Episode 270: Everyday Resilience
How do we feel about the introduction?
This is episode number 270, Everyday Resilience. My first question as I’m jumping into the episode today is, is that intro too long? It’s just over a minute, and I really like the full sort of letting people know what the show’s about in the intro. But if you have feelings about the intro, whether you like it and you’re like, it’s great, or you skip it because you already know about the show, or if you’re a new listener and you’re like, oh, it’s nice to kind of get an overview before I dive in, let me know if you want.
You can send me a message at @livefreemiranda on Instagram or to miranda@ livefreecreative.co via email. I like the intro. I think it’s a nice introduction and maybe just a little long for every week. Let me know what you think.
This episode was inspired by one of my classmates and friends, Josey Murray, who sent me a text message last week and let me know that she’s writing an article for EveryGirl about everyday resilience. And she was curious if I would act as the expert and give her some quotes, you know, answer some questions that she could use in the article, which was fun, and I was thrilled to do it.
And as I was answering the questions, it reminded me how important this idea is of everyday resilience, how it differs from maybe how we think about resilience in general, that term, and how simple some of the ways we build everyday resilience into our regular lives, our daily routines can be if we’re just aware of it.
So, thank you, Josey, for inspiring this episode. And I am so excited to read the article and I’ll make sure that I share that when it’s available so that you can read it too.
Life Lately: Three New Things
Today’s segment is Life Lately, and I’m going to share about three new things that I am currently really excited about. My first Life Lately new thing that I’m excited about is a new car. It’s a new old car.
My New (Old) Car
Dave and I typically buy old cars, pre-owned cars, and we have been using one car for the last nearly two years, 18 months. When my minivan passed away on the side of the highway, crossed the Rainbow Bridge into the land of very old, very well-loved, well-driven cars. Dave and I realized that we could operate as a one-car family for a while. I was getting ready to go into graduate school where I would be busy and traveling a lot, and Dave was working mostly from home.
The times that we were going different places at the same time with different cars were kind of few and far between. It was easy to adjust to having one car for our family as we live right in the city where we can walk and bike to a lot of things. We have electric scooters that I love.
I mentioned them as Peaks of the Week a few weeks ago. They are effective in getting us within a five-mile radius of home. And so, the car is just for altogether family drives out to the movies or a date night further away, going to get groceries, things like that.
My minivan died in the summer, and we were traveling and going back and forth, and so we said, well, maybe we’ll look at it in the winter after I get through that first semester of school where I was traveling often. And once we got to the winter, we realized we don’t need a car until I finish school, so we put it off until the spring, and in the spring when I finished school, we were just getting ready to spend a month in Costa Rica, so we realized we don’t even need any car while we’re gone for a month. We didn’t visit it again until right around the holidays.
We decided it was time that we could use two cars. The kids have a few more activities that are further away from home, and we wanted to be able to have a little bit more flexibility in the way that we manage our transportation, so we started looking for cars. I don’t know how you feel about car shopping, but it can be kind of intensive.
Cars are a big investment. They are expensive. They’re expensive to fix. They’re expensive to maintain. We were trying to make some big decisions around what this next car was going to look like.
The road came to this fork where I could either choose a car that felt practical that I would be able to drive for a long time, that would be a little bit more affordable for fixing over the long term, and that it would be a bigger investment for a car that we could hang on to for a long time.
OR *not practical. We could choose a car, the car, that I had wanted for basically my whole life, my dream car, which is a Land Rover Discovery. They don’t make the original Land Rover Discoveries anymore. My very favorites were the ones from the 1990s, 98, 99. Those were replaced with the LR3s and LR4s. The LR4 has the boxier, Safari-style shape, and they stopped making those in 2016 when they converted to what’s now the Land Rover Discovery that’s a little bit more rounded, more typical SUV looking.
I love the old ones. Getting a 1990s one, now those are considered antiques, and they’re expensive and hard to maintain, unless you yourself are like a car mechanic. We started looking at LR4s, which, again, my heart beats faster when I see them.
They’re just silly, but my favorite car. I remember in high school loving this car, and I grew up in Utah where it’s nice to have a four-wheel drive and have the towing capacity. Another big perk of this car is that it’s a seven-seater, so our whole family, plus the dogs, can fit in the back, or we can take friends along when we’re going places all together.
Ultimately, the impractical dream car won out. It was more affordable and more fun, which you can’t take away from how fun it is to drive a car that you love. Those things won out, and we went ahead and got an old Land Rover LR4, that because they don’t make them anymore, we’re going to do our best to maintain it well and keep it in good shape.
When it goes, or when we decide to move on from this, it’s probably not going to be a car that we go back to because they were only made for this certain amount of time. I feel like I’m kind of living out this dream for a short amount of time. It’ll maybe just be three, four, or five years that I can drive this car before we need something a little more practical, but can I tell you how much I love walking out from my house or from the gym or from the grocery store and seeing the car that I’ve always loved and knowing that that’s my car.
I get to hop in and drive it. So that’s fun and kind of silly. It doesn’t make a lot of sense on paper, but it feels great to make a choice that is for fun and to feel like it’s a good family car, and I love it. That’s my first new thing.
My second new thing that hasn’t happened yet, but that I’m really looking forward to is that I’m getting a new tattoo that I’m also really excited about. Now, I have a whole podcast episode about tattoos. I know they’re not for everyone. Some people have strong feelings about them. I’ve always loved tattoos, and I got my first tattoo about six years ago, and I’ve since added a few more.
One of my favorite tattoo artists has been traveling around the country. She is from Virginia, and she’s been traveling. She did a big botanical piece on my shoulder with a female cardinal and some wild blackberries, and some other meaningful things mixed in there, and I love her work, and I’ve been excited to add some more flora into this same section of my arm.
I’ve made an appointment for my birthday to go add to my botanical tattoo, and it’s just been something that I’m, every time I think about it, it makes me smile, and I’m really excited about that. So that’s going to be in the next couple weeks that I get a new tattoo for my birthday.
The third new thing that I’m excited about right now is the launch of a new business. Richmond Creative Club launched last week in Richmond. This is a monthly gathering of creatives to learn a new medium together, to spend time making something and experimenting and getting our hands dirty. We started last month with block printing and had a great time, and next month we’ll be working on basic leather craft.
In March, we’re going to be doing watercolor textiles. I have about 30 different mediums on a master list in my phone, and I’ve plotted out the next six months’ worth of workshops.
I first had the idea for something like Richmond Creative Club about 10 years ago when I was living in Texas and teaching regular craft workshops, and it just wasn’t the right time for several reasons. We ultimately moved, and I’ve been doing other things and had my focus in lots of different areas.
For some reason, the combination of starting the new year, finishing my graduate study with a real focus on everyday creativity and wanting to get back to a regular creative practice myself opened this thought process once again that this is something that other people might need and want, and the response has been great.
I have 10 members signed up for the Richmond Creative Club membership, which is a quarterly membership that can be renewed, and then there’s availability for dropping classes in between, so people can just come to one class or two classes if they don’t want to do the whole three months at a time.
It was really fulfilling to gather around a table and pull out a medium and start teaching a craft class again and watch people’s imaginations be exercised and their community grow as they’re meeting new people and just spending some time for themselves intentionally building their creativity. It was really, fun.
I’m noticing a pattern as I talk about these three new things that I’m excited about, that they all seem to be ideas or things that have resonated with me for a long time that I’m giving myself permission to act on or to build upon, to create in my life.
I guess my invitation, as I’m thinking about my life lately, is to you to consider what are some of those things for you that you’ve thought about, I would really love this or that, or I’d like to create space for these types of things in my life, maybe something that you’ve been holding back on that you feel like you could use that would add a lot of joy and fulfillment. Even if it’s not practical, to your life, and see if you can create space to step into some of your own personal dreams and wishes and hopes. That, my friends, is life lately.
What is Everyday Resilience?
When we’re talking about resilience, there are a few different definitions that you can think of, maybe, that come to mind.
In physical science, resilience is defined by the ability to resume original shape after being bent or stretched. You imagine an object that can bend and then resume its original shape would be considered a resilient object.
That is a great metaphor of its own, that you think about bending something and then having it be able to kind of reform itself or return to normal, is physical resilience.
When we’re talking about psychological, mental, or emotional resilience, we’re talking about the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or significant sources of stress.
Weathering adversity or dealing with distressing symptoms and being able to carry on with the important facets, even if baseline facets of your life, is what we would consider resilience.
There is also an interesting idea in positive psychology called post-traumatic growth, which is a specific type of resilience where someone emerges from a trial stronger and better than before. So rather than you hear about PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder, post-traumatic growth is experiencing a traumatic or distressing experience and having that serve as a platform for growth and building and becoming better because of it.
Resilience Relates to Managing Stress Cycles
At its very core, resilience is fundamentally related to managing our stress cycles. I’ve talked about stress several different times over the years on this show. And the most important thing for you to remember right now is we’re talking about resilience and stress, how it relates to stress, is that stress can be good for us.
Putting our bodies or our minds in a stressful situation is not inherently bad. What we need to be able to do is have the adaptability to move into stress and back out of stress easily. That flow into a stressful situation and out of it is what managing stress is all about.
It’s not about avoiding stress completely, that is impossible. It’s not about protecting ourselves from any distressing situations or conversations. It’s the ability to flexibly move into stress and back out of it again.
Resilience is the flexibility to move into stress and back out of it again.
You can imagine like the physical resilience, bending to accommodate something and then bending back into shape after, that physical resilience mirrors the idea of bending or flexing into a difficult situation in our lives and then being able to emerge back out of it and resume functionality as we had before.
When my friend Josey asked me to be the expert for her article, one of the questions she asked was: How can everyday resilience benefit your everyday life?
And my answer was this, “Everyday resilience invites a level of ease and peace into life, regardless of what is happening beyond our control. Resilience doesn’t prevent negative circumstances from showing up in our lives, but it allows us to be hit by a wave of stress and difficulty without it sweeping us away.”
Resilience is like swimming
This idea of a wave crashing over us and either sweeping us away or being something that we can ride through, maybe hold our breath, maybe paddle, maybe just float and relax and accept and then emerge back up and take a deep breath, feels like a really accurate metaphor for both stress or distressing circumstances and resilience.
As we’re talking about swimming, I want to just share for a second about Nyad. This is a new movie that was released in 2023 featuring Annette Benning and Jodie Foster as a pair of friends in their early 60s. Annette Benning is Diana Nyad.
This is a true story about Diana Nyad who was a long-distance swimmer who at the age of 28 attempted to swim nonstop for the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida and was unsuccessful. And at 60 years old, when she turned 60, she recommits to the idea of this open water swim which has never been done before.
She decides she’s going to retrain and get back in shape to swim this 103-mile shark infested, jellyfish infested open water swim through the Gulf Coast currents from Cuba to Florida. I’m not going to give up the movie. I mean, the spoiler as you can guess is that she ends up ultimately being able to complete this swim as the first human ever to swim from Cuba to Florida.
The difficulty that she encounters and the amount of grit and determination and resilience that she uses for this massive undertaking is wildly inspiring. Not to mention the fact that she’s doing this as an over 60-year-old woman who in our culture often could be written off as sort of having completed anything important that she would have completed in her life would be done before then. And she decides, no, I’m going to go ahead and make my mark. This is my life’s purpose.
She’s incredible with the way that she accomplishes it and the support system around her that enables her to be able to focus singularly on this goal. What struck me about the movie was not the feat itself which is of course is an incredible challenge which many people had considered completely impossible.
What inspired me was the amount of regular daily training that strengthened Diana Nyad so that when she faced the challenge, she had the strength and capacity and resilience, the flexibility to be able to manage whatever came. So many things can go wrong on that distance of swim and it’s nonstop. So, she’s swimming day, night, day, night.
She’s swimming all the way through the night. There are sharks, there are jellyfish, there are regular fish, there are storms, there are waves, there is sun beating down. There’s the ocean itself with currents going every which way where she could, if she’s not swimming just the right speed at just the right time, just the right day, she can be taken, you know, washed off course. There were so many different unexpected factors that she must just sort of be prepared for anything.
How do you prepare to face whatever life gives you?
Watching Nyad, which I highly recommend, reminded me that there are so many ways to swim and prepare to interact with the water. I don’t know when you learned to swim, but I did baby swimming classes.
Like I may have still been in diapers when I did survival swimming. I have very few kinds of odd flashback type memories of being in a pool very young, you know, for sure toddler age. And I didn’t learn how to swim with strokes.
I wasn’t, you know, doing intensive swimming. At that age, I learned how to turn over onto my back and float so that I could get air into my lungs and slowly paddle to the side of the pool so that I could grab on and get out. The next level is, you know, learning to dog paddle, to be able to swim around the pool.
The next level is maybe learning some strokes, learning how to put some kicking and power behind it. Going from a pool to an open water swim is sort of another challenge. I grew up swimming in a lot of lakes. I lived in the mountains of Utah, and we would swim in lakes. We had a boat and would go to Lake Powell, which is a big lake in the middle of the, basically the Grand Canyon. And I learned to water ski and to swim.
Swimming in the ocean is a whole different thing where there’s actual waves, you know, not just the chop from other boats around, but waves being pulled by the gravity of the moon. The way that you swim and brace yourself or hold your breath or, you know, understand the feeling of swimming in the ocean, depending on where you are too, the different beaches have different features. In college, I learned to swim and sort of survival swim as a river guide.
There are different type of swimming and reacting to the water when you fall out of a boat in the middle of a rapid versus swimming when it sort of feels like a lazy river and you can just kind of play around. All of this feels like a metaphor for everyday resilience and how we prepare ourselves for the flexibility that’s needed to interact with the stresses that happen in our daily life.
In calm water, if all you know how to do is float, you’re going to be just fine. In a storm, if you don’t have some developed skills, you’re going to have a lot harder time staying afloat and not drowning.
Resilience feels like learning to swim and learning how to use different types of techniques in different situations. You don’t learn to swim in the storm. You don’t develop the skills necessary to stay afloat when you’re being pounded by the waves and the wind.
Learning to swim is a practice. You’re introduced to it. It takes some intention behind the skill itself. It’s something that you practice, and you get stronger at, and you get stronger in different situations and the more you’re exposed to and the more you put yourself in the opportunity to learn, the better you feel and the more capable you are. It’s very similar with resilience.
Resilience is not only used in the face of big challenges and trauma, but also everyday ups and downs.
Oftentimes, we think about and talk about resilience as all the buffer or strength that you must get through a big, traumatic experience. Everyday resilience, in contrast to that, is having the capacity, the flexibility and adaptability, and I will say the strength and stamina to weather the small daily frustrations, stresses, relationships, disappointments that everyone experiences in our lives, some of which we can avoid, some of which we can’t.
I’m going to spend the rest of this episode sharing what I know about some resilience factors. These are some features that influence our resilience led by research, evidence-based resilience factors, and I’m not going to share all of them because there’s many, but I’m going to share about five or six resilience factors, what they are, how they help, and how to build them. These things used individually or collectively build the type of flexibility and stamina that you can use to adapt to the stresses and challenges of everyday life.
Some resilience factors are biological. This means that they are genetic. We have our DNA that has programmed within us without any permission or consent or questioning of our own how we respond to stress. All of us have a baseline level of adaptability built into our DNA that we, in some ways, can influence a little bit, and some of it we can’t. So, there’s a biological factor.
Epigenetics is how the environment impacts genetics. So, the field of epigenetics talks about how our different genetic processes can be turned on or off, and that can contribute to higher or lower stress. A few weeks ago, I talked about kindness as wellness and shared a research study that showed that when we interact with kindness, when we are kind to others, that that increases our immune response.
That’s an epigenetic response that our DNA modifies itself based on the kindness that we share in our life. There are many ways that epigenetics influences our resilience.
That’s just one example of a biological factor that can be influenced through our behaviors.
Neuroplasticity is another biological factor that can be influenced through our behaviors. So, the more flexible we are neurologically and emotionally, the better off we face the challenges that come into everyday life.
And mindfulness, I’ll talk about this a little bit more later, but, mindfulness-based stress reduction impacts brain regions that produce serotonin and norepinephrine, which both moderate stresses. When we are more mindful, and there’s been studies done on a type of mindfulness called mindfulness-based stress reduction. It’s an eight-week program.
Those studies show that the actual regions of our brain that produce these hormones, increase, they get bigger during the process of studying and engaging in mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness can literally grow the regions of our brain that help us manage stressful situations in our lives. Isn’t that wild?
Another type of factor is social. Having a community of friends and family to lean on in difficult times, that’s something that we can do something about. We may not be born into a naturally super close family. Maybe we are. I’m lucky to feel really close to my family and my in-laws, and to be pretty engaged in active friendships in my life.
And sometimes, and I have a few shows about making friendships as an adult, sometimes I’ve faced lonely times and needed to re-engage with the process of making new friends to actively build a support system. Some factors are psychological, flexibility, optimism, openness to experience. There are pieces of those that can be innate for us, and there are big pieces that can be developed and practiced.
And spiritual factors are involved in resilience in a way that may be unexpected.
Sponsor: Green Chef
I’m going to take a short break to share today’s sponsor, and then I’ll come back and share the five resilience factors that you can learn about and engage with in a new way to build everyday resilience in your own life.
Today’s show is sponsored by Green Chef. If you’ve been listening for any length of time, I’m a huge fan of the HelloFresh company, which now owns Green Chef as well. With a wider array of meal choices, there’s something for everyone.
I love being able to switch between the brands depending on what we need at the time. Right now, I’m really excited about Green Chef’s seasonal-inspired recipes, where they’re celebrating peak ingredients and freshness in the season. We do a minimal meal plan based on the season because I like eating what is growing at the time.
The way that Green Chef counts on meals that are good for your taste buds, good for your body, and good for the planet by eating and providing meals that are seasonal feels great to me. I also really appreciate the new Green Market. I love to simplify, simplify, simplify, and having Green Chef deliver my dinners for the week, but also being able to go into Green Market, which is a one-stop shop for snacks, grab-and-go breakfast, brunch kits, I can not only provide my family with healthy, delicious, quick meals for the week, also lunches, breakfasts, and snacks all in one place.
I don’t know that it gets much easier than that. If you value seasonal, fresh ingredients as well as simplifying life for you and your family, try Green Chef right now. You can go to greenchef.com slash 60practically and use the code 60practically, that’s P-R-A-C-T-I-C-A-L-L-Y to get 60% off plus 20% off the next two months.
So, the discount begins with 60% off and then you get an additional discount that lasts the rest of the season. Again, that’s greenchef.com slash 60practically and use the code 60practically to get your 60% off and 20% off your next two months. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Everyday Resilience Factors
Optimism and Realism
The first resilience factor that I want to talk about is optimism and realism. Optimism is one of my favorite things. I know I’ve talked about it before in the past, the advantages of optimism. Something that I think is important here, and I like the way that resilience includes optimism and realism, is that optimism is this future oriented gratitude and confidence that things are going to work out, while also accepting and being aware of the difficulties and challenges along the way. It’s not blind positivity or blind hope.
Optimism is a creative approach to problem solving, where you’re fully cognizant of the problems that are ahead of you, and you’re still able to flexibly look for creative and inventive solutions. So how does optimism help when you’re facing a challenge? How does it help you do that flex into the challenge and then emerge back out of the challenge without burning out or drowning?
Optimism allows you to have a wider perspective as you engage with positive emotions that then allow you to build resources for the future. I’m talking about the broaden and build theory of positive emotions, which is research done by Barb Fredrickson, where when we are able to look for what’s going our actual vision increases, our peripheral vision widens, we see opportunities that otherwise we might not be able to see.
And that enables us to gather together solutions and build resources to use to further put ourselves ahead. In contrast, pessimism, or negative focus, narrows our sightline. It takes away options or, erases options from our view that are possible, and we’re not able to creatively problem solve or build the same resources that we would approaching it with optimism.
How do we build optimism with realism? We seek positive experiences, prioritize positive emotions in our lives, savor, When things are going right, taking the time to recognize that and just really leaning into the feeling and feeling it deeply so we know what that feels like to feel like things are going well and reframing negative circumstances in a positive way, allowing ourselves to take a perspective outside of our own and retell the story in a way where something is right.
That opens up our mind to the possibilities that there’s other ways to look at it.
A second resilience factor is a spiritual practice. Spiritual practices are not specifically tied to religion, although they can be part of religion. But a spiritual practice refers to a belief in and connection to something greater than ourselves.
Members of all different world religions share the benefits of having increased resilience, as much as they’re engaged into the belief and feel like they can rely on their connection to something. greater. This meaning that comes to our lives when it’s not just about what’s happening today and tomorrow and ourselves, but a connection to a community, even a metaphysical community outside of ourselves.
In my experience, people can be deeply religious and not very spiritual, and also the reverse, deeply spiritual and not at all religious. The benefit of Spiritual practices or spirituality is the connection to and the meaning and the feeling it doesn’t have a lot to do with any sort of dogmatic practices or a specific way of being.
It’s more the connection that we feel and the perspective that is lent by seeing something beyond here and now that builds the resilience. It allows for greater perspective. It opens us up to support. Either from a spiritual or religious community or from a metaphysical community, even feeling like you’re supported by the universe or by God and any of their various forms and figures can yield that strength and support that helps during challenges in my experience, affiliated with religious communities.
There’s a, a deep physical social support as well, where there are people who can rally around you and give you meals when you’re having a hard time. And even having, different people to talk to and discuss spiritual things with can be really helpful. And also outside of religion, I found deep spiritual support in just my own connection to metaphysical things greater than myself and my family.
How does one build a spiritual practice? Now, this goes for whether or not you’re religious. You can build your spirituality through prayer. Prayer maybe sounds like something that needs to be specific. It isn’t. Prayer is simply a communion or conversation with God. Maybe it’s a power greater than you.
Maybe that feels like the universe. Maybe it’s God. Maybe it’s many gods. Maybe it’s humanity or our collective conscious. Whatever way that you can communicate in and feel supported by something greater than yourself could be called prayer. Meditation and mindfulness are both considered spiritual practices where you are connecting even just more deeply to your inner self in an intentional way.
Reading spiritual texts, things that help you feel that connection to purpose and meaning and rituals. There’s all sorts of different spiritual rituals and your engagement in those and active participation in building spiritual connections can benefit you and help you feel more flexible and adaptable in times of everyday challenge.
The next resilience factor that I want to touch on is social support. This is something that you could possibly find within your religious or spiritual community. It’s also something you can build totally outside of a religious or spiritual community. Friends and family that you feel connected to and supported by.
How does a social support help you when things are tough, even just little ups and downs of everyday life? Because of the way that we’re communal creatures, even thinking of a friend during a distressing time can. Lighten the perception of the difficulty that you’re experiencing. One of my favorite studies about social support and the way that it helps us in difficult times is the study of someone looking at a hill and their perception of the grade on this hill.
When a participant in the study had someone with them physically or could think of a friend, They saw the hill as less steep than participants who didn’t have a friend that they could easily, bring to mind as social support. The perception of the challenge The visual perception of the way they perceived this hill that they were going to need to climb got easier when there was even a social support in mind.
In addition to feeling supported by having friends and family that we can reach out to in times of need, giving social support By helping and volunteering can build competence and confidence that bind us to others and also build our resilience. So both receiving social support and giving social support will build our everyday resilience.
So how do you work on this? What are some practical ways to build social support? Call a friend. Schedule a lunch date. Join a club or a class. Marco Polo a group. Even simple interaction that build those friendships and relationships help those connections feel stronger, so that when you’re experiencing challenges, you feel Like they’re a little bit easier that you’ve got this because you’re not alone.
Physical Health and Fitness
The fourth resilience factor that you can build and work on is your physical health and fitness. What does physical health and fitness look like? Being generally a healthy person, having a reduced Instance of disease, improving your mood or cognition and emotional processing through physical activity and good nutrition.
Intentional physical and mental stress in a controlled environment builds endurance for challenges. When I go to the gym, I am challenged. My body and mind are under stress and I emerge stronger and better because of it. More able to face challenges outside of the gym. Because of the time that I spend in the gym, not only physically building my muscles, but also mentally building my ability to do hard things and building some confidence and some adaptability in the face of challenge.
What is a baseline for physical health and fitness? Sleep? Sleeping a regular amount, eight to nine hours as an adult is a good baseline for sleep. I have a whole podcast about sleep. I probably have a couple. I’ll link them in the show notes. Good nutrition. Again, I have a whole couple shows about eating well and getting good nutrition that fuels your body and builds your capacity for well-being.
At least 30 minutes of moderate activity daily is what’s recommended in terms of fitness and movement. Walking, stretching, biking, going to the gym. I call going to CrossFit my community church. CrossFit Community Church, where I’m with other people, building my social connections, building my strength, building my stamina and endurance mentally, emotionally, and physically.
I love it. If you have a CrossFit gym near you, or if you’re in Richmond, join us at CrossFit Addict on Staples Mill. It’s my favorite thing. How does physical health and fitness help you in times of need? It’s not about the challenge itself. It’s about the recovery from challenge. We talked at the beginning about the stress cycle, being able to move into stress and out of it easily.
When you exercise, you’re building your body’s ability to recover. Not just to do the hard thing, but to return to baseline after you’re done. Sleep builds coping and judgment. When I was in nursing school, I remember learning that if you got less than 8 hours of sleep a night, it was as if you were operating the next day with a blood alcohol level that would be considered a DUI.
I haven’t fact checked that, But I know I had a professor that every exam that we took one of the questions would be did you get eight hours of Sleep last night and we had to answer yes or no. Of course, it was honor system She didn’t watch us sleep, but you got points on the exam for having prioritized your sleep in a busy time of life Nursing school is really busy.
We were all working and doing clinicals and she said I know that you’re busy and Sleeping is really important. Taking care of your physical body enables you to exercise adaptability and flexibility in times of even emotional and cognitive and psychological challenge. So how do you build physical health and fitness?
As if it were that easy, right? To answer in two minutes. What I wrote on my notes is to let go of the list and go to bed. Don’t think that you can get it all done today. Allow yourself to go to bed, to tuck yourself in. Do exercise that you enjoy. Another favorite study that I love about motivation for fitness found that people were more motivated to exercise when they enjoyed themselves during the exercise.
It wasn’t all about how they felt after. I know sometimes people talk about, the runner’s high that you get after you finish or whatever. This author said, Exercise in a way that you enjoy it during the process whether that’s a Zumba class or rock climbing or going on a hike with a friend or actively gardening.
But do exercise that you enjoy during the exercise itself and you’ll find you’re more likely to do it. Again, I will link in the show notes all the specific episodes that I have about fitness and sleep and nutrition if you could use a refresher on some of those basics.
Cognitive and Emotional Flexibility
Finally, the last resilience factor that I want to touch on today is cognitive and emotional flexibility. This looks like accepting reality and adjusting our coping mechanisms to what will work best in the situation that we find ourselves in, even if we don’t like it. Cognitive and emotional flexibility looks like nuance. The ability to think outside of black and white and find somewhere along the spectrum.
Almost every situation has a gray area has somewhere in the middle, and I found myself even today talking to my husband about a parenting issue that we’re navigating right now, and I kept coming up with this or that, and Dave reminded me, I think that there’s something in the middle that we’re not, that we haven’t gotten to yet, but it’s probably not going to be this or that, it’s probably going to be a little bit of both, and having the flexibility and the judgment to understand what will work best given the situation.
How does cognitive and emotional flexibility help in times of challenge and stress? It promotes acceptance and active problem solving. Cognitive reappraisal is what it’s called when you’re able to reframe an event as beneficial by asking the question, how else could I think about this? Often when we’re experiencing a challenge or a struggle in our daily lives, we’re pretty set in thinking or feeling about it in a certain way.
So just being able to ask the question, how else could I think about this? What’s another perspective that I could use to consider this issue? Can build some of that flexibility and allow us to then bend back into shape as we’re You know, creatively, either creatively solving the problem or creatively allowing ourselves to accept what we can’t solve about the problem and still feel okay.
How to build cognitive and emotional flexibility? One of the best ways is through mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice of acceptance. Of allowing thoughts to come into our mind and non-judgmentally dismissing them again. It’s a practice of quiet and stillness and focus. We can also actively practice describing situations from different perspectives, either with a friend, a family member, or with a counselor or coach, being able to work through, not just, go through life, but go through it with some reflection and some self-awareness.
Understanding that every opportunity that we face a challenge poorly is an opportunity to learn from and feel a little bit better the next time around. Building a mindfulness practice, even just a short 30 seconds of breathing and focus a couple times a week can be an entryway into something important. And either finding a great therapist or hiring a coach to help you work through, actively work through the reflection and reframing of some of the experiences that you’re going through so that you are better capable of experiencing them.
In a more beneficial way, the next time around can also be very valuable, a great way to build resilience.
If I can circle back around to the metaphor I used at the beginning of the show, learning to swim. Building everyday resilience doesn’t happen in the middle of a storm when you’re getting tossed around in the waves.
Building resilience happens on calm days when the water’s flat and the sun is out and it doesn’t feel super important in that moment because everything’s fine. It’s when you have the capacity to practice outside of the stressful storm, outside of the challenge. That you build the strength and adaptability necessary to manage and bend without breaking the next time the challenge hits.
The five resilience factors that I shared today are optimism, spiritual practices, social support, physical health and fitness, and cognitive and emotional flexibility, along with a few simple ways that you can start to build those factors on regular, calm days in your life so that you have the capacity, the skill set, and the adaptability necessary to navigate the challenges and stressors of everyday life.
Sometimes your flexibility and adaptability will allow you to swim hard against a current. You just need to turn over and float and get through it. Either way, knowing that you have the tools, you have the bandwidth because you’ve built it with intention, will make life a little bit easier, even when it’s challenging.
Thank you so much for tuning into today’s episode about everyday resilience. I hope that it’s been helpful for you. Maybe you can think about what strokes are you good at? How’s your swimming right now? Where resonated as I was going through those resilience factors? What things resonated as something that you are already good at and have a good practice of?
And which ones did you think, huh, I could work on, I could add a little bit more of that to my life so that I can face my challenges with even more capacity. If you feel like you could use some help developing some resilience factors and having some accountability and support in that process, check out my coaching services.
I right now I’m offering free exploratory coaching calls. That’s 30 minutes we can get on and chat about whatever feels tough right now or a project that you’re excited about that you need a little bit of clarity in moving forward with.
For those of you who don’t have a big project or a big business idea, but just would like a little bit of help navigating the ups and downs of daily life I can help you with that to head to the show notes and grab a free 30 minute exploratory call to see if my coaching might be a good fit for you.
I’d love to work with you I hope this episode has given you some tools to feel a little bit more practically happy and I’ll chat with you again next time Bye. Bye