Bounce back from life’s upsets – Enhance Your Resilience

Enhancing your resilience is important because adversity happens. Even though I’ve taken the est (Erhard Seminar Training), TM (Transcendental Meditation) training, Vipassana Training, walked on fire, meditate daily, set intentions, tried personally and trained professionally in almost every form of psychotherapy therapy available; I haven’t found anything to stop life from having its terrific and terrible way with me.

What I have discovered is that learning to bounce back from misery is the secret to moving gracefully through the inevitable slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Although genetic studies indicate our ability to recover is influenced partly by genes, what we do with our genetic inheritance makes all the difference. After a lifetime of healing heartbreak – my own and others, I’d like to share some ways I’ve found that help restore faith in ourselves and optimism about life.

First of all, it’s important to step back from blaming yourself. While it is all too human to ruminate about what must be wrong with you to have such a terrible thing happen, it is essential to shift your awareness from these kinds of thoughts, to the fact that you are hurting – now – and that you need support.

This is the second thing — seek support! When you’re wounded you need others. Our human programming leads us instinctively to reach out to others during crises. Set ego pride aside and find empathetic ears, sturdy shoulders, helping hands. It is more than okay to be comforted – it is essential for recovery.

Once you are connected and safe, the next thing is to feel what you’re feeling. Shift awareness to your body to sense what’s been triggered. If you’re frozen, you may need professional help to thaw out and feel the emotion flowing beneath any numbness. Whenever you’re ready, take a few minutes for tears and trembling. Drop to the floor to feel the flatness of despair. This feels horrible, I know. However, I also know that as an embodied experience it is temporary. Conversely, you may need to (responsibly and safely) stomp around, pound pillows and shout. In any case, notice how quickly emotion moves through you, completes its natural cycle and leaves your body peaceful and/or

Finally, and this is the really tricky part, stay out of your head. Whatever happened is surely a terrible story (At least it always is for me). There will be plenty of time later to figure out the learning. For now, it’s crucial to look carefully and continually for the smallest signs of renewal…an unexpected laugh, a friendly connection, a brief blip of buoyancy. You’ll likely be surprised to see this happens sooner and more often than you imagined possible. Like seeds in eternal springtime, resilience is always there—growing steady and sure—poking new shoots through the crust of any desolation and gently, lovingly inviting you back to life.

Penelope Young Andrade
April Newsletter 2012

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