Sunday, November 03, 2019

Weekly Inspiration: Resilience

Plenty of research has shown the importance of resilience in health and happiness. Resilient people have more joy in their lives, can better bounce back from challenges, and deal with daily stress better. Those of us living with chronic illness certainly need plenty of resiliency, to deal with both day-to-day symptoms and stresses, as well as unexpected relapses and other crises. But, how do you become more resilient?

Dr. Raphael Rose, a clinical psychologist, talks about resiliency in this TED Talk, How Failure Cultivates Resiliency:

He describes several different ways to increase resiliency, all of which are relevant for (and adaptable to) those with chronic illness:

Seek Out New Experiences
True, many of us are now quite limited by our illnesses. Perhaps you can no longer learn to dance, start playing a new sport, or travel to other countries. But, there are still plenty of ways for us to seek out new experiences. One way is to meet new people, whether online or in-person. This has been one of the silver linings of chronic illness for me, meeting so many amazing people, both in my town and from all over the globe. This blog post on Finding Community links to an article I wrote for ProHealth with specific tips on how to find others like yourself (online and in-real-life), as well as links to some of the places where I hang out online with others dealing with chronic illness. There are lots of other ways to seek out new experiences, too: learning a new skill like knitting or programming, starting a new hobby like video games or crafting, or even starting a business from home.

Pursue Meaning
Dr. Rose also talks about the importance of seeking meaning and how it can be an immediate salve to stress. That's what this weekly inspiration post is all about! Read inspiring books, watch TED Talks and other inspirational speakers online, and listen to podcasts on meaningful topics. You can also look back at past Weekly Inspiration posts here for more ideas and inspiration. You can find more inspiring blog posts on the Chronic Illness Bloggers Facebook page.

Slow and Gradual Behavior Change
Dr. Rose discusses how failure and stress can provide the impetus for change, but that small, gradual changes are far more effective. I wrote about the same thing, specific to those with chronic illness, in my article for ProHealth on Strategies and Tools for Changing Habits.

Be Compassionate with Yourself
Finally, in this talk Dr. Rose emphasizes the importance of treating yourself with compassion, something that many of us probably struggle with the most. When you live with restrictions and are unable to do so much, it is easy to blame yourself and feel like a failure, thus increasing stress. Dr. Rose says that being compassionate with yourself helps to build resilience.

We could all use more resiliency in our lives. Check out Dr. Rose's talk and his tips for being more resilient.

Have you tried any of these approaches yourself? What role does resilience play in your life?

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