A dog in the daffs, all enjoying the sunshine; what a difference a day makes! After the torrential rain and storms we’ve endured for days, the sky’s a cloudless brilliant blue, I can hear birds calling and all is peaceful. A series of quick ‘whizzes’ instead of proper walks, left Alfred akin to a coiled spring so off we went with unbridled joy, on Alf’s part anyway.
The word ‘resilience‘ came to mind as I looked around at Nature and her lessons, the Oxford Dictionary definition being in two parts:
- The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
- The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.
Lesson 1: The daffodils remained upright despite their battering by wind and rain, indeed, they’d benefited from the deluge and were pumped up and looking splendid. The foliage was beautifully green and hydrated and, somehow, the blossoms had remained on the trees. I looked up to see a squirrel sitting quietly observing us. (Note To Self: Alf must be getting old, he didn’t notice. I’ll excuse him because the ‘peemails’ on the ground had probably sprung to life in the sun.)
Lesson 2: I thought about all we miss when we don’t walk tall and unbowed by life’s events. So often we go through the day failing to notice the gifts and opportunities around us, just waiting to be of assistance. We’re blinkered by our own vision of the world.
Lesson 3: The few people I met were all in buoyant mood, their state altered by the vibrant beauty around them. What if we maintained that inner calm effervescence – if that isn’t a contradiction – regardless of outside influence?
So what makes some folk bounce back from adversity and other crumble? Perhaps it’s to do with how flexible and adaptable we are to change and to other people and whether we EXPECT to bounce back? Like all qualities, some are born with more of a certain characteristic than others but it’s possible to change our mindset around life’s traumas. So what can we do to be more resilient so we’re prepared when adversity strikes?
- Look After Physical and Mental Health – Self-care is paramount in being prepared for anything which presents. A well nourished, exercised and rested body reduces stress levels and enables a more robust response. So much is said about spending time outdoors but it really does have beneficial effects, both physically and mentally. Lastly but by no means least important, spend time with people you enjoy as a supportive social network is so important to mental wellbeing.
- Maintain A Sense Of Humour – Laughing might be the last thing you feel like doing when in the midst of chaos but there’s an element of humour in every situation, if you look for it. Laughter can relieve both physical and mental pain and reduce tension.
- Be Positive – Sure, negative feelings are normal but an ability to balance those with positive emotions even in painful situations creates a more resilient attitude. Can you see a redeeming feature in the current situation? Life isn’t ever all bad or all good, so why do we sometimes choose not to see the positives – they’re always there? It’s that old silver lining thing. It’s not a case of denying the negative emotions but rather experiencing them in parallel with the hopeful and grateful ones. Thoughts trigger our emotional patterns so a positive appraisal of life on a daily basis helps build a firm foundation. Spending a few minutes each day thinking about our blessings is time really well spent.
- Look For The Learning – Seeing challenges as opportunities for growth and change encourages resilience. Asking questions such as: ‘what can this teach me?’, ‘what are my available choices?’, ‘what’s the best solution’ is far better than resorting to the blame game and help maintain relationships with others which, in turn, helps on the resilience front.
- Generosity Of Spirit – Serotonin provides the ‘feel good’ factor and is boosted when we act kindly towards others. Being of assistance on a daily basis is a brilliant way of maintaining mood. Remember though, it’s a two-way street as being able to receive kindnesses is equally important. When the going gets tough, being able to feel gratitude for all we have and are gifted from those around us helps put the situation in perspective.
And now, after all the excitement of a glorious walk doing lots of doggy stuff, Alfred’s in his basket on his back, legs in the air, resiliently settled until dinner time!