We all get knocked down sometimes. Instead of safeguarding our lives in the hopes that bad things won’t happen to us, we should be more concerned with our ability to keep going during adversity. It’s not about avoidance—it’s about resilience.
You might have heard the popular saying: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. That’s what resilience can give you—the ability to not only survive but thrive, no matter what is thrown your way. Here’s how you can improve your resiliency so you can weather the storms of life.
1. Move More
Our bodies were made to move. It’s not natural for us to sit all day, and when we do, we start to feel weak, lazy, and resigned to accepting whatever happens to us.
As I say in my book, Water Up, Fire Down: An Energy Principle for Creating Calmness, Clarity, and a Lifetime of Health, exercise helps us in numerous ways. As it pertains to resiliency, it can cut down on anxiety and depression, and it can help you break the cycle of non-stop negative thoughts. So, if you’re feeling as if you can’t overcome something, go for a walk outside for a quick attitude adjustment.
2. Eat Well
Resiliency involves your total self—your mind, body, and heart. Eating well can help fuel you so you can power through any troubling times.
Although you may want to reach for greasy, salty food like potato chips when you’re stressed or upset, that’s not a healthy choice. Whole foods with many nutrients, like fruit, whole grains, and vegetables, will help you feel better in the long run.
3. Express Yourself
Too often, when we need help, we can’t ask for it. We think it seems weak, or we hate to add another burden to someone else.
Likewise, we find it hard to say no when we are asked to do things we don’t want to do. We don’t want to seem difficult or mean. But expressing yourself doesn’t make you weak or difficult. It is a powerful way to become more resilient. It helps you feel empowered when you express what you are feeling.
4. Make Sleep a Priority
Everything seems worse when we are tired. If you need proof of that, look at a toddler. See what happens when they don’t get enough sleep? They have a meltdown over the slightest reason.
Adults can be like that, too, although we don’t generally throw a fit in the middle of a grocery store because we want candy. But we act out in other ways, such as snapping at other people or becoming irrationally angry.
It’s not just your emotions that take a hit by skimping on sleep. Sleep deprivation depresses your immune system, too. By getting enough sleep, we can become more resilient, both mentally and physically.
5. Remember the Bigger Picture
Maybe you had a flat tire on the way to work and got in trouble for showing up late. Or perhaps you’ve gained weight lately and it’s causing you to feel self-conscious or even self-loathing.
When you’re having minor setbacks or things aren’t going how you’d like, it’s easy to become overly dramatic about it. Instead, you should tell yourself you’re simply having a bad or challenging time. Everyone does sometimes, and it’s okay.
Instead of counting your misfortunes, remembering your blessings will help you be more resilient. You can be thankful that, even if you’ve gained a few pounds as of late, that you’re still healthy and can make a plan to get your weight back down to where you want it. If you have a flat tire, you can be grateful that you have a car to drive and a job to go to. It’s all about reframing the situation.
6. Take a Break
Sometimes we undermine our own resiliency by staying too much in our own heads. We need a break from our own thoughts once in a while.
You can do this in a variety of ways. Some people enjoy meditating and find it gives them the respite they need from their thoughts. Others prefer reading or watching a funny movie. Do whatever works for you, and build in some time daily to give yourself that mental break.
7. Use Your Strengths to Power Through
We all have our own strengths—some people are hard workers, some are funny, and others have a deep sense of compassion. Figure out what your strength is and use it to help get through whatever challenge you’re facing.