Life sometimes throws us curve balls and challenges doesn’t it? None of us get away scott free, but some of us seem to manage those curve balls and challenges better. For some it’s like water off a duck's back!
I was reminded of this recently because I had some issues with my book publication. It was released by mistake without any pre-launch or promotion that I had planned. Now for those who aren’t in to marketing or business, this really is a disaster! Especially as I had put so much of my heart and soul for two years in to writing this book and then preparing for its release only for it to silently be released without me even knowing!
I was gutted, and with so many other things going on I started to really feel like I was cracking under the pressure of how I was going to salvage the mess. I started to think and feel that I just couldn’t do it all, I just couldn’t cope with this situation!
So I practiced what I preach and reflected on the big difference between those who crumble and those who seemingly flow through such challenges as this unscathed, unstressed and undeterred from continuing to move forward, progress and still enjoy their lives. I have children I can’t sit there sobbing rocking back and forth, I have to keep moving, and keeping taking care of them...
So my conclusion was resilience! That’s the secret.
So what’s resilience? Resilience is the ability to bounce back after you’ve experienced a challenge.
If you think of a branch Blowing in the Wind That branch can often be blown around all over the place, you know with high 70 mile per hour winds and it remains flexible bending as the wind blows in whichever way whichever direction, it just goes with the wind. It goes with the flow. And it stays intact most of the time.
Resilience is something I've taught a lot throughout my career in mental health services as I've helped people manage anxiety, depression and trauma, and as I've taught parents to manage, or to teach their children how to become more resilient.
Because at the end of the day we can't stop the wind from blowing, that's all we can do is learn how to flex and flow, not offering any resistance to the wind. Or as Jon Kabat-Zinn would like to say you can't stop the waves but you can learn how to surf.
4 Ways to increase resilience
So with this in mind, let’s start with number 1!
Incorporating a mindfulness practice into your life doesn’t only change your psychology and how you see things clearly with with full awareness but it creates new neural pathways in the brain which literally helps your brain become more emotionally resilient. This is particularly good if you’ve experienced experienced trauma, the trauma has embedded patterns of behaviour in your brain. So a traumatised brain can often be less resilient than a person's brain who hasn’t experienced trauma. Their capacity to bend in the wind and be flexible like a supple branch isn’t as robust. This is often what high levels of anxiety, depression and explosive fluctuating moods are symptoms of.
You can start practicing mindful awareness by becoming awake to the present moment, i have meditations on aimeeleighsmith.com that can help you start to learn how to do this.
2) Surrender and Trust
It’s not just incorporating a mindfulness practice that will help learn to go with the flow and build stronger resilience. Learning how to surrender and trust in something bigger than yourself is key to being able to let go and stop fighting. It’s the fight against the fear that causes you to break from exhaustion, and this comes from two things, one is the belief you have control, that somehow everything you do is in your total control, but in many ways it’s not. They only thing I believe we’re in control of is our minds and choices to surrender to a higher power (i call this God, you can call it Universe, mother nature, whatever!), and trust that we’re always guided and supported for our own good, and the good of all beings. When you trust in this, surrendering is liberation from the striving of the struggle and the total exhaustion that comes with that. When you can throw your hands up and say God gives us what we need and not what we think we want, and truly feel that in your heart, then you feel peace in the situation. It doesn’t cause you to experience the anxiety, impatience, frustration and anger that can come from pushing, striving and fighting against the challenge.
3) Choose to be solution focused
Often in times of challenge it’s easy to focus on being a victim of the situation and wonder why this is happening to you. So another way to build resilience is to always be solutions focused not problem focused. So instead of thinking and saying why is this happening to me, think/say what can I learn from this, what is this teaching me. What have I done to unconsciously contribute to this? How can I make this work for me and not against me.
There’s always lessons to be learned from suffering and challenges, but to see them you need to be willing to see things differently and with honesty.
4) Self Compassion
Practice self-compassion, connect to your heart and your True Self. Remember that the only thing that’s real is Divine love and that sits right in the center of your heart chakra. Often struggle, suffering and challenges come from our ego minds, self- compassion is the final nail in the coffin for the ego, it can’t fight against it because there’s nothing to fight against. With no fight, there’s only surrender and peace. Know that you are loved, love yourself, practice self-compassion and don’t beat yourself up during times of challenge. This was huge for me with my book challenge. I beat myself up about not being more vigilant with the publisher, or feeling like a total loser and failure for allowing this to happen. I even started experiencing feelings of anger towards another whose book was being released at the same time and her promotion was on point and doing great things. I had to dig deep and forgive myself through the practice of self-compassion for feeling this way, and then my anger and frustration not only stopped towards myself, I stopped resenting this other person for their success which in turn only fuelled my self hatred and feelings of just not being anywhere near good enough to do this work. Practicing this self-compassion and forgiveness of myself and my feelings towards myself around this really helped me apply all of the above.
In the end I was able to just let it go and enjoy the experience of my book being published for the first time. I reflected on everything i had to learn, emotionally and business wise, to ensure I wouldn’t repeat my mistakes of course, but in the end, i just let it go and celebrated me, which was a far better way to feel.
As this weeks freebie I’ve included a copy of my resilience prayer. I wrote it from my heart as I was channeling the Magdalene during my reflection time to get past the anger of my book challenge :) I hope you like it and it brings you the same peace it brought me.
You can access it here.
‘Each experience in your life was absolutely necessary in order to have gotten you to the next place, and the next place, up to this very moment.’
I hope this post and tips have resonated and helped you in some way! Remember, you’re amazing, you weren’t born to be miserable and yes! You Can Have It All, because you’re happiness will change the world. xx
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