Resilience is More than the Ability to Bounce Back

A month ago, one of my Mindset Program clients was in her fourth month working with me on a couple of things in her life in which she wanted to see some transformation. She was moving and grooving along when suddenly her mother passed away. It was unexpected. The event “took her out behind the knees” so to speak. She called me and said, “I’m out! I’m stopping everything. I just can’t bounce back. I guess I have no resilience.”

Here is what I replied:

Resilience

I don’t think resilience is necessarily about being like a rubber band and bouncing back to who you were. I know in my life, where I have experienced loss, well, I could never be the same again. I could only move through the challenge. The same applies to failure.

Many of you check in with how you are feeling first (scared, heartbroken). Then you take action on those feelings (cancel everything, even your wellness). Then you identify yourself with that feeling (I am not resilient, I am depressed). To help you have more resilience in challenging times, start with how you want to BE (strong, honourable, courageous) then take actions consistent with that identity. You will then start to feel as if you are who you want to be. Of course, in the case of such a deep loss, I would recommend surrendering to the grief but always conscious of who you want to be in this moment in your life. In the case of my client, she came in for her sessions as scheduled because she realized that showing up for her life was the key ingredient for her success which included facing adversity. She asked for help to move through this challenge.

When it comes to setbacks, remember, you will fail. It’s just a reality. Problems arise when you think you shouldn’t fail. You start to think, “I am a failure” which is a fixed mindset. When you know failure is part of the process, you don’t beat yourself up. If you’re consistently taking risks, then you’ll consistently fail. If you are not taking any risks, then you have less opportunity for growth. Trust me, those who go for excellence, fail a lot! They know it is part of the process (growth mindset).

The next tidbit I’m going to tell you will be no surprise. The best way to increase your resilience is to master yourself. You are usually your own worst enemy. You will do best if you see how you get in your own way. Look at addictive behaviours and negative beliefs. When you learn how to overcome them, you can move through challenges easily and quickly. In fact, fewer events will feel like a challenge!

To move through a challenge and to manage your psychology, it helps to mange your physiology. The best and easiest way to do that is through breathing. Breathing is within your control and it is a first step in shifting all your responses to wellbeing. Here’s one exercise I love:

Inhale to a slow count of 4 through the nose.

Hold for 4 counts.

Exhale through the mouth for 4 counts.

(Do this for 4 minutes. You’ll feel a shift, perhaps more relaxed in your body.)

And finally, I just want to remind you that you are the creator of your life. Your life is not found, it’s forged. When you make effort, experiment, when you are willing to endure failure, and you keep showing up again and again, that’s forging your life. When you take on this mindset, you will see just how resilient you are!

Mindfully,

Ellie

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