Thoughts on Resilience

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

Lena Horne

Healthy Mindset – Day 11

I’m an over-thinker.

Are you? Do you also absorb information deeply and feel things deeply? Does it sometimes cause you to dwell on the worst possible outcomes? During times like this, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had our moments where we have gone deep to absorb the enormity of what is happening. It’s still mind boggling to think about how fast things have changed. It’s scary and heartbreaking to see the impact of the virus close to home and around the world and sometimes you may just want to sit with those thoughts and feelings for awhile. I’ve sought out complete silence many times over the last few weeks (with the windows open, when it’s warm enough, to listen to the birds).

Are you also doing things that make you feel good like getting some exercise, eating well, and staying in contact with family and friends? Are you seeking out things that make you smile and laugh, bring you joy, and allow you to express yourself or help someone else? If yes, in the big scheme of things, you probably feel okay, good, even, despite all the uncertainty around us. That means you have strong resilience. You know how to balance your emotions and stay calm in the midst of what’s happening.

Being aware that I’m an over-thinker is the first step towards having a healthy mindset and becoming resilient. The second is that I know what the signs are when I’m over-thinking and how to set myself towards a better state of mind. Last week, in particular, there was an instance where I’d just read a few too many stories on my news app and was thinking about the implications to our way of life which was then making me feel anxious. I was taking shallow breaths, holding tension in my neck and shoulders, and beginning to feel a pit in my stomach. I know taking some deep breaths will help, so I took three. I’d also planned to go for a walk around that time, and even though I didn’t feel like it, I knew it would make me feel better. And it did, and continues to. I look for hearts in windows, I look for sidewalk chalk art, I look for graffiti art on the sides of buildings and use my phone to take pictures of what I find interesting. Focussing on something else helps me appreciate the positivity and beauty around me. Plus nothing beats the feeling of fresh air in the Spring after a long, cold winter. I still want to read news stories about what’s happening, but now I make a point of doing so before I go for a walk because I know I’ll be able to work out my stress and that “heavy” feeling. Knowing what makes me feel stressed and having a plan to alleviate it contributes to my resilience.

Each day I set my mind towards having a healthy frame of mind which is way I’m keeping track of what day it is. It doesn’t mean being “positive” all the time, that would be disingenuous given what we are experiencing. It means I’m going to look for ways to find balance. Because that’s what I’m looking for, more often than not, I achieve that balance at some point each day.

Today’s writing questions are: What are the qualities of a resilient person? Do you think of yourself as having those qualities? Why or why not? What other difficult times have you gone through? What did you learn from those situations that are helping you get through this now or could help you get through this? 10 years from now, how would you like tell the story of what this period of time was like for you and your loved ones?

(The pic is of the Lizard Range Mountains from the deck of Island Lake Lodge at Fernie, British Columbia, September 2019).

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