Do you find it difficult to bounce back when things go wrong? Or can you draw upon your inner strength to help you rebound from a setback or challenge, loss of control, such as a job loss, sudden change, an illness, trauma or a loved one's passing. If you have low resilience, you might dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, over eating etc.
Building resilience gives you an opportunity to move through problems and find enjoyment in life and better cope with stress. If you aren't as resilient as you'd like to be, the good news is that Yoga and Meditation practices, along with positive connections and learning a little about how your brain and body integrate, you can cultivate skills to become more resilient.
Let's start with discovering a little bit about your brain, resilience can help you to reconnect with yourself and others, it can also remind you about how important it is to build a daily meditation of Compassion and Gratitude to soothe and change both the brain and the bodies feeling mechanisms. Past experiences get stuck in the cells and tissues of our body and organs, if we don't have any resilience tools to change this then our resilient levels diminish and we become even more sensitive to our day to day experiences.
From a Yoga and meditation perspective there are many ways to achieve this:- what holds, supports and nurtures every skill we learn towards restoring and renewal is Awareness. It is the foundation of resilience & its best related to as, "Learning to be with a feeling or experience while being completely aware of it". Watch the video first then read on to learn about creating a personal Inner Refuge or symbol cultivating awareness.
Past experiences get stuck in the cells and tissues of our body and organs, if we don't have any resilience tools to change this then our resilient levels diminish and we become even more sensitive to our day to day experiences.
Finding an inner refuge.
When we become overwhelmed with life we become dis embodied, our nervous systems are on high alert constantly, you might feel that you just can't turn down or change strong emotions, feelings or thoughts. When you are in this place you may also find it difficult to connect to your breath or even concentrate for longer than a second or two. Enduring embodiment, requires a returning to some kind of "felt sense" , we do this in Yoga through breath training, meditation and body practices. One skill that I have found personally helpful is finding a Symbol and a place in the body where you feel safe, connected, where you could create an imaginary scene where everything else fades away except the experience of being , spacious, free, happy, content a deep sense of well being.
If you have a Guru they will give you a personal symbol, and you might already have one, if not just think about what sparks joy in your life. It may be a person, place, experience such as a warm sunny day, swimming, being in nature. Or a symbol such as a star, light, sun, diamond, a loving pet or person.
Then create that feeling inside.
Here is a short meditation I took some students through at a recent Mini retreat try it out.
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Supports to improve your resilience:
Are you ready to build some resilience and thrive in life:
Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones , make new friends , join a group or class, find connections that provide you with needed support and acceptance. Feel gratitude for all situations. An act of embodiment is to be connected.
Find purpose. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. It doesn't have to be anything big...take small steps to help you look toward the future with meaning.
Take care of yourself. Give yourself the love and care that you might give others. Ensure that you participate in activities and hobbies that have a feel good vibe. Include physical activities every day. Eat well,sleep well. Smile often:)
Nothing ever stays the Same. It's true, even if today doesn't read "happy" you have the power to harness and change today, just by introducing relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, positive affirmation,guided imagery, deep breathing, prayer you can ride the waves of change, becoming a master change maker. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event or loss, know that your situation can improve if you give it effort and consistency.
Learn from experience. Think of how you've coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through any difficult times. Map out some of your behavior patterns, or record your daily interpretations in a personal journal. This can help guide your future behavior and also help you to release emotions through putting them on paper. A wonderful meditation experience.
Self compassion. To love yourself may be one the hardest things to do, whats even harder though is ignoring your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action. Be kind to yourself, travel through your day with a reminder to have compassion for yourself. Be kind to yourself by accepting who you are, stay away from anyone or anything that does not bring you joy. You are worth it, we all have good days and awful days, it's how we decide to look at it and how we change it around that counts.
Cathie Mcgill is a Yoga Teacher Trainer and healing practitioner. Her interests are in supporting others with Trauma, stress and uses Restorative practices to support others towards greater resilience and well being. She has several training programs.