Lessons for Living
How quickly do you bounce back?
resiliency is the ability of a material to quickly return to its original form after being
bent, stretched, or twisted. Psychological resiliency is a similar concept. It is the
ability of people to return to normal by bouncing back from the ups and downs of life.
Levels of psychological resiliency depend upon three key features.
The first is attitude. Resilient people consistently choose an optimistic outlook on life. An optimistic attitude is one of hopeful expectation for positive results. It is also flexible because a flexibly optimistic viewpoint does not discount the negative events of life, but intentionally and realistically looks for the best outcome in any situation. It is this looking for the best that pulls resilient people through hard times and puts them back into shape.
The second element of resiliency is knowing how to manage stress. Life is naturally stressful and resilient people know how to take purposeful action to control it. They avoid whatever stress they can by saying "no" and setting limits, but they also practice unwinding from stress. Such unwinding may be through physical exercise, as with a daily workshop at the gym, or it might involve the practice meditation, tai chi, or yoga. Unwinding from everyday stress can be as simple as taking a slow, mindful walk through the neighborhood.
The third characteristic of resilient people is that they enjoy life by making the intentional choice to participate in it. Resilient people accept the fact that on some days you don't "feel" like going to work, cleaning the house, or attending a party. However, they also know that it is important to do these things whether or not you feel like it.
Each day should provide a sense of accomplishment and joy. This means that it is important to both have fun and to get something done. The accomplishments and joys do not have to be sensational and may be as basic as making the bed and petting your dog. It is primarily the appreciation of such simple joys and accomplishments that keeps life in balance. Resilient people know this so they intentionally engage in the daily practice of enjoyment.
If you want to be more a resilient person, try these three steps. Choose an optimistic attitude, learn to manage your stress, and then have some fun on purpose.
©2002 Daniel H. Johnston. All Rights Reserved.
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