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Four Types Of Resiliency And How To Improve Your Own Through Mindfulness

Resiliency is your ability to stay positive and persevere, despite challenging circumstances. People with a resilient mindset experience stress like everyone else - they just have better coping mechanisms that propel them forward in the face of adversity, rather than getting stuck. So, how is it that some folks have an easier time bouncing back than others? Is resilience an innate trait? Does it require a teacher? Is it built from within?

Turns out, resiliency is a complex cocktail of both internal and external factors. For those that have a knack for gettin' back on the proverbial horse, chances are they were raised with a healthy social support system. They benefited from a strong emotional and cultural framework necessary for children to thrive. They were taught by their caregivers how to communicate feelings, process trauma, and respond to stress in a healthy and productive way.

The good news is that resiliency can also be cultivated. Dr. Amit Sood, Executive Director for the Global Center for Resiliency and Well-Being, says that resilience is “the core strength you use to lift the load of life.” If this resonates with you, don't miss our free 10-Minute Tune-Up class to help you build your own resiliency at the end of this post.

"Resilience is the core strength you use to lift the load of life." - Dr. Amit Sood

I find this definition of resiliency to be particularly inspiring because it places the individual at the center and provides agency to create change. Anyone who has tried to strengthen their core knows it takes time and effort. In the case of resilience, core strength means so much more than being able to hold plank pose or have a six pack - it's about intentionally strengthening the foundation of your mental, emotional, and social support systems to help lighten the load. This brings us to the four different types of resiliency: physical, metal, emotional, and social.

1. Physical Resilience

Physically resilient people heal quickly from injuries. They recover from colds faster and may have an easier time managing chronic illnesses. Ways to build physical resilience include taking care of your body, eating well, and prioritizing sleep. Additionally, exposing yourself to healthy physical stress like ice baths or HIIT can help. The way we feel physically effects our mental health, and vise versa.

2. Mental Resilience

Mentally resilient people are able to adapt to uncertainly, such as the loss of a job or financial strain. They are not blown over by a failure. They get back up and try again. They are described as having a mental fortitude or grit. When you hear people talking about "building resiliency" this is usually what they're referring to. Mental resilience is especially helpful in the workplace, as it helps employees thrive during times of stress and overwhelm.

3. Emotional Resilience

Emotionally resilient people have the skills to self-regulate. They understand the importance of self-compassion and can put it into practice when things get hard. If a loved one passes away, or a relationship ends, it requires emotional resiliency to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Emotionally resilient folks are often bolstered by a secure social network and know when it's time to take a break and practice self-care.

4. Social Resilience

Last but not least, social resiliency is a community's ability to heal or recover from stress. Natural disasters, for example, literally require building a new foundation for living. While the level of social resilience is certainly influenced by political and economical forces, the mindsets of those who make up said communities are also a part of the puzzle. When community members are physically, mentally, and emotionally resilient, social resiliency is stronger.

So ... How Resilient Are You, Exactly!?

Now that you have a framework for what resilience is and how it shows up in different areas of your life, how resilient do you think you are? According to a survey conducted by Everyday Health, in partnership with Ohio State University, "83 percent of Americans believe they have high levels and emotional and mental resilience. Meanwhile, only 57 percent scored as resilient."

"83% of Americans believe they have high levels of emotional and mental resilience. Meanwhile, only 57% scored as resilient." - Everyday Health Survey

Check out this totally free assessment created by Everyday Health and find out your own resilience score. A few of the questions might surprise you, as they may seem to have nothing to actually do with resiliency. There are inquiries about kindness, gratitude, and your sense of purpose.

Going through these questions even further illuminates how interconnected the four types of resilience truly are, and supports the notion that your mindset does matter. The concept of a growth mindset, or one's beliefs that their talents and abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication, is a critical piece of a resiliency. Everyone can learn new things - including how to become your best and more resilient self.

Want To Improve Your Own Resiliency?

There are numerous steps to take to strengthen your own resiliency muscle. Strategies range from practicing gratitude and self-compassion to improving your problem solving skills and self-esteem. Additionally, learning how to boost your ability to self-regulate helps you to better manage stress without getting blown away. All of these skills have a common ingredient... Mindfulness.

Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment without judgement. It's an invitation to pause and observe. In any type of stressful event that requires you lean on your resilient mindset, mindfulness is a wonderful guide. That's because when you're mindful about the present moment, you're anchored in reality. There is a clarity and a strength. You're not looped into a downward stress spiral. You're stable. You're here, now.

This stability paves the way to confidence. When you're clear on what is actually happening, you can calmly navigate a set-back. You're able to rise to the challenge with a peaceful heart and put one foot in front of the other.

Putting It Into Practice

Practicing mindfulness is easier said than done, but it does not need to be complicated. The next time you find yourself overwhelmed and wanting to give up and throw in the towel, pause. Take a deep breath, Feel your breath move in an out of your body. Use your breath as your anchor to the present moment. Feel your feet on the floor, your hands in your lap.

Get curious about the story you're telling yourself. What is actually happening? Does it align with what your mind is telling you? What is a small thing you can do keep moving forward, even when things feel really hard? You'll be surprised how much of an impact a small step forward can be. Build on that momentum. Believe if yourself. Be grateful for how far you've come. And keep going!

We've created a free 10-Minute Tune-Up to help you build resiliency. This office-friendly class involves intentionally loosing your balance, and regaining it. It's a playful exploration in literally using your body as tool to recenter your mind. Follow along, right at your desk and revisit this class anytime you need a little resiliency boost.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our newsletter to receive weekly 10-Minute Tune-Ups and wellbeing inspiration. These classes are quick office-friendly chair yoga and meditation breaks to get you moving, breathing, and de-stressed - no change of clothing or equipment needed. Happy moving. :)

In Kindness,

Katie Rowe Mitchell

Co-Founder + CMO Unfold and Unfold Digital


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