e. the food you are eating and how much exercise you are doing),
- your mental health (i.e. the thoughts that are continually going on in your head and whether you are reacting to them or choosing to respond),
- your emotional health (i.e. experiencing your emotions or surpassing them), and
- your spiritual health.
So, with change continually happening, what’s in my resilience toolkit?
A Peak in to My Resilience Toolkit
Over the years I have learnt a number of tools or resources that I have in my resilience toolkit. Over time, these resources have built up my resilience and resourcefulness, so I can respond to life’s challenges the best that I can at that moment in time. Following are the tools / resources that I continually come back to –
1. Practising Mindfulness
When I first starting learning mindfulness, I was on 3 or 4 “energy” drink a day, trying to be the best version of myself I could be. That made practising a little challenging 🙂 I persisted though and today, I continue to practise. Why? Because as I have so often said, the moment I think I have it is the moment I have lost it. As Sharon Salzberg says – “Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
2. Cultivating Self-Compassion
Unbeknownst to me, I had a very strong inner voice. When I first read Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Dr Kristin Neff, I was surprised that I could be kind to myself. As a professional athlete, I learnt to be very critical and in the end realised I had a deep sense of unworthiness and never felt good enough. Therefore, learning self-compassion and continuing to cultivate it in my life has been an absolute gift and one that I will continue to cultivate. Remember – “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ~ Jack Kornfield.
Yep I am an introvert and love being in my own space. I really enjoy taking time out to journal. Reflecting in my journal helps me to develop self-awareness on what is going on in my inner world, which in turn helps decrease my stress levels, sleep better and focus on what I can control. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ~ Anne Frank.
4, Moving My Body
Even though I was once a professional athlete, I didn’t always like moving my body. I had some unlearning to do here as well, in particular around learning to listen to my body, not seeing movement as a punishment or earning the right to eat. Today I am grateful I have found a variety of movement activities I really enjoy and have fun with. There is no pressure for me to achieve anything – I just have fun. Remember – “Your body hears everything your mind says.” ~ Naomi Judd
5. Eating Nourishing Food
Mmm, yep I had some (un)learning to do here as well. Growing up, I learnt about “good and bad” foods, what “I should and shouldn’t eat” and also a few other beliefs I needed to see and untangle from. Over the years, I am grateful that I have learnt to listen to my body and eat food that nourishes me. I am definitely still “a work in progress” here, however I little by little I continue to remember what Evelyn Tribole reminded me – “If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it.”
6. Connecting With Family and Close Friends
Now this is in no particular order, just how they came to mind as I was writing! Even though I am an introvert, each day I connect with different family and close friends to check-in to see how they are going. Yes there is a lot of evidence about the importance of connection, so I suggest finding people whom you can trust and continue to create strong loving relationships. “A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself – to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself, to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia.
Yes I am big fan of counting my blessings. I have so many things to be grateful for in my life and continue to cultivate gratitude daily. There is a lot of research on gratitude, just in case you needed some extra insights in to the benefits. “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Over to You…
I hope this has given you some insight in to what is in my resilience toolkit! Yes, there are other skills and tools, however that might be for another day 🙂 What is in your resilience toolkit? Please know, I have invested a lot of time and effort to learn and develop these skills. I also continue to cultivate, maintain and grow these resources as they help support my own well-being (so be kind to yourself as you learn and grow). Do you have any questions or comments? If so, feel free to share them below!
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