At Pilates class this week, one of my classmates talked about the stresses of travel and related a story about an airplane passenger who brought a lot of carry-on baggage onto the plane. It clearly stressed her out at the time and did so again as she retold the story. I was trying not to get stressed out by the tension she brought into the room. We all do this at times. We create stress by our thoughts.
We may notice something and then let it go or we might walk around with it and let it continue to make us angry or upset. We may even try to enlist others in our misery.
A friend of mine decided to give up worrying during Lent. When I asked her how it went, she said it felt great. I marveled at her ability to just decide to give it up and then do it. She said that she realized that there are things she can't change, that are out of her control and so there is no use worrying about them. Now that Lent is over, she has decided to give up worrying permanently.
Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune according to
The American Heritage Dictionary. Imagine a buoy in the ocean. The waves push and pull it and eventually it rights itself. In the same Pilates class we bend, stretch, and strengthen our bodies so that we have the flexibility, balance and elasticity to recover from accidents or unexpected events. Sometimes these events are physical and sometimes they are emotional or psychological.
Researchers on resiliency have discovered that resilient children seek out new experiences and see themselves as having control over their own fate rather than victims of their circumstances. Maria Konnikova, in
The New Yorker
article, "How People Learn to Become Resilient" writes, "Frame adversity as a challenge, and you become more flexible and able to deal with it, move on, learn from it, and grow. Focus on it, frame it as a threat, and a potentially traumatic event becomes an enduring problem; you become more inflexible, and more likely to be negatively affected."
Some of the ways I have learned to be more resilient include ongoing practices, such as:
- Practice Pilates, yoga, and spend time in nature
When a potentially troubling event occurs, I try to:
- Pay attention to what and how I am thinking
- Ask myself how can I be more flexible and buoyant in this circumstance
What ongoing practices and techniques help you develop resilience?