When life gives you lemons

Sometimes life with throw you a curve ball.  A set back on reaching your potential, or your goals.  But a slight shift in mindset could be all it takes to find and keep resilience to persevere and bounce back.

In an article in Red magazine the offer four healthy habits for a physiological response to stress for your bond and mind.

Basically, resilience is the ability to pick yourself up and dust yourself off relatively quickly after a trauma, setback or everyday disappointment.  Some people seem to be more resilient than others but its not genetic and not something we are taught.  Resilience is a set of coping mechanisms that develop over time and determined, in part, by how we take care of ourselves, the people we have around us and what we do to find purpose and meaning in our every day lives.

According to the article roughly 40% of our overall happiness is derived from our own actions, and resilience is a part of that. Obviously its one thing to bounce back from broken washing machine, and quite another to try to find happiness again after the loss of a loved one.

The techniques are the same though no matter what you’re dealing with.  Here are the four healthy habits for building resilience:

  1. Rest and recharge – when we sleep our brain sorts and files our thoughts and experiences of the day away, giving you a fresh perspective to allow you to problem solve.  Sleep can bolster your immunity, and its easier to pull yourself together emotionally when you’re not feeling run down or sick. 
  2. Move your body – the recommended daily dose of exercise is 30 minutes a day in order to trigger the feelgood endorphins that quiets negative thinking.  Regular exercise can also help boost your mood and supports the treatment of depression, helping to maintain a positive outlook.
  3. Just breathe – meditation can be a simple as focussing on something for a few minutes, like your breath or a calming word or phrase.  Practicing meditation regularly may shrink the area of the brain associated with emotional processes, reducing stress and anxiety, and can even change electrical activity in the brain, making you more alert and calm.
  4. Eat enough – your body needs sustenance.  When food is scarce your body will divert what energy stores it has to the essential organs, leaving the brain hungry.  The brain needs at least 20% of your calory intake to be able to problem solve effectively.

I don’t have a problem resting and recharging, I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime.  Whether its quality sleep though is a different matter.  I find I’m waking up during the night more often these days, but that’s probably partly to do with the fact I fell asleep at 9pm on the sofa, and partly because I’m a woman of a certain age.

I try to get in a 20-30 minute walk every day if I can.  I don’t always feel better for it but make myself do it anyway if I get the opportunity. 

I’m not a fan of meditation.  I’ve tried it many times in many different forms but my mind has too much going on in it and I can never settle.  And when I do start to feel myself settle, I start thinking of all the things I should be doing instead. 

Eating enough has never been an issue.  But its about getting better at what I eat, not how much or how often.  Last year I started to introduce some fruit into my diet, being a life-long fruit hater.  I now regularly have grapefruit and blueberries with my breakfast.  I often have an apple at lunchtime, and when softer fruits are in season I’ll have strawberries, raspberries and some others too.  But I do still like cake, biscuits, bacon sandwiches and all the naughty stuff too.  So if I’ve eaten a lot and my brain needs 20% of those calories, no wonder I can sometimes be a fat head!


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