Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Whether you're a president, a parent, or aspiring professional you probably have days when it feels like a bag of bricks is resting on your back.  Getting out of bed in the morning becomes a monumental chore and  getting through the routine demands of the day seem overwhelming.  We know what sets us back - a poor performance, negative feedback, something or someone that lets us down.  But what get's us back on our feet, and feeling capbable, competent, and charged once more?  Resilience. 

It's magical stuff and yet there is now evidence that like a muscle we can flex it, feed it, and help it grow.  Here's how:

Go for a Walk:  This is my mother's recipe and it works.  Getting outside and moving is the simplest and healthiest way to feed yourself.  A trip around the block is all it takes. Spending time in the garden has the same effect.

Put something in order:  Check your watch and give yourself a 20 minute assignment to tidy up some area of your life that's in disarray... Pick a closet, or a room, or a corner of your yard and promise yourself to stick with it for 20 minutes.  It's amazing how quickly you feel resilience back swimming through your veins

Help someone else:   When we feel low the world closes in.  Pain tends to focus our attention, clearly, and specifically, which narrows our world down to that small circle of pain.  This forces us to pay attention, but when the pain is psychic we are better served by getting out of ourselves and refocusing on the world around us.  Find someone you can help.  Call a friend in need, sign up to volunteer, write a check.

Waste time:  Jane McGonigal, inventor of the game SuperBetter explains that to create emotional resilience we need to introduce the positive emotion of winning, and we can do this with video games.   Oddly enough our hearts aren't overly concerned whether we do that by curing cancer or hurling birds into pigs or killing zombies.  So if you're feeling too low to even get moving try a round of Angry Birds and see if it doesn't give you the juice to get up off the couch. Then try one of the above.

And here's the best part.   You will not only feel better, but you will have flexed your resilience muscle, making it stronger and quicker to respond the next time you need it.  Realizing that you can exercise this muscle and improve your resilience over time puts you in the driver's seat and means that over time you can tackle more of the worlds problems knowing there will be setbacks but that you're up to the challenge.

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