Resilience is the ability to cope well with difficulties and to bounce back from setbacks.While some people are naturally more resilient than others, resiliency can also be intentionally developed.How to start?
One of the first steps is to ensure you take care of your physical health. When we are stressed, distracted, and concerned, it can be easy to ignore this critical step.
Regular exercise is known to increase natural endorphins, or mood enhancers. Research also suggests that exercise improves memory and improves our ability to learn. An exercise routine is something you can control, when other things may be feeling out of control. Are you taking the time for regular aerobic exercise, even walking for 30 minutes 3 times a week?
A healthy diet gives you energy and provides your brain with essential nutrients for optimal functioning. Eat a variety of foods according to known food charts in order to get the variety of nutrients your body needs. Reduce rather than eliminate some of the fun foods, for eating provides us with more than nutrients. If you are less active than usual (even with your regular exercise!), reduce portions while continuing to eat regular meals in order to maintain a stable energy level as well as order in your day, while maintaining a healthy weight.
Finally, Breathe. Taking a few long, slow, deep breaths is an excellent way to reduce momentary stress and maintain long-term health. Most of us, too often, take very shallow breaths. This decreases the oxygen we take in and decreases the carbon dioxide we breathe out. This can increase fatigue and "mental fog".
These few tips will help you maintain your physical health during stressful times, and any time, and are a first step toward developing your resilience.
Carolyn Tal, PhD
Psychologist and Consultant
Working with individuals and partners in developing resilience and related issues.