Creating Resilience and Change

I had a crazy encounter with a woman at the park near my house a few weeks ago, and it reminded me of just how many people are living on the edge. By that I mean, it doesn't take much to slip into a WAY over the top response to a very normal situation. 

What should have been a 1 or 2 on the reaction scale skyrocketed into a 10: eyes bulging, pulse racing, temperature rising, lungs yelling, and mouth cursing. It's difficult to conceive of a grown adult treating another person this way, especially one who isn't taking the bait. This is the type of escalation you might find in a locker room right before the peers arrive and start egging on the girl-fight. Teenage craziness.

I can only be sorry for this woman from the park, and wonder what is really eating at her soul - what type of stress she's under everyday. (And seriously, what she’d had to eat or drink that morning!) It’s easy to see that modern life and its pace has wreaked havoc on our ability to be resilient. We experience that pressure ourselves, and see it in other people. The old adage of pulling ourselves up by our boot straps gets harder and harder to emulate. While the term resilience is defined as the ability to withstand stress, change and catastrophe, it doesn't mean going through life without experiencing pain, anger and hurt. Being resilient means having the ability to work through our circumstances without completely losing it, to bounce back from our struggles, not completely avoid them or simply be spared the stress that life can bring. At times we’ll still find ourselves right on the edge, but with just enough self-awareness to pull ourselves back before jumping.

The wonderful thing about resilience is that it’s not something you're either born with or not.  It's cultivated as we grow older and gain better thinking and self-management skills, more knowledge about what’s good for us and how to take responsibility for our own lives and others. There are things we can do to increase our capacity to be resilient: foster close relationships, cultivate a positive view of ourselves and our abilities, eat cleaner, let our bodies rest and move, and learn to manage strong feelings and impulses by using self-control and good communication skills. Did you know that our capacity for resilience expands when we ask for help? Being an island and struggling alone isn’t necessary, and it’s not healthy.

Learning to be resilient is also about practicing courage. When we act courageously by taking on challenges, we create more courage to take on other risks - and that makes us stronger, more adaptable and more resilient in every area of our lives - it's an amazing cycle of positive growth!  This growth helps us remain calmer and less stressed, knowing we don't have to overreact in the face of adversity; we can step back for a moment to assess the situation, and look for solutions and amiable outcomes. 

Take time to ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of stress are you under and how do you deal with it?
  • What are the things you feel you can't change? And is that true?  
  • What would happen if you did change your mindset? How would that affect your ability to be resilient?  
  • What will happen if you don’t change how you're living, where will that lead?  
  • What actions are going to have the best outcomes for your life?

We may not be able to control the changes in our lives, the events or people around us, but we can courageously play the one card we have: our frame of reference. As captains of our own lives, we can choose our mindset, we can choose to live and act differently when difficulties arise, to chart a new course when we see problems coming our way or unhealthy behaviors dragging us down. As a victim of circumstance, we have no choice. Which would you rather be, captain or victim? You get to decide. What a gift!

Are you looking for help along the way? Are you ready for a challenge? The last Detox Diva workshop of 2015 begins October 19th. Six weeks to jumpstart your health, inside and out. Prepare to enjoy everything about the upcoming holiday season, while staying healthy, energized and non-stressed. This can be the year when you don’t gain the extra 10 and you’ll go into 2016 feeling renewed! Guys can also do this, so Detox Dudes, sign up! This is a wonderful thing for a couple to do together or a group of friends. Prices will go up in January, so this is the last time you can get this program at an amazing price.

To learn more about the Detox program, click here. It's a great start! If you want help cultivating long-term changes to build your capacity for resilience both physically and mentally, contact me about my in-depth Health Coaching programs.

Be well!  Carol