Have you had days when you thought a sneeze would blow you over? You felt dis-stressed, depressed or plain worn out. I have had days from burnt toast to a family member crashing his car that exhausted me. We can bounce back more easily when we have developed some everyday grit or resilience.
We are all able to bounce back with resilience. We’ve all done it. We might even bounce forward with increased strength, skills, and adaptability to handle life’s pains, strains, and challenges.
As pastor and author, Gordon MacDonald, states in his book, A Resilient Life: You Can Move Ahead No Matter What;
Developing resilience is demanding, mostly done in secret, often humbling, and not always fun.”
Like MacDonald I have become a student of resilience. Unlike MacDonald I believe that fun may be an important part of becoming a tougher cookie. Here are three Cs to resiliency to consider.
The Three Cs to Resiliency
1. Care for your body.
Eat, sleep and exercise. Thousands of dollars are spent on telling us how to do these three life survival basics.
- Eat sensibly with minimal white sugar, flour, salt and process foods. Translation: Eat more vegetables, fruits, protein (meat, nuts, beans, legumes and dairy products) and whole grains and eat less junk food. I’m not a dietitian but, hey, I can see my mother’s wagging finger when I reach for a bag of potato chips.
- Sleep deprivation causes accidents, miscommunication, illness and an unnecessarily ugly face. Look at my blog/article, No More Restless Nights: 12 Tips to Sleep Better for tips on getting a good night’s sleep.
- Find the kind of exercise that works for you, your life style and body. Walking is always a healthy alternative and we’re talking further than the yellow pages. A minimum of 20 minutes three times a week is recommended.
2. Change your critical self talk.
If we indeed have between fifty and sixty thousand thoughts a day in our head, we had better be aware of the most damaging and the most empowering. Then increase the latter.
- Journal your thoughts, your conversations and dreams. Look back in a couple days with a detective’s eye.
- See a professional if you can’t get the nasty put downs in your head controlled and replaced by some supportive self talk. You might be surprised to discover with an observant therapist just how many thoughts have been tripping you up.
- Learn your strengths and celebrate them. Consider taking Martin Seligman’s VIA Survey of Character Strengths.
3. Choose your perspective.
Develop habits that provide a realistic and sometimes needed optimistic viewpoint.
- Know what you value and live accordingly. Values range from freedom to family, from contemplation to merriment, from culture to nature, from honesty to kindness, from order to creative chaos.
- Hang around supportive and caring people. Trade in the old ones if necessary. New thoughts may require new pals.
- Hum tunes that cheer you. Eliminate the ones that depress.
- Laugh at the absurdities. We can often catch ourselves stressing over trying to change unchangeable circumstances, places or people. Give up on Aunt Ethel’s smoking. Her addiction is for her to take on or not.
- Before going to sleep, think of three or more reasons to feel grateful.
- Develop an internal locus of control. Consider making a list of a) what you control, b) what and with whom you have influence and c) what and with whom you have no control or influence. When you need to bounce back these lists will give you solid direction. Of course, the list of what you control, including your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, is where you are best to focus.
What is another way to describe resiliency at work and home? It’s the ability to adapt, to learn and carry on after the inevitable set backs of daily living. I’m reminded of what Stephen Covey said at a seminar focused on his book, The 8th Habit; From Effectiveness to Greatness, “You are the creative force for your life!” Use that force well. Then when the going gets tough you can bounce back.
What helps you to bounce back, or even better, bounce forward?
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Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.