Resilience allows us to “bend” and adapt in new or stressful situations, to adjust to difficulties, and to perceive that life can be good.
Resilience cannot shield us from stress, loss, grief, or hardship. But it can strengthen our ability to deal with life’s challenges and reinforce our capacity to recover.
Practicing resilience is not avoiding stress or adversity, but learning how to respond positively and move forward. Habits of mind, body, and spirit can promote resilience. We can invest in our own health by learning and utilizing resilience-building thoughts, behaviors, and actions. When we practice, we can change our minds—literally rewire our brains and shift our neurochemistry—and in so doing, change our lives.
In his Harvard Grant Study “Aging Well,” George E. Vaillant found that individual choices in how we live our lives play a greater role in promoting resilience than genetics, wealth, race, or other factors. Practicing gratitude is one of those choices that has lasting benefits. Try one of the following each day for a week and make an investment in your resilience.
- Start a gratitude journal: Record at least one thing you are grateful for every day for a month. You’ll find that this can help change your outlook and increase your appreciation for different pieces of your life.
- Write a letter of gratitude: Send a note to someone who adds meaning, happiness, and value to your life. Your letter of appreciation can strengthen your bond with the recipient and shine light on all the people who help support you.
- Volunteer: Volunteering and helping those in need allow us to realize how much we have, practice appreciation and gratefulness, and practice the act of giving
Stacking the Odds for Wellness
Your Guide to Building Resilience
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