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Cultivate Resilience With These Simple Ingredients

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Have you ever wondered where your resiliency comes from? Do you get a certain amount of it when you’re born, and when you run out, it’s game over? Or, is resiliency something that you can build and nurture?

You probably know people who get knocked down and get back up again and again with seemingly no effort. You might wonder: how do they do it? But then, maybe you cross paths with them later in life, and they don’t have any more “get up and go” left. What’s happened? Have they run out of resiliency? Can they get it back?

I recently spoke with Andrea Marcellus, life coach, fitness expert, and author of self-help book, “The Way In” to explore these questions and discover new ways to keep building that all-important resiliency muscle.

What is resilience?

We all face rejections, betrayals, or disappointments from a young age—whether in our family of origin, in our schools, or in our communities. And we all need ways to help us get back up again. This ability to rebound is resilience.

Resilience gives us buoyancy and elasticity to address stress, pain, or loss in our lives without snapping. Think of a rubber band, and how it snaps back into shape after it’s stretched. This stretchability is a quality of resilience. Except, what doesn’t work about the rubber band metaphor is that resilience does more than help us return to our original shape; Andrea defines resilience as “the capacity to expand.” Perhaps a better metaphor, then, is bread dough, that is stretched and kneaded by our experiences.

Mentorship through adversity

We all have a natural survival instinct, but our level of resiliency has more to do with how we’re raised and the amount of adversity we’ve had to face. In other words, our upbringing and our life experiences are an important key to how much resiliency we have than our DNA.

The key question, Andrea says, is did you learn to help yourself through positive mentorship following adversity?

In this case, one or more of these statements is probably true:

  • You were given space and time to feel your emotions and express your disappointments.
  • You were taught how to address and move through the emotions of the disappointment
  • You learned to see life in a larger perspective, with all its peaks and valleys.
  • You learned to reframe failures without resorting to defensive stances such as “They didn’t deserve me anyway” or downplaying them by saying, “I didn’t really care that much.” 

If the answer is no, then perhaps one or more of these things is true:

  • You were raised to “suck it up” or “push through”, getting into a habit of getting by on willpower.
  • You heard that life is a battlefield filled with winners and losers, so you became adversarial, and all the language around your efforts was about “the fight.”
  • You heard that the person who strikes first wins, so you learn to address problems with knee-jerk, reflexive words or actions.
  • You grew up to believe that suffering in silence is a virtue, while talking about your struggles is complaining or whining. 

No matter our upbringings, however, we can all strengthen our resilience muscle. Below are three ingredients Andrea recommends for creating an environment in which resilience can grow.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ― Thomas Edison

Strong purpose

What is your “why” in life? It is your birthright to live a life that excites and motivates you. But it’s easy to get stuck in malaise, get sidetracked by egoic ambitions, or lose the plot on what you really love and care about.

According to Andrea, you need to find “focus and purpose and a constant journey that’s above and beyond your occupation. Because when your mind is activated by purpose, it is forward-thinking and full of positive possibilities. It’s creative, it’s curious, and it’s non-judgmental.”

So, having a strong purpose in life is directly correlated to our ability to be resilient. Maybe we should update the phrase, “When you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life” to “When you love what you do, you build resilience for life.”

Train your brain

Despite what you may think about our brains deteriorating as we get older, recent studies show that the opposite is true. Andrea says that our positive brain centers: the hippocampus, the cerebellum, and the prefrontal cortex—can be trained, just as the body can, so that you have the ability to pull yourself out of any downward spiral.

Tara Swart, Neuroscientist, MD, Executive Advisor, Author of “The Source,” offers up these ideas to help support our brains in their ability to be more resilient:

“Start with the physical foundations: Rest your brain with 7-9 hours sleep per night. Hydrate your neurons with half a liter of water for every 30lb of body weight. Oxygenate your brain by walking 5000-10,000 steps per day and doing 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Meditate for 20 minutes a day. Take the supplements that suit your needs. Eat as much oily fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, avocado, olives, and coconut oil as you can. Drink four cups of green tea per week.”

Community

Life is too hard to go it alone. We need others who we can trust to share our journeys with, and who can help us process, reframe, learn, and grow from each experience. 

A few tips:

  • Make sure that you’re surrounded by people who won’t try to minimize or always expect you to see “the bright side,” and who support you in the ways you need to be supported.
  • Create a circle of allyship in which no one feels pressured to put a happy face following a disappointment or hardship but are instead held in support while they process and regain their footing.
  • Consider modeling yourself after someone who is resilient. Pay attention to how they navigate their lives and disappointments. Note that they are not driven by pride, arrogance, boastfulness, or bluster. Instead, they carry an unbreakable sense of personal authority and inner resourcefulness.

Creating a supportive community can become pseudo-resilience for when you need to take a moment before you can tap into your own, or, as is often said, the “strength of others give us strength.”

Conclusion

No one escapes this life without experiencing setbacks and hardships. It’s healthy to feel your feelings and communicate these with others in the aftermath of a loss or failure. We all need to occasionally take a time-out to get our balance and find that focus again. Having a strong purpose, training your brain, and building a community of supportive people are three of the things you can do to make sure that you rebound in a healthy way.

Keri Mangis is an author and freelance writer/speaker. Her work has appeared in Elephant Journal, Addicted2Success, The Good Men Project, Mindful Word, Thought Catalog, The Edge Magazine, Essential Wellness, and others. She writes about culture/society, spirituality, personal growth, transformation, and empowerment. She is the award-winning author of Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness. Learn more about Keri’s journey here.

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Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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Life

5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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Life

3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Courage and Create a Life of Meaning

we cultivate meaning in our lives when we pursue our calling

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Our deepest human desire is to cultivate meaning in our lives. Our deepest human need is to survive. (more…)

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Life

Grit: The Key to Your Ultimate Greatness

Grit is an overlooked aspect of success, but it plays a critical role.

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A grit mindset is an essential key to your greatness. It’s what separates those who achieve their goals from those who give up and never reach their potential. It’s also the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery. If you want to be great and achieve your dreams, then you need grit. Luckily, it’s something that can be learned. Please keep reading to learn more about grit and discover four ways to develop it. (more…)

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