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The Resilience Factor



By Ashley Wilhoite, BSN, RN, Wellness Director

Resilience can be defined as our ability to overcome adversity or to simply overcome obstacles that have presented themselves in our lives. Have any of you ever found yourself in a difficult place in your life that you never thought you would be able to get out of? Have you had thoughts of, “Is this ever going to end?” and “What kind of person am I going to be when this vicious cycle breaks?” Are you currently facing hardship because of the current pandemic we are all living through? Uh, yes!!

Ideal resilience has little to do with dodging anxiety, stress, illness, adversity or disappointments in life but, instead, knowing that you could potentially meet misfortune in your lifetime and, when you do, be prepared to face it head-on, absorb it, strengthen from it, and come out of it thriving.

Now, more than ever in these strange and everchanging times, we need to focus on not only ourselves but the well-being of others.

Here are some tips that I have found to be necessary in times of disparity that enabled me to rise above certain circumstances and embody resilience.

Be of service to others:

One of the greatest gifts a person can give is that of being in service to others. I feel that a big part of having a resilient factor is offering yourself to lift others’ spirits. Now, you may be thinking, “How can I help someone else when I am struggling to help myself?” Just do it! I promise that once you start being of service to others, you’ll feel other parts of your life start to fall in to place. Service to others not only promotes positive outcomes, but it helps us to find strength in some of the most trying situations. Small, daily acts of service will contribute and promote more positive outcomes than you will ever realize.

Find the positive in the negative:

Constantly dwelling on the disadvantages in life will not only bring you down, but it will keep you down and rob you of the tools that help you dig your way out of challenges. Positive thinking promotes positive outcomes. If you are constantly telling yourself how horrible life is, you will start to live a life of negativity and will soon find the negative in everything. Before you know it, you are consumed by it. Start each morning with an attitude of gratitude for what you do have and start to seek the beautiful gifts that we have all been given. Once you make a habit of doing this, you will start to feel more resilient and have an overall awareness for more easily overcoming adversity.

Let it go, sister!

I recently read a book called “Super Attractor where the author consistently talks about releasing energies that hold you down (Thank you, Erica, for suggesting this great read. You knew just what I needed when I needed it). And I’m telling you it works. Being able to let go of some of the control we think we have on situations that are really out of our control helps us align our thoughts with what we can change. This simple, yet challenging task will help promote overall well-being and alleviate unneeded stress in your life. We all have enough stress, so stop stressing over things you can’t control.

Heighten your sense of self-awareness

Possessing a sense of meaning and purpose has a strong correlation with quality of life and improved health and functioning as well as improved resilience. I don’t know about you, but I have been able to dig down deep during the current pandemic to see what sets my soul on fire. Having a sense of awareness for myself and what I need on a personal level has kept me from turning towards negative feelings and emotions. Self-awareness gives me the drive to keep moving to get the job done, even during hardship. It’s also contagious. When others see you working towards goals you have set for yourself, they feel motivated to do the same!

Move your body, people!!

Sedentary and stressful lifestyles inhibit our ability to think clearly and work effectively. As a result of the stress, our bodies will succumb to inflammation which also increases cortisol levels in the body. Inflammation negatively impacts our brain and its ability to function best. Adequate sleep, healthy eating habits, physical activity, and exercise are all essential in providing our bodies the fuel they need to fight through trying times. Physical strength is not necessary to have resilience but is a great benefit in being able to get through adverse situations and events.

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