Inner strength is something we all have the gift of. Sometimes, we just don’t know how much of it we have until we need it! Some of us often feel like we don’t have enough, but it is there! The same thing can be said for resilience. Luckily, it isn’t something we have to appreciate the value of until we really need it but then when we do, our own capabilities can often surprise us!
Resilience is the ability to withstand what life throws at us and use our inner strength to bounce back from. Easier said than done as resilience affects us and works on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and all of those things are interlinked. But, there are ways to develop our skills in resilience and tap into a level of inner strength we perhaps didn’t think possible.
A regular yoga practice, especially one with a strong focus on meditation and mindfulness has an amazing impact on our resilience. After all, it is a practice in balance, of none attachment to events and outcomes and having trust and faith not just in ourselves and our own abilities but in the wider plan of the universe. One of the wonderful side effects of a regular yoga practice that people notice is how they react to stress and negative situations. Instead of reacting with anger, resilience allows them to see the situation as a wider picture and not become so emotionally impacted by it.
Resilience, like most good things, comes with time, patience and practise. It is not something you decide you want and it appears. Each time you meet a challenge is a time you can practise by noticing how you react and the impact of that reaction. Often, the people we hurt the most is, in fact, ourselves and it can take that inner strength to humbly acknowledge that our reaction negatively impacted us. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. Every time you practise your resilience, the more naturally it comes.
Mindset is a powerful thing. In fact, we now know that it has a real chemical effect on the brain and the body! When you meet a challenge, notice if your instinct is to react to it in a negative way and see if you can re-train your brain a bit! Change your mindset into seeing a challenge as an opportunity, an experience to learn from and something to meet head-on with a productive mindset! Again, practise. Small steps lead to big changes.
We often think of inner strength and resilience as something that independent people are blessed with. In fact, support is the key to resilience. Open communication and trust can take a lot of inner strength. Remember, having inner strength and resilience doesn’t make stress and bad things not happen, only how we react to them! Having people that you can trust to share your feelings and experiences with allows us to gain insight and not feel burdened and weighed down.
Feeling overwhelmed is a common response to stress. Instead of getting caught up in what you cannot control, notice what you can! In yoga, this is summed up by Santosha – the art of acceptance. Being able to accept the things we can not control and find the strength to embrace the things we can.
Write down what you think the qualities of inner strength are.
Make a list of any of the things that act as challenges through your week. It could be, having to see someone you have a negative history with regularly or making deadlines. Anything, big or small.
Next to those, write three things – how you normally react, how you would like to react and a way you could begin to make the way you would like to reality.
Allow yourself a bit of time to really go through it. Even this exercise in itself, being open and honest with yourself is a great way to start to build that inner strength and resilience.