Resilience for Health and Healing
We can’t stop difficult life events or certain stressors but by building our resilience we can expand our capacity to manage and move through difficult times.
Building resilience requires us to develop resources and prioritise self-care. Often during times of stress and overwhelm the first things to go are the things that nurture us and help keep us resilient, whether that be exercising or nourishing food. Resilience is about looking after all areas of our wellbeing – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. We need to build resilience in all these areas to support our health and wellbeing as they are all connected.
We are all unique with different life experiences, lifestyles and genetics so what and how much we each need to do will vary from person to person and there may be times when we need to do a little bit more to support ourselves and times when having a maintenance regime is enough.
Ways to build physical resilience include eating balanced and nutritious food, looking after your gut health, avoiding processed foods and sugar, limiting alcohol and caffeine, getting enough sleep and participating in some sort of regular movement and activity.
Some of the ways to build mental and emotional resilience include mindset work, recognising when you do have choices, mindfulness, talking with someone, managing thoughts and emotions and remembering your strengths and positive experiences. You can also look at the support you have around you and within you. Play and participating in activities that bring you joy and that are fun are also resilience building.
When we are overwhelmed and stressed we can tend towards isolation when what we really need is connection. Connection is a basic human need and part of building and maintaining resilience. Social resilience comes from connection with communities, friends, families, colleagues. There are times when we all need to reach out for support. Social connections have been shown to be linked to improved physical and mental health.
Spiritual resilience has been shown to improve our sense of hope when things are difficult, reduce depression, increase life satisfaction, benefit physical health including improvements to chronic pain. Spirituality may be religious faith but it can also include having a sense of purpose and meaning. Spiritual resilience can also be about having a connection to something such as nature or spirit. Resilience in this area can be developed by connecting in spiritual communities, meditation, yoga, spending time in nature.
Building resilience shouldn’t be a chore, find things that work for you, things that you enjoy and that work for your lifestyle. You might need to experiment and play around with different activities to see what works for you. It can be small things done regularly over time that builds your resilience. It is making a commitment to yourself. When you commit to yourself you will feel stronger and more capable, more connected to yourself and those around you. Building your resilience also helps you feel more positive about the future and when difficult times happen you will be more able to manage them and bounce back.