Written by Laura Smith, EYN Executive Director.
We all experience stressful times and struggles in life, and sometimes we can feel sad, angry and overwhelmed. These feelings are normal and it is healthy to give ourselves space to sit with our feelings. It is also important that we have tools for helping ourselves bounce back. Resilience is our ability to spring back and heal as we work through difficult experiences.
“ Resilience has been described as the capacity for positive outcomes despite challenging or threatening circumstances, “ Byron Egeland et al. (1993).
The good news is that personal resilience is something that can be developed! Being resilient is largely about recognizing when you are struggling and practicing healthy coping strategies. For most of us, our coping strategies are highly individualized.
Healthy coping strategies can be thought of as a resilience toolbox that you can pull from to care for yourself when times get challenging. Practicing your healthy coping strategies regularly can actually help you be prepared to respond to life’s demands.
- Get plenty of sleep and go to bed early
- Take a nap
- Reduce intake of news
- Take all electronics out of your bedroom
- Take a daily walk outside
- Make time to engage in hobbies
- Spend time with friends (can be a phone call)
- Meditation or mindfulness
One of the most effective healthy coping strategies is meditation. Meditation is a tool that supports our resilience because it can provide mental fortitude and help us maintain balance during stressful periods. Mindful or meditative breathing physically soothes the nervous system and calms our brains. One quick internet search and you will find a variety of helpful mindfulness activities.
The more tools you put in your toolbox, the more likely it will be that you can pull out the one you need the next time you need one.