The Joy Factor and Resilience - Part 3
So I’m back for the third of a four part blog series on resilience. In the first post I made the connection that joy and resilience or directly linked. That is, when our joy-level is up our resilience is up. So the key to resilience is increasing our joy.
In the second blog post I covered the first two ways you can increase joy. They were: to be with people or connect with people, and to contribute, or give. In this blog post I’m going to cover #3 and #4; they are:
develop mastery in something
be thankful, exercise an attitude of gratitude
#3 - Master something. If you have children you probably see mastery at work all the time. They want to show you what they did when they did something all on their own. I remember my little guys resisting my help and saying, “No! I do it, Mama.” And then how very proud they were when they stacked the blocks, washed their hands, or tied their shoes for the first time “all by myself!” These are the building blocks to independence and self-esteem. But just because we are not kids anymore doesn’t mean we should stop finding ways to build our sense of self. So here’s the deal. Find something you want to get better at. Maybe something you’ve always wanted to learn to do. It could be anything. And I mean anything. Here are some ideas:
Develop a workout routine
Learn to sail, fly, swim, crochet, sculpt.
Memorize historical events in order, scripture, or the Declaration of Independence
Random acts of kindness
Research a topic
There are so many things to learn to do. All you have to do is pick something that interests you and then take steps day by day to get better at it. Steps could include researching a topic, then signing up for a group or buying the materials, and then making a plan of when and where you’re going to actually do the thing you want to get good at doing. Or you might interview someone who has already shown mastery in something. The point of this exercise is the journey. It’s less about actually being amazing at something but more about noticing how it feels when you increase your ability along the way.
#4 - Be thankful. Exercise an Attitude of Gratitude.
There are two dimensions to this suggestion. We can choose to grateful and we can develop an attitude of gratitude. Typically the first leads to the second. Let’s start with choosing gratitude.
This is all about making a point to - on purpose - express your thankfulness. You can be thankful for so many things. One woman I spoke with said she practices this when she grocery shops for her family. On certain trips to the grocery store she makes a point to quietly say “thank you” for everything she puts in her grocery cart. The things we take for granted can be a great place to start. We have so much at our finger tips, the air we breath, cars we drive, the care receive, the friends we have, and the health in our bodies are just a few examples. So try slowing down and noticing the things you have. Then either internally or external express your gratitude for it.
When we practice thankfulness this often leads to a shift in our attitude. It becomes the baseline we start from and the lens through which we see things. As we enter into any given situation (within reason) we naturally see things with gratitude on some level. To develop a positive shift in your attitude it takes commitment to - over and over - choose gratitude. Here is an article that outlines the mental and emotional benefits of gratitude.
So if you want to increase your resilience to difficulty, bounce back after setback, or just plain handle tragedy in a way you feel good about, give these two things a try. It certainly can’t hurt.
Remember: “To draw on resilience tomorrow, you need to deposit joy today."
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