How To Cultivate Resilience, or What It Takes To Keep on Keeping
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: Is
Organic a Scam? – Fetal and Child Development and Antibiotic Resistance
It’s the utter
resolve I’ve seen in a training client who lost his legs in an accident
and now runs marathons with the use of prosthetics. It’s the friend
who lives with a medical condition that imposes debilitating pain
and continues to run a successful business, raises a tight-knit
family, and volunteers in his community. It’s any of us who pick
ourselves up after a profound loss or life transition, who decide
exceptionally challenging circumstances aren’t going to keep us
from leading fulfilling, grateful lives. I’m also mindful
of those who may have struggled through the recent 21-Day
Challenge, but don’t want to give up just days after it
has ended. If that’s you, listen up.
can encompass the emotional and physical stamina to get through
a patch of rough weeks or bounce back from illness or injury. Even
more dramatically, however, resilience can mean the fortitude
to deal – and even grow – with life-changing
romanticization here. Resilience isn’t a superhero trait. We talk
of “conquering” limitations, beating back disease, overcoming loss.
The reality is much more complex. Those friends and clients who
have been amazing models of resilience have also been fully, richly
human. Not every day is a good day. Not every step leads you forward.
Not every battle is won. We all pick ourselves up at some point,
and some days we let ourselves stay “down” a little longer than
others. We feel what we need to feel. The pivotal point is recovering
yourself and reengaging your life on renewed terms.
the phenomenon of resilience as a varying characteristic among people.
Some people, when faced with hardship seem buoyed by a sense of
perspective and energy. They are more likely to get back on the
horse while others struggle more intensely. Resilience appears to
be a trait influenced by our individual brains themselves –
our molecular mechanisms that process stress to be more precise.
More so, however,
it’s a mindset that can be cultivated, a flexibility in engaging
the rough and tumble of life as well as a willingness to live with
ambiguity. It’s perhaps also an art we can undertake, a
richness we can weave into the support and substance of our lives.
The more resilient we are, research shows,
the more satisfaction we tend to garner from life.
question is how can we cultivate resilience in ourselves?
How can we design a life that encourages optimum thriving –
and supports us most when life challenges us head on.
health with all the basics in line will do you right every time.
all matter as much if not more when it comes to building resiliency.
Some interesting research highlights
the role of exercise, however. A whole host of research highlights
the stress, depression, and anxiety busting (and buffering) effects
of exercise. When compared with rest, for example, a 30-minute
block of moderate exercise was better at decreasing anxiety
as measured by subjects’ responses to photographs, including stress
seem to suggest,
however, that this buffering becomes more than an immediate dose
response, so to speak, but a persisting pattern over time. Regular
exercise produces a continuing psychobiological impact that overhauls
our stress response itself. Over time, exercise contributes
to our overall mental resilience.
In the midst
of major life challenges, we can at turns benefit from the richness
of nostalgia and envisioning future prospects. Also important, however,
is the capacity to be
purely in the moment, to release expectations, questions, and plans.
Mindfulness, in addition to eliciting the body’s relaxation
response, can play a key role in acceptance, a crucial process
for living with challenging circumstances.
We often expend
a lot of energy and anguish pushing back against difficult changes
when we’d be better served shifting gears and realigning our paths
in light of new realities. Likewise, it can take an immense patience
to “sit with” a feeling – physical and/or emotional. To be
sure, there are things that people unnecessarily, even irresponsibly,
accept when they have the opportunity to change them. There’s a
difference, I think, between conscious acceptance and expedient
resignation. If you talk to survivors of significant trauma or serious
health crises, I think they’d tell you acceptance isn’t by any stretch
endeavor. It’s a dynamic, growing, and ongoing process. True mindfulness
attends to this process.
people, mindfulness can take different forms. Some may practice
yoga, Tai Chi, or other programs. Others might pray or immerse themselves
in other meaningful
ritual. Still others might seek peace simply by spending
time in the wild, letting their involuntary attention take over
and letting go of everything but their awareness of the world in
front of them. All, I think, would say they’re taking comfort in
releasing themselves to something larger than themselves and their
the rest of the article
to Lew's recent podcast with Mark Sisson
October 5, 2012
© 2012 Mark's Daily Apple
Best of Mark Sisson