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Building Resilience

In Times of Resistance

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. In strength training, when you cause the muscles to contract against an external resistance you increase the expectation of strength, tone and resilience in the muscles targeted.

You don't have to step foot in a gym to feel the weight of the world. We've all experienced a time where life feels heavy. From the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship or loss of joy during times of change.

In my Journey to Health, I shared my experience with depression as a freshman in college. A short time later, I was falling back into thick blankets of sadness when my stepdad passed two years following his cancer diagnosis. He brought so much joy and light in the home and it felt so dim without him.

As I have mentioned in my three part series on depression (read more here), I used the help of healers, therapists, prayer, friends and a lot of self-love and care. I crawled out of my sadness by choosing to go for that run or hike with friends. I went back to school for nutrition to follow my love for wellness and build the business I spent years dreaming about. Loving what I do and working with people I have a great respect for has helped me find purpose after spending years chasing a paycheck for work I was not passionate about. Between going back to school and building Radiate with Kate, I also spent time educating myself on healthy healing. See when I experienced depression as a freshman in college, I went to a doctor who prescribed sleeping medications, antidepressants and lots of refills. I paused and reevaluated how I wanted my life to look like and feel like. I educated myself on self-growth and plopped down in bookstores, workshops and lectures to better myself and more importantly heal my future self. I enrolled in a positive psychology course at Stanford which introduced me to different forms of visualization and meditation. The assignments were personal questions and journaling which re-ignited a spark to write. I so badly wanted to stay well in a time of great sadness and so I stayed on top of my healing process even when I felt "okay".

Like an athlete preparing for their biggest game or event, it's what you do in training and how you care for your mind and body on rest days that shows up when it counts.

How are you caring for your mind and soul?

Another shift I made was my perspective. I stopped seeing all that I lost and began to fixate on all that I have. Since losing my stepdad six years ago, I spend three minutes each day expressing what I'm grateful for. When I started doing this in 2011, it only took thirty seconds. Today, I wake up and give thanks on my way to my first client and after my nightly prayer. When I'm super tired, I skip my prayer and just give thanks for all that I cherish that day. But I do it. EVERYDAY. And when it comes to friendships and loved ones, instead of keeping the gratitude to myself, I tell them how thankful I am. It's a habit I will continue for as long as I live. An "attitude of gratitude" as Oprah calls it.

Another thoughtful exercise is to ask yourself, if this experience were to last forever, what qualities would you need to thrive? I sat down and wrote my own personal manifesto. A manifesto is a written statement declaring your intentions and motives. I've shared mine below. While I wrote this three years ago, it still resonates deeply today:

The life I want most for myself is a life with purpose. To serve others for pure intentions, to leave this world knowing what happiness, joy and love really feel like. I would like to live a life that's simple and full. I want to be proud of the work I do. Humble. Kind. Real. A good and beautiful life that involves community, friends, family and freedom of judgment. I will not live in my past fears, regrets or heartaches. I will give faith and praise to you, Lord. I will improve my discipline and keep my body, mind, heart and thoughts free of distractions and negativity. I will reach out for help and be okay with vulnerability. I will not pretend to be fine or perfect. To live a good and beautiful life will require more discipline, more action, a kinder heart and trust in Your direction. I will need to stay close to friends with the same values and let go of those I can't grow with. I will need to set higher standards with the love I give and receive. I will trust in You.

 

When you pause and take a moment to look at your life what do you see? When you visualize what you want a year from now what changes are needed today to get there? In five years? Go from there.

Our written statements are powerful. You are telling the Universe what it is you want from life and you are making a bold statement for what you want and what you stand for (and don't stand for). Write it down and keep it close by. I have my manifesto framed near my bed so I can see it daily. You can always add to your manifesto. It is not just another journal entry or empty prayer. You manifest how you feel and how you live each day. Keep striving for a life you love.

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