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How I Decided To Create Steps to Building Personal Resilience

May 24th, 2017 by Audrey Weidman

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.

The Magic

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 Steps to Building Personal Resiliencehave 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.


20 thoughts on “How I Decided To Create Steps to Building Personal Resilience”

  1. Joe Ballard says:

    AUDREY what you have here is priceless, I pray that it is the bridge for many to crossover from pain to power. My journey is one of transformation as well: “You see to become a Standing Man, starts with a burning desire in your heart and become one with your dreams. Next, decide to use your life-story as a platform for good. Finally, don’t lose yourself when hell hits hard; you can be a better you than a pretend somebody else. The most important thing is to be true to yourself.”

    “Being true to yourself; allows people to begin to see the path of your pain at work; the grass roots everyday activity of the journey you took on the road to greatness. Though the journey that makes us all awesome is interestingly unique; our pain is the same, our human experience is the same. Pain is the toughest thing to deal with but at the same time can be the best thing to fuel your destiny and dreams.”

    • Audrey Weidman says:

      Joe thank you for your kind words. And yes I hope what I am learning gets to those who need to hear it. I love what you say about having a burning desire and making that dream become a reality even with the pain. You are an example for others to follow as well.

  2. katie says:

    Audrey, I love this! You’ve created a wonderful list of both ideas and thank you’s here, and I look forward to investigating some of these further. Your vulnerable honesty speaks to me deeply. Thank YOU for sharing. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned my resilience grows when I attempt new things. I feel tremendously empowered when I face something that is out of my comfort zone. I love the exhilaration that comes afterward when I can say, “Hey! I never thought I could do that…and I just did!”

    • Audrey Weidman says:

      That is so awesome Katie! I love that you love to get out of your comfort zone and test your resilience. I think that is really important to do especially as we get older. As our society ages, it becomes more socially acceptable to play safe. But who says risk taking is only for the young? You’re staying young at heart by doing new things anyway! Way to go.

  3. I love that you went from a scary, life-threatening experience and turned that into one of joy. Aren’t gratitude journals just the best! Nothing puts you in a beautiful mindframe like gratitude and appreciation. And oh, yes–to find the joy in every day!

    • Audrey Weidman says:

      Yes – gratitude journals are a great habit. And I find that really thinking about the WHY is more important than the quantity of items on your list.

  4. Tamuria says:

    I think so many people underestimate the power of gratitude to heal. A gratitude journal is what finally pulled me out of a bout of sadness that felt like it would be with me forever. It’s beautiful how you found strength and joy after such a scary experience.

    • Audrey Weidman says:

      Thanks Tamuria. Yes gratitude is really the answer to so much of life’s challenges. Because there always is something to be grateful for – even small.

  5. Like you, when I was so far down there could only be up, I really learned that all the answers to my transformation and healing, were inside me. I feel very blessed to have found Arscura-School for Living Art and it’s therapeutic process driven art courses. That really doesn’t describe how powerful and transformative the work was. Having been someone who for years always went for the things outside myself that looked like they would help me to heal, I realized that ultimately the solutions or answers, aren’t ‘out there’. They are ‘in here’. We all have a unique destiny path we are on and often healing an ‘impossible’ health issue, is a healing for the world. Congrats on turning your dramatic health challenge into a transformative helming experience, Audrey!

  6. Lori English says:

    This is a beautiful article and I learned so much after I was faced with a few medial issues, Meditation is so powerful and I truly think Transcendental is a wonderful one. I been practicing a lot and use it myself. I am so glad to see that you had your husband and friends in this time off illness. It’s so nice to see that you turned your self around it is abut resilience I sure have it.A wonderful article and glad you are here, too.

    Lori English

  7. Meghan Monaghan says:

    Thank you for your honesty and directness in this post and in your video. Fighting my own inner demons can take a ton of my energy away…and I never considered how much stress I might be applying to myself. The other thing you said that resonated with me is the part about negative energy and good vibes. The election caused me serious stress in terms of seeing other people’s reactions on socia media as well as the news. I’ve learned to block it out to shield myself from other people’s drama, and I feel better as a result. Terrific advice!

  8. Teresa Salhi says:

    Audrey, you are following your path and letting go so your light shines brighter for us to see. We need you. Thank you for being the light so we may see. Much love sister.

  9. Audrey this is so helpful for people who have unexpected health issues arise. Gaining support from others who have a similar experience is important. Love the mind/body/spirit focus.

  10. Wow, Audrey, I really loved everything about this article. As a four time cancer thriver and a former family caregiver, I really appreciate building the resilience muscle. I am a HUGE believer in gratitude and believe it is the foundation for developing our greatness and it’s key to living our lives with passion, peace and joy. Your blog is well written and thorough. I look forward to more!

    • Audrey Weidman says:

      Thank you Tandy for your kind words. You really KNOW what it’s like as a cancer survivor. The shock but the need to pick yourself up and move on. Others count on you and you have more to give the world than letting a health scare take over.

  11. Joyce Hansen says:

    So wonderful to have you with us Audrey. Sometimes illness is our best teacher and gratitude our best healer. I can so relate to Chicago weather,as I’m originally from Milwaukee. Nothing like the winds whipping off Lake Michigan. Always grateful, that I’ve put snow and wind behind me. I’ll be sharing your wonderful message.

  12. Wow! I like the way you spelled it out! Thanks for sharing your personal story with us. My strategy is avoiding negativity ( people and situations) I am looking forward to going through the resources you mentioned in the article.

    • Audrey Weidman says:

      Glad to add value to you. It is helpful for me to share my journey as I become stronger and healthier and just have to share this.

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