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Practicing Everyday Resilience

November 29, 2017

By Angela Kneale OTD, MA, OTR/L, NBC-HWC

We spend our lives being human – experiencing joy and sorrow, laughter and pain, fear and excitement, challenges and successes, and work and play. Everyone makes mistakes and experiences setbacks. How we face and handle life’s everyday disappointments, as well as extraordinary disasters, matters even more than the fact that they happened.

Unfortunately, more and more people now struggle with increasing stress and anxiety. Resilience, the ability to bounce back from setbacks and overcome adversity, is a vital component of our health and wellness. Resilience is not only about breaking even and meeting the struggles and obstacles that come our way – resilience is practicing the skills to thrive!

Physical health and resilience are interconnected with our thoughts, feelings, and ways of being. In the Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness, Dr. Amit Sood outlined four domains of resilience: physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual. Because resilience is multidimensional and interrelated, taking steps toward boosting resilience in any one area positively influences our entire wellbeing. Exploring resilience in flexible, accessible ways provides opportunities for self-discovery and insight to gain resilience in our current lives and respond better to future adversity.

Physical Resilience

Physical resilience describes maintaining the best possible health. Our bodies are designed for resilience – all of our cells, tissues, organs, structures and body systems continually monitor, balance, repair, and restore for our optimal wellness. Physical resilience promotes being strong and healthy, recovering quickly from illness and injury.

Everyday practices to support physical resilience:

  • Active lifestyle
  • Nourishing food
  • Adequate sleep
  • Optimal self-care
  • Massage or bodywork

Cognitive Resilience

Cognitive resilience supports our mental focus during times of stress. Our ability to focus and make decisions often suffers in the midst of excessive stress. Time pressures and overwhelm additionally lessen our capacity to pay attention. Mindfulness practices improve cognitive resilience through actively noticing new things, increasing awareness of context, and staying open to the present.

Everyday practices to foster cognitive resilience:

  • Mindfulness
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Noticing bias or judgment
  • Meaningful activity
  • Creative expression

Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience reinforces our experience of positive emotions and flexible recovery from negative emotions—approaching rather than withdrawing from challenges. We inherently resonate with one another’s emotions and can focus on the people around us who are calm and centered during hardship.

Everyday practices to nurture emotional resilience:

  • Self-compassion
  • Kindness to others
  • Positive human connection
  • Engagement with negative emotions
  • Experiencing gratitude

Spiritual Resilience

Spiritual resilience upholds a selfless perspective and higher meaning. The forgiveness and compassion exuded by Nelson Mandela, rather than any thoughts of revenge, remains a timeless example of spiritual resilience.

Everyday practices to enhance spiritual resilience:

  • Conscious breathing
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Time in nature
  • Connection with higher meaning
  • Selfless perspective

Resilient people demonstrate flexibility in their thoughts and feelings, balance positivity and negativity, see challenges as opportunities to grow and evolve, and cultivate habits to lean toward and learn from demanding problems and circumstances. Resilience allows us to steer through the storm – rolling through the waves, instead of trying to stop the tide.

Consider registering for Rolling for Resilience

What if nurturing yourself and enhancing resilience were as fun and easy as rolling playfully on a foam roller?

This 3-hour experiential workshop explores the best foam roller techniques for self-massage, body alignment and core strengthening. Posture awareness exercises and dynamic movements on the roller help you connect with your body’s resilience and your capacity to thrive.

  • Playfully discover and explore how your body feels and moves
  • Enhance breathing, relieve body tension and muscle imbalances
  • Promote ease of movement, improved posture and greater flexibility
  • Restore and create healthful, efficient, balanced and joyful movement

Each participant will receive a Star Roller and Rolling for Resilience instructional book to take home after the workshop. Click here to learn more about Rolling for Resilience.


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