How I Decided To Create Steps to Building Personal Resilience
Steps to Building Personal Resilience
I’d like to share my steps to building personal resilience since my heart attack. And gratitude really is the underlying foundation for my “emotional” recovery. In the wake of my heart attack it wasn’t difficult to think about death and those in my family who also had died of a heart attack. But I KNEW – even in the ER – that death in the near future was not going to happen to me. In fact, I WILL live a long and happy life, so I had to develop a strategy to overcome both my fears and my health condition.
With gratitude as the foundation, the “formula” I’ve been following is The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. Per her direction, I have been keeping a gratitude journal for the past month. Yes, it does take time to do this. But most things that are worthwhile doing take some time.
Every day I write down 5 – 10 things I’m grateful for and WHY. The “WHY” makes this exercise meaningful. It’s easy to come up with a list, but it can become more like writing a Every day I write down 5 - 10 things I’m grateful for and WHY. #PersonalResilience Click To Tweetgrocery list if you don’t pause to think about the “WHY”. And every night before I go to sleep I mentally scan the day and pick what was the best thing that happened that day.
The result? I start and end my day with gratitude and that, my friend, is a good way to live your life. In the book, The Magic there are 28 gratitude exercises – ways of thinking about gratitude that you may never have thought of before. I know I didn’t.
What I Have Learned
Gratitude often results because we experience contrast. Kinda like Chicagoans being grateful for good weather– we go nuts when the weather is good because we get a whole lotta less than desirable “vacation” weather than say… San Diego. Or campers returning from their outdoor adventures to their homes with electricity, running (hot) water, indoor plumbing and a comfortable bed.Gratitude often results because we experience contrast. Kinda like the weather in #Chicago Click To Tweet
I experienced the contrast that a severe illness will put you through after being “healthy”. I was inspired by the book to figure out what I could be grateful for as a result of having a heart attack. Initially, I was in shock and then it had become anger. So what could I be grateful for in experiencing a heart attack? Seems like a big stretch, right? I’d be lying if I told you that I’m happy my heart attack happened, but with some serious reflection, a lot of good has come of it.
My Steps For Building Personal Resilience
I do have a list of things I am grateful for as a result of the heart attack and list of the steps I went through towards building personal resilience. Certainly giving voice to my experience is helping me – so please indulge me.
I know I am loved…deeply. I am ever so grateful to my family – especially my husband – for standing with me, being my advocate, researching my condition when I couldn’t, taking care of me, listening to me and expressing love for me while I recover. If I ever doubted their love for me, I don’t anymore. I have a solid support system that is unwavering that I didn’t quite appreciate before. Thank you Dan, Thank you Claire, Thank you Evelyn, Thank you Mom.
I know I have healing resources. I am super grateful to the healers I have gotten to know as they have helped me recover in mind, body, spirit. I created a great deal of stress for myself because I didn’t think I was enough. I believe this ultimately resulted in my heart attack. Besides having excellent conventional medical care to help me recover physically, I have healed emotionally with more “out there” means. With hypnosis, energy work, essential oils and massage I have learned to relax and become more balanced. If you’d like my resources, check out my YouTube channel or email me and I will happily share them with you. Thank you Claudia, Thank you Linda, Thank you Kelly, Thank you Joy, Thank you Stacy.
I know and appreciate the silence. I am grateful for the need to develop the discipline of learning how to go deep within using Transcendental Meditation. It allows me to connect with what they call the “Universal Field” or what I call God. As a result of learning this new practice, I sleep better, I am less reactive, and like the calmness that I feel. Check out this video where I talk with my TM instructor. Thank you Barb for suggesting this to me. Thank you Laurina for teaching me.
I know how good my body feels when it moves. I have made exercise a priority and part of my new routine. Exercise was always something I kinda did, but kinda didn’t. I would take my dog for a walk on a daily basis, I would play tennis and go to yoga once per week. But now I make sure I work out at least 5 days per week and it’s usually first thing in the morning.
Cardiac rehab helped me to develop a new routine where I would push myself to “collateralize” my arteries – or grow new arteries to compensate for the artery that is no longer functional. (Check out my experience with cardiac rehab). Aerobic conditioning makes me feel strong and vibrant. Yoga makes me limber and strong. These two activities are part of my weekly regimen that I never quite appreciated as much as I do now. Thank you Marie, Thank you Karen. Thank you Carol. Thank you Kathy.
I know how important it is to be surrounded by good vibes. I have developed the new habit of tuning out negativity and focusing on the good. I learned to do this pretty quickly has I had my heart attack right before the election. The news coverage was upsetting and poisonous regardless of who you voted for. And the venom extended to social media as well.
So I decided to stop watching the news – and this is from a former news junkie! If something important happens, I hear about it. If someone starts “going off” on social media, I unfriend them.
I enjoy Facebook and have chosen thought leaders I admire to be part of my feed first. See how in the adjacent picture. (I welcome you to follow me and see me first in your feed as well). I don’t have much of an influence on world affairs, but I do impact the world around me. I try very hard to stay in my little bubble of positivity and walk away from negativity. This allows me to send out good vibes to those I come into contact with. Thank you Audrey for your inner wisdom in recognizing this.
I know how important it is to experience joy – every day. I have given myself permission to quite literally “stop and smell the roses” or any kind of flower. I take a break from work and get outside to my garden, call a friend, cuddle with my dog, or do something that brings me joy. I didn’t always do this before, because I believed that delayed gratification was the answer. If I only worked hard enough, I would achieve that next goal…
Guess what? We need to enjoy the journey. Life is precious and if you’re too busy chasing a goal, life slips by. The present is what we have right now, so enjoy it. Thank you Louise for teaching me this.
Let me hear from you! What Are Your Steps To Building Personal Resilience?
I hope my steps to building personal resilience has in some way inspired you to create a life you love. And my even bigger hope is that you don’t have to go through the trauma of a major health crisis to discover them.
If you have some effective steps to building personal resilience, I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a comment below so that we can help each other out. Together we will increase our vibrations and make the world we touch just a little bit better.