What is Resilience?
Resilience is my word for 2021 because long after the pandemic, lockdowns, masks, and social distancing are over, resilience will stand as the true gift of 2020. It is the positive outcome of so much tragedy that the human spirit will prevail and even triumph, no matter what.
The human experience was shaped by scarcity and fighting for what was needed to survive. Along the way, failures happened. Resilience is part of the adaptive response to failure.
Resilience is a complex recipe created through neurobiology, genetics, epigenetics, and psychology, mixed with taking action, head/heart coherence, and personal values.
How I Built Resilience
The complexity of resilience suggests that there are multiple ways to affect how you become a more resilient person. Multiple factors usually imply multiple solutions.
How did I discover them? Each was an outcome of struggle and posttraumatic growth. I needed to find answers to traumas. I wanted to not only survive but to thrive.
My path to resilience began with wanting to learn how I could overturn the negatives in my life. I found an expert who showed me how to transform my body. I found a new way to eat and developed it into a lifestyle for millions – the Eat Clean Lifestyle.
In a more recent series of struggles, I learned the value of Emotional Self-care. One after the other, I lost a child, my second husband, my financial security, my home, and my confidence.
The combination of what you eat, how you move and take care of your head/heart space is the Holy Grail of building resilience.
How Eating Clean Builds Resilience
Everything you consume affects your physical body, whether positive or negative. The goal is to build and maintain a strong, healthy body, resilient against life’s challenges
—physical resilience to disease and mental health care in a crisis. Many have so little resilience that even one poor food choice or traumatic event can push them over the edge into dis-ease.
Eating only whole, nutrient-dense, minimally processed, well-sourced, and adequately prepared foods provides the greatest concentration of nutrients to fuel living systems ~ your body and mind. Eating clean foods provides optimal macro and micronutrients that support resilience in every way. Your cells fire and wire correctly, function optimally and efficiently, leaving no room for breakdown.
Introducing clean foods into your body helps support your immune system in its work to fight viruses and pathogens.
One of the most effective ways to positively support resilience is to avoid processed and refined sugars, a cornerstone of my work with clients. Sugar robs nutrients from your bones and organs, weakening them and undermining your resilience. Eating excess sugar also disrupts homeostasis – the body’s natural state of balance – and negatively impacts your immune system.
How Exercise Builds Resilience
Exercise is something that everyone can do with little to no expense to build resilience. After eating clean, exercise is the next essential factor.
Dr. John Ratey suggests 30 minutes/day exercising at an MHR (Maximum Heart Rate) of 65% or greater, five to six days per week is ideal.
MHR: 220 – your age = MHR
Your level of effort at the optimal rate of 65% or greater is unique to you. Getting moving is what matters.
Try this; open the door and step outside. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Start walking. Then run. Then walk. Run. Walk. Repeat. Strive to work at a pace that will make you breathless. Keep going until your timer goes off.
Resilience builds as you continue. The habit leads to stronger bones, muscles and strengthens your heart and lungs engine. Keep this habit up, and you’ll soon be losing weight and feeling more energetic. This leads to a boost in confidence, which will keep you going. Small wins boost massive confidence.
In your brain, you receive massive doses of feel-good neurochemicals like serotonin and dopamine. You use stress hormones, protecting your brain tissues, and lowering blood pressure.
How Emotional Self-care Builds Resilience
The World Health Organization includes emotional self-care in its definition of wellness, highlighting the importance of emotional self-regulation, along with eating clean and exercise.
Emotional self-care is described as actively caring for your emotional needs by examining and nurturing your feelings, your conscious state, and your intellect.
Emotional health is inextricably linked to physical wellness because every emotion is linked to specific organ structures. Neural pathways, glands, and hormones connect each body system. Prolonged stress, negative attitudes, and behaviours often predict oncoming disease. Every cell in your body absorbs the quality of your emotions and thoughts.
Building resilience through emotional self-care
The last decade has seen a rise in structured activities that teach various powerful practices from meditation, gratitude, giving thanks, forgiveness, and even charity work.
Meditation is the keystone to all self-care practices. Meditation is a practice. Daily practice will help develop your ability to meditate, starting with ten minutes and working your way up.
Journaling is another powerful practice that helps regulate emotions. Putting words on paper helps to release thoughts and emotions. It frees up mental real estate, reducing the feeling of overwhelm.
Writing promotes self-reflection, encourages governance over your emotions, which results in building confidence and resilience.
The need for stress?
Developing resilience begs for challenging situations to happen. This kind of stress is called eu-stress and is like what grapevines need to yield the highest quality wine. The more difficult the environment in which the grapevines grow, the better the quality of the wine.
This is the same for us. Some stress is necessary to develop resilience. Without obstacles in life, we can’t grow. We’ll all be handed the defeats and knockdowns that life can deliver; the key is to get up and keep ongoing.
Build your resilience through Eating Clean, Exercising, and Emotional Self-care, the three “E’s” of wellness. Practiced daily, you’ll be resilient and ready for the next obstacle, whatever it may be!