Welcome to the the second part of our series on cultivating resilience in uncertain times. If you missed the first part, then catch up here. In this article, we share our insights on how you can develop healthy coping skills and nurture your resilient human spirit. These are both elements that will help to bolster your resilience in times of doubt like these.
Healthy coping skills
Self-care practices build our reserves and give us the mental and physical energy to cope when things get tough. Think of it like this – investing time and energy to build healthy self-care practices is like investing money in the bank so that it is there when you need to draw on it.
In times of stress, carving out time to care of yourself is even more important – even though often it’s the first thing we let fall to the wayside.
You can cultivate healthy coping skills by including some of the self-care practices we outline below in your life.
- Surrounding yourself with trusted friends and advisors
- Using humour where possible
- Practising deep breathing
- Learning to observe your emotions,
Typically, when people stop using healthy coping mechanisms, they start using unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drinking, smoking or drugs. These unhealthy coping mechanisms can create more problems than the issues they are trying to resolve.
If you find yourself turning to these unhealthy coping mechanisms, it’s an important sign you need to amp up your self-care practices and start using some of your healthier coping skills.
The importance of self-care in cultivating resilience
Self-care means maintaining your energy reserves by regularly taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental needs. This is essential to staying healthy and strong in an enduring way.
Take a moment to consider how many of the following self-care practices you currently make time for in your life? Are you happy with the amount of self-care in your life? Or perhaps do you need to make time for more self-care?
- Eating healthily
- Taking time to relax
- Devoting time to your spiritual practice of choice
- Keeping a positive mindset
- Spending time with loves ones
- Setting appropriate boundaries
- Participating in activities that lift you up instead of holding you back
Equanimity can be defined as “evenness of mind” or “mental composure.” Ideally, you want to be able to maintain a state of mental calmness, even in the midst of challenging situations.
The ability to maintain equanimity is something you can cultivate through practices like meditation, breathing, mindfulness, and yoga.
True equanimity is found in learning to ride the waves of life with a sense of openness and curiosity – all of which are key in cultivating a resilient mindset.
Doing so requires learning to manage your emotional states and maintain a healthy connection between body and mind. This can be hard for some people to do at first, which is where practices like meditation, mindfulness, breathing and yoga come in.
Support and connection with others
Having a support system and a healthy connection with others can really be an important factor when cultivating resilience. Knowing you have people you can lean on for support and that you can reach out to them—both in good times and in moments when you need help—is essential for thriving in times of adversity.
Having people in your life you can trust can provide a tremendous sense of courage and freedom to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. Moreover, a healthy community provides a sense of security and comfort in an uncertain world.
Sometimes, individuals want to only be the person who helps other people, but it is also extremely important to be someone who is authentic and vulnerable about the times when you need help.
When you are honest about your reality, you open the door for others to be vulnerable and authentic as well. This is the place where true connection occurs.
Remember – there is tremendous freedom in being honest and being able to both give and receive help.
Having a proactive world view
Though it can be easy to feel like a powerless victim in a massive, often violent and confusing world, there is one thing you can affect: your perspective and state of mind. No one can take this away from you.
You may not be able to change situations, but you always have the ability to change how you respond to situations. It is important to be deeply grounded in your own personal truths while at the same time having psychological flexibility to adapt to changes that are constantly arising.
A balance between the two can help you feel that you are safe in yourself and that you also have the ability to adapt and adjust in the face of new information. When you combine that with a sense of perseverance and determination, you can completely change the way you approach adversity in your life.
Having a positive sense of self
Unfortunately, many people pin their identities on their outside persona, which is a vulnerable place to put one’s sense of self-worth. For example, if someone ties her self-worth to her career, a professional setback could destroy her sense of self-worth.
Cultivating a healthy sense of self requires actively learning to listen to and loving yourself. Having a healthy sense of self-worth is built upon understanding who you are on the inside, having a connection with yourself, and spending regular time cultivating that connection through activities like meditation and mindfulness.
The resilient human spirit
When a baby comes out of the womb, the baby already knows how to nurse. This is a survival instinct that is carried through genetic material. Be mindful of the fact there are universal principles to strengthen resilience that span centuries, continents, and cultures.
These principles are a part of people’s individual and collective histories and can be found in human physiology and throughout societies.
While you may have been immersed in these elements your entire life, you can strengthen your resilience by understanding this inheritance that has been passed down through the ages and that still provides support today.
Instinct plays an important role in dealing with adversity. Your instincts involve your inborn behaviours, thought patterns, and ways of being that are not learned.
When a problem arises, for many people, their perception of the problem is the biggest obstacle. People know how to deal with adversity, but they may have forgotten or have narrowed their perspective to such a degree that they can’t see the big picture.
When you calm your brain down and learn to be present and mindful in the moment, you can learn to connect with a deeper instinct of how you are feeling and how those around you are feeling as well. The natural answer of what you need to do in each moment is always present if you are able to get perspective and listen for the answer.
The Australian Aboriginals have a word, dadirri, that translates as “deep listening.” It’s based upon the notion that people are constantly trying to create balance and harmony both inside themselves and in the surrounding world.
The Aboriginals practice dadirri both as a meditation and as an approach to ordinary interactions in daily life, constantly aiming to bring balance between the inner world and outer world.
When the Aboriginals have a problem, they listen for the answer. When they perceive illness or emotional upset in themselves, another person, or the world around them, they look for where they are not connecting with the whole to discover where disharmony or unease is occurring. They then listen for how they can help bring balance to the situation and let their actions reflect this.
Here’s something to try: Next time you feel an overwhelming sense of adversity – as in current times – rather than being swept up in the chaos around you, instead try listening for the answer.
We hope you found these insights useful. For more information about how our resilience workshops can support your employees, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org