What is Resilience?
For many anxiety sufferers, a lack of resilience can be an issue. The dictionary defines resilience as, “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”
This means that when faced with life’s challenges or stressors, a person with resilience is able to rebound more quickly from difficult situations that arise, whereas a person with less developed resilience will often suffer for longer.
So what does resilience look and feel like? Why do you need it for anxiety relief? How do you cultivate resilience for yourself to help alleviate your anxiety?
How Your Nervous System affects Resilience for Anxiety Relief
It’s important to understand how your nervous system affects your resilience and your anxiety.
When you suffer from anxiety, even the slightest of stressors can put you into a tailspin. The simplest things like someone cutting you off in traffic or spilling the morning’s coffee on the kitchen counter can completely throw off your entire day.
Anxiety sufferers have an overactive sympathetic nervous system (which, if you recall from previous posts, is your “fight-or-flight” nervous system). This branch of our autonomic nervous system was adapted to respond to life-threatening situations: stressors like running from danger or fighting off predators to ensure we survive.
In our current society, most people are sympathetically dominant. This means the fight-or-flight system is firing a majority of the time, which is NOT what nature intended for us.
We’re supposed to have a dominant parasympathetic nervous system (also known as the “rest-and-digest” nervous system). The parasympathetic nervous system is meant to be active for about 23 hours of the day, leaving only an hour or less for the less-likely situations which involve a direct threat to our safety or survival.
This is why even the smallest of stressors can feel like we’re about to fight or run from a predator! Our fight-of-flight response is on a hairline trigger, and often it’s running the show.
So how does this relate to you, your anxiety, and resilience?
When you’ve developed resilience, you are parasympathetically dominant. For a majority of the day, you’re in the beautiful “rest & digest” mode. This allows you to stop REACTING to stressors and instead allows you to RESPOND to them.
When it’s really well activated, you can even learn to ANTICIPATE stressors and how you’ll react to them!
But in order to cultivate resilience the parasympathetic nervous system should be back online a majority of the time. Resiliance is our capacity to recover quickly and bounce back from difficult situations, and that is born in the ‘rest & digest’ space.
Now hopefully you’re wondering: how do I do that? How do I strengthen my resilience? Let’s explore some options!
Getting more nutrients can improve your resilience and anxiety relief.
If you’re here, you probably already know I’m a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist. It’s probably not surprising that I’m going to start with nutrition.
If you’ve read my previous posts (like How Diet Contributes to Fatigue and Anxiety), you probably recall that a lack of nutrients in the body contributes to anxiety. (If you haven’t read that one yet, I highly recommend checking it out!)
There are essential nutrients the body requires on a daily basis. When we deliver those nutrients to the body, life is good, and we feel happy and healthy. When we don’t get the nutrients we need via our diet and supplementation, the result is symptoms like fatigue, inflammation, crappy moods, and you guessed it, a lack of resilience!
The lack of essential nutrients in the body can influence the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system to be more active. Properly nourishing your mind and body with nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory foods, on the other hand, helps feed your parasympathetic nervous system, thereby keeping rest-and-digest mode strong enough to be active a majority of the time.
That’s why if you want to strengthen your resilience, the first thing you ABSOLUTELY need to do is upgrade your diet!
Making sure you get all the essential nutrients is critical for your success. If you want to be mentally, emotionally and physically stronger, tougher and recover more quickly from difficulties in life, these nutrients are the required foundation.
How do you find more nutrients to cultivate resilience? Start with my simple steps to alleviate anxiety with your diet. Once you’ve got those down, pick a spot on my calendar to see which workshop or program will be best for you to take your progress to the next level.
But if you’re just getting started, keep reading! I’ve got more tips and tricks below to help you cultivate your resilience for anxiety relief!
Lifestyle changes can improve your resilience for anxiety relief.
When is the last time you moved your body? How about the last time you meditated?
I make sure to talk with my clients about lifestyle changes just as much as dietary changes. Why? Because holistic health is about finding complementary therapies that work together to treat and support you as a WHOLE person.
If you only focus on your nutrition and do nothing else, you will see some improvements. But if you really want to take your anxiety relief to the next level, it’s important to incorporate some lifestyle changes to maximize your results!
One of the first things I always recommend to clients is moving the body. Your body was designed to move, and there are so many benefits you receive from keeping it in motion.
- Increased strength and stamina,
- Release of feel good endorphins,
- Improved cardiovascular health,
- Improved hormonal health,
- and much more!
But a huge benefit of movement is that it can help to release stress and alleviate anxiety.
I’m NOT recommending everyone go out and start running 10 miles everyday. In fact, too much exercise, especially too quickly, can do more harm than good. However, meeting your body where it is at and working with a professional like myself or someone you trust to help determine some good outlets for moving your body can make a giant difference.
Maybe for you it’s yoga, going for a walk, or swimming. For others, maybe it’s running, hiking, or biking. I can’t say exactly what is best for you here, but I can tell you that getting in any of the movement your body needs will be an exceptional lifestyle upgrade to help you increase your strength, stamina, toughness, and, of course, your resilience.
My next tip? Incorporate some meditation into your DAILY routine.
Even if it’s 2-5 minutes a day, you’re going to receive some massive benefits! Meditation helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This can shift you from the fight-or-flight state to a parasympathetically dominant rest-and-digest state. (Remember, this is the state you need active a majority of the time to increase your resilience!)
Meditation can be as easy as focusing on your breath for 5 inhale/exhale cycles. You can do this by counting. (Count in for 3 seconds, hold for 1 second; exhale for 3 seconds, hold for 1 second.) The best part? You can do this just about anywhere, anytime!
Starting this as a daily practice, and slowly increasing the amount of time and breath counts can be an incredible way to reset your nervous system in the moment and increase your resilience!
Your Mindset Can Improve Resilience and Alleviate Anxiety
Now you know that more nutrients and healthy lifestyle changes can build your resilience and help alleviate your anxiety. Are you ready for the final resilience tip? It’s Improving Your Mindset.
Most people are addicted to complaining and focusing on all the struggles and stressors in their life. This is NOT going to help you if you’re working on building resilience! But your mind is a beautiful, powerful tool you can use to your advantage if you choose to do so.
Note the word CHOOSE in that previous sentence. I chose that word purposefully.
Because the first way to shift your mindset to improve your resilience is to make a conscious CHOICE that you want to focus on the positive, the good, and the blessings in your life.
When we’re used to getting stuck on what’s wrong, what’s not going how we’d like, or what we wish was different, the brain strengthens our ability to recognize those things. Fortunately, we can literally rewire our brains to focus on the good and the positive, but we must train it to do so!
One powerful way to achieve this is to start a “What’s Good Journal.”
Each day, in my What’s Good Journal, I write down 4 things that were good about the day. It doesn’t matter how small or big these things are — just make sure they’re positive! By doing this every day, consistently, you can literally change the neurosynaptic pathways in your brain so that they fire on all the positive good things instead of the bad.
(If you want to learn more about the Power of “What’s Good” you can read about that here.)
Whether it’s a What’s Good Journal, a daily gratitude practice, or some regular affirmations, it’s vital to do some work on shifting your mindset if you want to cultivate resilience and alleviate your anxiety.
Resilience is your game changer for anxiety relief.
If you’re finding that you’re one of the people that suffers from anxiety daily, devoting some time and energy to strengthen your resilience is an absolute must to find relief.
You can start this journey by simply being more mindful of what you’re eating, what you’re allowing into your life, and what you’re mind is focusing on. This simple first step helps develop your awareness of where you are today, and it can be a complete game changer!
The next time a stressor arrives, try to take a moment to step back and measure your body’s response. Are you tense? Short of breath? Feeling warm? Scared? Your fight-or-flight response is active.
Take a few deep breaths. Count them in and out, like I’ve suggested above. Take a step away from the situation if you can. How do you feel? Can you respond to the situation as you’d like to? How quickly can you return to the situation and respond to it in the way that you’d like to?
The biggest game changer is going to be increasing your RESILIENCE. Hopefully, you’ll find some value in the suggestions I’ve provided that you can use RIGHT NOW to work to improve and find anxiety relief.
Resilience for anxiety relief: Next Steps
I recommend you start by picking out one of the things I suggested above, and incorporate it into your life for 21 days to solidify the habit. Once you’ve got that down, move onto the next change while keeping up with your previous one. If you can continue to make these small, sustainable changes over time, you’ll be setting a solid, strong foundation for success.
And remember: I’m always here to help.
I can tell you, for me and many of my clients, incorporating these changes and working with a coach like myself over time has produced magnificent results. Because, let’s be honest, life is going to bring about difficult situations. Stressful events are going to happen, but you have the ability to choose how you want to handle them in the long run.
If you work to cultivate your resilience, you’re going to be able to bounce back more quickly when these stressors arrive. You’ll find the confidence (and method) to respond to them, process them, and then let them go.
This ultimately means you’re going to experience less anxiety, less often.
The very first step of any journey, is making the choice that you deserve better and that you are ready to change your life for the better. Because you are! And I hope in reading this post, you’ve come to see some solutions you can start to implement today to help you believe it.
And remember, when you make the choice to start on a journey to a happier, healthier you, notice how you start to feel as you incorporate these changes. When you start to see improvements, keep up with that momentum and keep moving forward! Use your increased energy and happier moods to propel you to your next success.
When you’re ready to build on the momentum you’ve created, I’m here to help!
Make sure you get on my calendar and let’s discuss which of my workshops or programs might be right for you. With the right Nutrition Coach on your side, you can improve your resilience and alleviate anxiety within a matter of days. Check out my programs and get on my calendar if you’re serious and desire real change!
Because you’re worthy and deserving of so much more.
You’ve got this. I believe in YOU!