What sets apart happy and successful people from everyone else?
If I could point to one thing, it would be resiliency.
It’s an uphill battle from day one for all of us, learning how to negotiate the world and get our basic needs met. If we shrink back and give up every time we experience a challenge, an upset, or misfortune, we won’t go far. What makes the difference is our ability to stand back up, dust ourselves off and try again.
That’s resiliency, and it’s something I urge you to work on building in yourself this new year. Whatever other resolutions you may have made, add cultivating resiliency to that list.
The good news is, we’re all born with it to some degree. But it’s the mindful cultivation of resiliency that takes lives from good to great.
There are good reasons to make resiliency a goal.
- It reduces the stress we experience in the face of life’s challenges
- It helps us more readily identify the lesson in every challenge and we get smarter, faster
- It lends us a greater sense of control, and by extension, more confidence
- It reduces the likelihood that we will spiral into depression or “ruts”
How Can You Build Resiliency?
There are many ways, but I’ll start you off with these four:
Give Yourself Credit
Sometimes you may feel like a complete failure, but it’s never actually true.
You’re faced with a barrage of challenges all day, every day, and you overcome. When the store runs out of your favorite vanilla yogurt, you improvise by buying plain yogurt and vanilla extract.
Congratulations! You successfully adapted in the face of an (admittedly small) problem. But it counts. They all count.
When your car started making that funny noise, you arranged to take it to a mechanic and you took Uber to the office for one day. High-five!
When your laptop started acting sluggish, you shut it down and powered it back up.
When you realized you wouldn’t have time to make dinner, you stopped at the supermarket and brought home a rotisserie chicken.
You are constantly stepping up to the plate.
Start noticing just how much resilience you already have, every day, and give yourself credit for all of it.
Because you’ll start to build confidence in your own adaptability, resourcefulness, and competence.
The more we recognize how much success we actually experience, the less likely we are to shrink from a bigger challenge.
Few of you need convincing of the benefits of meditation – they’ve been well studied and documented. But you may not have realized that meditation can also help you become more resilient.
Meditation enhances overall well-being in ways that make us more psychologically nimble, and therefore better equipped to face challenges and bounce back from them.
For example, meditation can help you:
- Resist stress
- Process emotions with calmness and clarity
- Have more enlightening insights
- Broaden your perspective
- Dissolve anxiety
- Avoid depression
- Improve focus and memory
- Regulate blood pressure
Some experts say just five minutes of meditation each day can have a positive impact.
There are a variety of different types of meditation to be explored if you’re really interested, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or complex.
Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes, paying attention to your breathing, and making an effort at keeping your mind clear.
As thoughts arise (and I guarantee they will), imagine them floating away on the wind like feathers.
There is much that’s beyond our control in life. However, there’s also a lot we can control.
While it’s not advisable to attempt to control others, we benefit immensely when we take control of our day-to-day lives as much as possible.
- Getting enough sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a balanced diet
- Being on time
- Making sure we have what we need to function: groceries, clean clothes, clean dishes
When we get used to having control on a routine basis, it helps build resiliency.
Stay in the Moment
Don’t wait until you’re faced with a challenge – practice staying in the moment on an ongoing basis.
Be completely present for whatever you happen to be doing, whether it’s talking with a client or cutting vegetables.
Getting into the habit of in-the-moment mindfulness prepares us for the unexpected.
In a challenging situation, it’s easy for our brain to spiral out of control and trip us up.
Instead, being in the moment keeps us on our feet, ready to act and thinking clearly.
It prevents us from getting mired in our own imagination, envisioning everything that could go wrong.
It also prevents us from wasting time and energy dwelling on how things may have unfolded in the past.
This year, resolve to be more resilient. It’s a trait that will enrich your life, and for the rest of your life.