The Resilient Woman: Part 2

The resilient woman embodies a tenacious spirit and embraces life in the face of trauma, losses and transitions. She lives a courageous life with a vision of purpose, meaning and fulfillment.

Margaret Moth
Resilient photojournalist Margaret Moth who died of colon cancer

The inspiring and fearless photojournalist, Margaret Moth, who recently succumbed to cancer, embodied the spirit of a resilient woman. Pictured here with her camera, Moth embraced adventure and making a difference in the world.

How does one develop the capacity to become resilient when it does not come naturally? Most of us need to learn certain skills and strategies to develop resiliency.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~Confucius

The 10 Keys to Developing Resiliency

  1. Build relationships and connections with supportive friends and family members. This contributes profoundly to our capacity for resilience.
  2. Engage in activities that give you a sense of purpose and meaning. Having something to focus on outside of yourself enhances your well-being.
  3. Practice mindfulness exercises such as abdominal breathing, meditation, constructive rest or self-hypnosis.
  4. Take care of yourself physically. Eat a clean diet, exercise regularly and get at least seven hours of sleep. It’s difficult to be resilient when basic needs are not being met.
  5. Strengthen your ability to be optimistic by looking for something each day that signals a good outcome. Train your brain to expect positive results.
  6. Keep a gratitude journal so that you can track all the elements of your day for which you can be grateful. It does not have to be anything major. A pleasant walk, a good conversation with a friend, a delicious cup of coffee are all examples of life’s pleasures for which we can be grateful. The gratitude journal helps develop a more positive perspective and greater resilience.
  7. Be proactive. Rather than hoping and praying that things will change, every day take some steps towards initiating that change. Feeling a daily sense of accomplishment helps us to feel more empowered and able to influence the events of our lives.
  8. Maintain perspective. Keep the big picture in mind when things don’t work out according to plan. Resilient people know to expect the unexpected. You just need to remember that setbacks will happen and your job is to keep pushing forward.
  9. Add fun and laughter into your everyday life. If it is difficult to find the humor in the context of certain losses or challenges, then look elsewhere to find some comic relief. Humor helps to deepen our capacity for resilience.
  10. Engage in flow activities. Flow activities are projects or interests that occupy the mind in such a deep way that we lose track of time. Writing, dancing, yoga, gardening, spending time with friends are all great examples of flow activities.

Developing resilience looks like a full time job, yet most of these suggestions can be incorporated throughout the day and need not be time-consuming. Developing resiliency is a way of changing one’s mindset or looking at life from a slightly different lens.

How is your resilience? What are one or two things you can do to boost your ability to roll with the punches?

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2 Responses to The Resilient Woman: Part 2

  1. Hi! I happened to stumble on your blog and I really enjoyed reading
    it. I am researching resilience as I am recovering from the death of my
    twenty month old son and my father. I am writing a memoir about my
    recovery through grief and loss while running the ranch I inherited
    from my dad. I have been working on mediation and deep breathing on my
    own. I am also looking forward to trying new things found on your
    site. I am a licensed clinical counselor, so I have also tried EMDR,
    EFT and other things and I am writing about these things. In dealing
    with grief and loss, what techniques have you found to be the most
    helpful? Thank you very much for this blog.

  2. Dear Lisa,

    I’m so sorry for the devastating loss of your son and father. Needless to say we expect to bury our parents, but not our children, so this is a particularly difficult loss.

    Sounds to me like you are on the right path. The breathing and meditation will certainly help to bring back to the moment and get you back into your skin, in the here and now. I think it would be good for you to talk to trusted friends and family about your grief. Tap into your support network as best as possible. Think about talking to a professional if you feel like your friends and family are not there for you in the way you need right now.

    I don’t think there is any technique that will hurry along the grieving process. You need to allow yourself to feel what you feel and not rush the process.

    Your feelings will come and go and your job is to ride the waves, knowing that the worst moments will eventually subside. In time you will no doubt start to emerge from the deepest pain, but I do suggest you continue to breathe deeply whenever you think of it, meditate ideally twice a day(for 10-20 minutes), talk to people you trust who understand you and perhaps keep a gratitude journal(check out gratitude journal on my website for more info on that.

    Keep me posted about how you are managing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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