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January 10, 2019

How To Build Resilience: 7 Experts Share Remarkably Effective Insights To Overcome Your Biggest Challenges and Thrive in the Face of Adversity


“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance.”

― Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult Resilience Quote

A sincere thanks to all the awesome experts who shared their best tips, insights and strategies on how to build resilience.

# Remember your past negative events in your life; acknowledge that you have successfully overcome them and realize you are stronger than you think

Resilience. A very powerful word and an even more powerful concept to live by and develop.

Have you ever noticed how someone who goes through a traumatic or negative event is able to bounce back or remain optimistic in the face of their misfortune? I can almost guarantee you that this person has cultivated a practice and mindset of being resilient.

Being resilient can best be defined as the process of “bouncing back” and or not allowing misfortunes in life to change who you are or bring you down to an irreparable state.

While there are some people who may have a more natural predisposition to possessing resilient thinking, the good news is that everyone is capable of achieving resilient thinking by continually practicing a more positive, self-compassionate mindset.

Sometimes when negative experiences occur, your first instinct—maybe your way of rationalizing the situation—may be to engage in blaming the people around you or even worse, blaming yourself for what has occurred.

Maybe you did have a role to play in the situation, but self-blame/persecutory thinking after a bad situation will do nothing but stunt the healing process. If you find yourself engaging in self-blame, start the process of developing resilience by shifting your thinking.

Recognize 1. That the self-blaming thoughts are occurring and 2. Start to replace the “I deserved what happened because I did this or I’m that” type thoughts with thoughts that are more self-compassionate and promote learning versus persecution.

Let’s say you are let go from your job because of an error you made. Instead of viewing this situation and creating the story that you are a failure, ask yourself “What can I learn from what happened? What can I do better next time?”

Shifting your mindset into one of learning from hardships can be a tough thing to do, especially when you are in the midst of the hardship.

However, the sooner you are able to recognize what you can learn from what has occurred, the sooner you will be able to move forward and live your life in a more confident, empowered way.

When you get stuck on the proverbial hamster wheel of persecutory thinking, it can cause you to stop trying to be better, to think you deserve less in life, to prevent you from reapplying for the next job, asking your love interest out, trying to start your own business or insert whatever hardship is occurring.

Developing resilience in the face of adversity and hardship is key to living your most empowered life.

There will always be setbacks in life and it becomes up to you to decide how you will do better next time and how you will mentally handle a situation. A concept I constantly strive to live by personally as well as promote professionally is that the only person/aspect of your life you can control is YOU.

I encourage you to reflect back on personal negative events that have occurred in your life and recognize that 1. You are still here and that in and of itself is meaningful and 2. Understand (and internalize this to your core!) that you are stronger than you may realize.

Humans (you included!) have the remarkable capacity to withstand hardship and then decide consciously how to handle that hardship.

Always remember that it’s okay to reach out for help in your time of need.

A good therapist will assist you in cultivating a more self-compassionate, learning-from-life mindset but you can also start at home by taking a mental step back from the situation and writing down key experiences, what you’ve learned from them, and how you can handle the situation in the future.

We are more than what we’ve been through in our lives.

The experiences you encounter have the capacity to help you grow and be better, or will have the propensity to view yourself in an unkind, less deserving light. It’s always up to you, and you alone, to choose the mindset you will adopt and how you will choose to be resilient and live your most empowered life.

Learn from life, and free yourself from self-blame.

Practicing self-compassionate, open-to-learning way of thinking, and recognizing how your own mind works will always be the more proactive way to aid in your “bounce back”.  The one constant within your control in this ever-changing life is YOU and how you will view a situation and more importantly, view yourself.

Rachel Ann Dine, LPC - www.humanitascounseling-consulting.com

# Practice “Let be, Let go, and Let in”

Dr Rick Hanson, a clinical psychologist who is an expert in contemplative practice and neuroscience, is my go-to person for tips on resilience. Most of the information in my article incorporates his work.

Over the last fifteen or so years, advances in neuroscience have demonstrated that we can change the brain for the better (or worse!).

This means we CAN “teach old dogs new tricks”! What great news, with important implications for our own (and not just dogs’) well-being.

Our brain is malleable, shaped by our experiences and what we focus on. This concept is called neuroplasticity. The adage “neurons that fire together, wire together” speaks to the fact that we can actually use our mind to change our brain, for better or worse.  

Personal development, happiness, and other positive qualities such as resilience can be ‘grown’ through deliberate effort.

This is very good news because for all of us, life can be filled with challenges and uncertainty.  Resiliency helps us not just to cope with adversity but to learn how to thrive! And who doesn’t want to thrive?

Thriving is especially challenging given that we are hard wired to be on the lookout for danger.

This “negativity bias” is how we advanced as a species and survived evolution over millions of years.  Our brain still naturally scans the environment for what is bad/dangerous,  reacts to it, encodes it to memory, and releases cortisol (a stress hormone). Through this process our brain becomes especially  reactive to negative experiences.

The cycle perpetuates easily, which worked particularly well for our Cavemen and Cavewomen ancestors.  

It is biased toward the idea that it is better to be safe than sorry; better to assume that the rustling in the bushes is a predator and not a cute bunny.  We no longer face the ubiquitous kinds of saber tooth tiger dangers of our Stone Age ancestors. The “dangers” we face certainly still exist, but in different forms.  

In general, our life is ultimately a combination of the challenges we face, vulnerabilities we have, and resources we cultivate.

How we manage these three variables determines our experience of life.  Resources are central to resilience because we typically have more control over them than we do over challenges and vulnerabilities.

There are three sources of resources: External, i.e in the world (eg friends, books, doctors), Physical/ Body (e.g. hydration, sleep, nutrition), and Psychological/Mind (e.g. self-compassion, mindfulness, humor). All three are important.  

As a psychologist I am especially  interested in the resources we can grow in our mind. 

Let’s use an example to illustrate a few concepts of resilience.  

If I face a challenge of  being stuck in traffic and have a vulnerability of anxiety, I will likely feel a great deal of stress. How this ultimately unfolds depends on the nature and use of my resources.

If I have a charged cellphone (External resource) to let my doctor’s office know I am running late, I will likely feel less stressed.

If I start doing some yogic breathing (Body resource), my stress will also likely lower due to the activation of my parasympathetic nervous system’s relaxation response.

I could also use Mental resources such as patience and self-compassion to help me – especially if over time I have strengthened those mental resource ‘muscles’ by practicing them again and again.   

Becoming resilient through repetition of key mental resources helps in a wide variety of situations in life, from sitting in traffic to experiencing a trauma.

The “Let be, Let go, and Let in” model is a useful mental resource to practice and strengthen resilience.  

The “Let be” part refers to feeling the feeling and experiencing the experience, whatever they may be.

This may involve noticing both positive and negative sensations, emotions, and thoughts. The purpose is to experience/feel and not to change the experience/feelings. 

In the traffic example, the “Let be” part would involve my noticing the tension in my thighs and jaw, the ruminative worry thoughts about being late, and the emotion of anxiety.  I would be using nonjudgmental noticing with acceptance—aka mindfulness--  as a way to ‘Let be’.

The “Let go” part is about engaging in some kind of behavior that may decrease the negative experience by reducing or ending it.

This could take the form of venting to a loved one, listening to music, or exercising. While sitting in traffic, I could ‘Let go’ by listening to a podcast, watching other commuters, or playing a word game with the license plates of surrounding cars. 

The third part, “Let in”, is a way to increase the positive, or whatever is enjoyable, by creating or preserving it.

This may take the form of remembering a fun time with friends, comforting yourself through self-compassion, accessing humor, or giving yourself credit for getting through a hard time.  

In the traffic example, I could “Let in” by opening the sun roof and feeling the warmth of the sun on my shoulders, smiling at other commuters to increase a sense of commonality and community, or singing songs on my favorite cd out loud.

I love to garden and come from a long line of gardening enthusiasts. A relevant analogy I like to use is that of the mind as a garden.  When gardening, I do a lot of noticing and observing (“Let be”). This may be noticing that deer have eaten my favorite plants, or noticing that the dahlias are beginning to blossom.

Noticing is fundamental.

If I don’t notice something, I am not able to proceed accordingly.  Also, if I don’t notice then I lose the opportunity to deliberately choose the kind of neural pathway to strengthen. 

Another form of tending to a garden is by weeding. Pulling weeds is akin to the ‘Let go’ step of decreasing or getting rid of what is not helpful. So I may decide to replant my lettuce in a different section of my garden that is located behind the deer deterrents.  

Planting flowers speaks to the ‘Let in’ aspect of building resilience. I enjoy making flower bouquets and  sharing the bounty of vegetables I have grown. By doing so, I am increasing and preserving the positives of my gardening experience.  My garden benefits from letting be, letting go, and letting in, just as my resilience muscle benefits from the same process.  

Resilience requires practice. As the water pot fills with water one drop at a time, we build resilience one experience at a time. Over time, with repetition, we build and reconfigure neural pathways. Awareness of which pathways we are strengthening is key. And it is never too late!

Dr. Elayne Daniels – www.drelaynedaniels.com  

# Follow the 3 steps listed below

Tough stuff happens, right?  It’s part of life and we all know that, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to us.  

Do you feel like you take a beating every time life throws you a curveball? Why does it seem like some people manage life’s stressors so much better than others?  Why do some people seem so much resilient in difficult circumstances than others?

Well, we do have some control over what we do with the lemons life throws us and building resilience can be a key factor.  

What is resilience?

Resilience is defined by Google dictionary as:

1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

Change is hard, but change is unavoidable.  The better equipped we are to deal with it, the more likely we are to come through it, not just surviving but thriving.  So how do we do that?

1. First of all, one of the most important things we can do in the midst of challenging circumstances is give ourselves a little grace.  

Being aware and trying to demonstrate self-kindness allows us opportunity to demonstrate some compassion and understanding for ourselves in the midst of a difficult situation.  Avoiding self-blame and taking extra time for self-care can go a long way in building our strength and resilience in facing the ‘tough stuff’.

2. Secondly, utilize support.  

We don’t live life in isolation (or we shouldn’t anyway).  If you are going through a tough situation, it does not make you weak if you ask for help-it makes you wise!  Be okay with being specific and seeking support in concrete ways.

By building your support network, you allow yourself a little extra energy to deal with whatever challenge you’re facing.  This can help us from becoming drained and overwhelmed, which is not conducive to facing one of life’s challenges.

3. Thirdly, set out to accomplish small goals and envision yourself tackling each difficult step one at a time.  

Breaking down an arduous situation into small manageable tasks, will make the overall circumstance feel less daunting or stressful.  Addressing smaller aspects of a bigger picture can help us to feel more in control, and therefore less anxious and overwhelmed. Once you get through one piece of the puzzle, you can move on to the next.  If you get stuck, envision what it would look like for you to successfully manage the situation, then start by identifying the first step in that process. Placing one foot in front of the other will eventually get you across the finish line.

Life can be hard.  Sometimes challenges show up when we are least expecting them.  But by being kind to ourselves, seeking help from those around us, and setting manageable goals for facing the challenge head on, you will get through it with success.  And when you’ve felt that success once, you’ll gain the confidence that you can do it again the next time life hands you lemons!

Liz Kent, MSW, LCSW-C – www.perissostherapy.com

# Learning how to turn in toward the discomfort of our emotions and body sensations opens great wisdom

“Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes..”

- Psychology Today

When life gets hard we tend to move in two directions:

1. Away from the discomfort.

2. Toward the discomfort.

What direction do you tend to move in?

Many of us will unconsciously move away from the discomfort and this is a result of our old primitive brain. Humans like to seek pleasure and avoid pain. This unconscious coping mechanism is part of our survival kit, albeit often ineffective. The ways in which we choose to move away from discomfort vary in copious amounts.

Generally individuals tend to create a state of excess, deficiency, or a combination of both, in how they move away from discomfort.

For example, one might move away from discomfort through a coping mechanism of excessive drinking, eating, shopping, or excessive anxiety. 

Another person might move away from discomfort through a coping mechanism of deficiency by checking out, decreased focus, low motivation, isolating, or depression. As you can image or perhaps have experienced, when we move away from ourselves in times we need ‘us’ the most, things don’t turn out well.

It is important to understand that moving away from discomfort, when done consciously with intention, can be helpful. Moving away is not necessarily the problem. Rather it is how we move away and whether we are in choice or reacting from an unconscious place. This makes all the difference.

As most of us are well practiced in moving away from discomfort, likely receiving an “A” in the class, my invitation is for you to practice moving toward the discomfort as a way to build resilience. By simply moving toward your own discomfort, you are all ready practicing resilience!

How does Moving Toward Discomfort build Resilience?

We all know there is no escaping getting knocked down in life. Resilient people are more ‘comfortable’ being knocked down. They don’t fear it as deeply or run from it.

They embrace it, practice it, and stay connected to themselves during the discomfort.

Resilient people know that the more they stay connected to their body and emotions, the stronger they will rise from the ashes. They rise is because they know themselves and have connected to their truth.

What is your Truth?

Our body holds great wisdom if we just learn to listen..I mean really listen. The next time you are going through a hard time, practice turning in toward the discomfort.

Notice and Name it. Feel it. Listen to it. The discomfort will offer you guidance.

The key is you have to learn how to get up close and personal with the icky feelings and listen to them. By doing this you are getting in touch with your own truth.

Standing in your own truth builds resilience.

When you can sit in the discomfort and know that whatever you’re experiencing is okay and will offer you some wisdom, you learn to embrace the discomfort. The discomfort itself then becomes the wood stoking the fire, turning into ashes, from which you will rise.

I have outlined a guided experience you can use on yourself. It is best to receive this guided experience, or something similar, from a trained professional. Receiving it from another will offer a richer experience which you can then use on yourself with more ease. If working with a professional is not available to you, the following questions will still support you in building resilience in times of discomfort.

Get up close and personal

1. Begin to Notice what you’re experiencing.

2. Name the feeling(s), sensations, and thoughts.

3. Let yourself feel the experience.

4. Ask the emotion or physical sensation “What do you need from me right now?”

5. Listen with your body (less with your mind).

6. Receive the wisdom.

Can you feel the resilience you just created?

Remember practicing resilience doesn’t always feel nice. Sometimes when we go inside and connect in, we face things that are difficult to feel. Even then, by staying present to that truth, you are practicing resilience.

Like the Phoenix in Greek mythology, let yourself be resilient by embracing the death and re-birth cycle that naturally happens through out life. Get comfortable with the fact that you will have seasons of change, death, growth, and transformation. Stay connected to your body and the moment to moment truth. It will be your best guide and you will rise gracefully from the ashes over and over again.

Blessings on your journey,

Kersten Gwost, LLC - www.roottorising.com

# Maintain mental flexibility

A key component of being resilient (bouncing back) is maintaining mental flexibility and balance in your life as you deal with stressful situations.

I find that people are especially reactive to change in a way that does not promote well-being, due to a lack of mental flexibility.

Resilience is the ability to overcome and adapt well, when faced with hardship, or significant sources of stress i.e. trauma.

However, we actually exercise resilience on a daily basis, every time something doesn’t go as planned, for example- there’s unexpected traffic on your route, you wanted your coffee hot but they gave it to you cold, a co-worker is being unfriendly towards you when they’re usually friendly, you missed your scheduled gym class, the dinner you were cooking got burnt, the kids are not behaving well today.

You might be thinking these examples are trivial and not stressful, but they are trivial and stressful, nonetheless we overcome situations like this every day, we are likely able to adapt well to these situations as they are happening and not even think twice about them.

If you are thinking that these examples are stressful and difficult to deal with emotionally, they put you in a bad mood, then your mentality is probably lacking flexibility, and you have difficulty with things not going your way, trying new things and things changing. 

Mental flexibility is the ability to adjust your thinking and change your behavior, when faced with difficult, different or new situations, so that you can remain emotionally stable and achieve the best outcome.

Being mentally flexible gives you the ability to see things from several different perspectives, allowing you to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, adapt to change, take risks willingly and learn from your mistakes.

There are simple behaviors that can foster mental flexibility.

1. Question your thoughts

When is the last time you stopped yourself mid thought to questions your thoughts? Probably not that often, but we need to be doing this often. Pay attention to the thoughts you are having in situations where you feel like you just cannot accept it, if it doesn’t go as planned, fails, or changes; or in situations where you feel like you absolutely cannot agree, or compromise.

Ask yourself, “how come I am having these thoughts,” “what would happen if it doesn’t go as planned,” “so what if I fail,” “how come I strongly disagree with this situation,” “what would happen if I go along with it anyways,” “how come I cannot compromise on this.” The idea is to start thinking about things differently by questioning your current perceptions and where they are coming from. This teaches you the ability to see things from several different perspectives.

2. Try something new

It is easy to get stuck on autopilot, most of us have the same routine day in and day out- work, home, bed, repeat, with probably the same responsibilities in between. This leads to loss of mental flexibility, it narrows our experiences and we become fixed in our on world. We have created ultimate comfort, everything is controlled and predictable, but whenever anything burst the bubble of our safe world we become emotionally upset; we are not truly fulfilled, nor equipped to deal with stress, there is no growth here.

By trying something new we are breaking away from that routine and practicing flexibility. By choice we are challenging ourselves (growth) and learning how we think and behave in difficult, different or new situations, for example, going hiking for the first time, taking that road trip by yourself, finally trying that fitness pole dancing class, getting that puppy you feel you don’t have the time to care for and changing your schedule so that you can care for the puppy.

Trying something new is difficult, it’s different, it’s change, and therefore it is scary and stressful, but it is good stress because we are choosing it, therefore it is empowering and equips you with the tools necessary to be flexible and able to deal with adversity thrown your way.

3. Get comfortable with being spontaneous

No matter how much we want to be in control and we want things to go as planned, and we want everything to work out perfectly in our favor, we will be faced with the fact that often they simple don’t, at all in anyway, go like we want them to.

Being spontaneous is being able to change gears last minute, allowing you to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, and adapt to change.

It is being able to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing this weekend, I’ll let you know what I feel like doing on Saturday,” “dinner got burnt, cool, lets just get take out,” “meeting got cancelled, no problem, I can work on my project instead,” “I missed my gym class, no worries, I’ll work out at home.” 

Being able to go “with the flow” in trivial situations like I just described, sets way for being more mentally flexible and able to go “with the flow” in more adverse situations. Try not planning out your weekend a week in advance, try waking up this weekend and doing what you feel like doing at that very moment.

4. Learn that failure is necessary

We all fail, we can’t succeed without failure, and yes practice makes perfect, in the sense that each time we fail, we have an opportunity to learn from it and do it better next time. We learn from failing by being curious about the negative feelings that we experience when we fail to achieve a goal and by observing these feelings from a place of non-judgement and understanding. Instead of criticizing yourself, engage in thinking critically about your obstacles so that you can come up with strategies on how to overcome your setbacks.

Don’t be so harsh on yourself and get comfortable with the idea of failing because failure is necessary for growth. If you can get comfortable with failing, you will become more flexible and able to take risks willingly and learn from your mistakes. Being able to take risks willingly is an important skill to have when faced with situations we cannot control the outcome of.

In essence, mental flexibility is finding the balance between being in control and things going as planned, and adapting to how things simply are, turn out or happen to us. “The wind does not break the tree that bends”

Maribel V. Allaria, MS, CLC, CPI, NLP - www.maribelvallaria.com

# Cultivate hope

It is obvious that humans do not do death well

We appear to be organically challenged and yet, death is a cellular sequence of living.  Death can act as an appendage to fear, not allowing us to have closure, leaving an unfulfilled hole in our souls.  

The most innate instinct we have is to love.  

Yet, on a larger scale, avoiding pain displaces love, intensifying our resistance to the sting of loss and pain. Grief is as personal as our genetic coding.  Dismissing our grief leaves us in unhinged denial.  What we cannot feel, we cannot heal.

When viewed from the Astral Plane, dying is not intended to be the end.  

It is merely an extension of our spiritual growth without the physical body attached to it.  When we shed our physical frame we are wholly cognizant of who we are and all that has constituted our prior existences on earth.  

Our consciousness is embedded with knowledge that we carry for lifetimes

There is an immense amount of despair regarding the conviction that we will never see our loved ones again.  Still those individuals who have passed are very much with us.  Once a person dies, they shed their physical shroud, and they continue to surround us. The love we have for them and they have for us will never cease.

Crossing over into the spiritual plane is merely a shift in consciousness.  Death is a progression-it is a passageway into a greater awareness. 

Every fiber of our being is energy.  We are the manifestation of living energy as within our body, we come through our soul.  

It is imperative that we listen to our deepest calling, giving a voice to our soul. We can then heighten our consciousness and our vibration to our greatest potential. Living our truth is a critical component in navigating every bone we are thrown.  That bone becomes an exquisite mirror reflection in how we choose to deal with what is presented to us.  

Life is extraordinarily precious.  

Spend it without lament.  Choose love over fear, and though fear may be present, revere your fear and take the risk, no matter what.  Live life with amazement as if it will be the last inhalation you will ever take.

Take chances even it means giving in to your discomfort.  

As we awaken, we rekindle hope and resilience.

Such rekindling let’s us live a more human-centered way of living, a way that touches the very springs of our soul, despite our loss. Resilience will allow us a gentle harmony.

This is beyond question what spirit wants for all of us-to love irrefutably, to live our questions and to trust that it all simply works out, because it does, even if it is not how you thought it would be. 

Cindy E Barg, MEd, LMHC - www.gettingbeyondlifestuff.com

# Balance your solar plexus chakra + meditate + cultivate self-care

Defining Resilience

Have you noticed that some people seem positive, and hopeful no matter what difficulties they have endured? How can this be?

Resilience is the act of “bouncing back” despite life’s stressors and tragedies.

People viewed as resilient take each hard experience and use it to learn, grow, and evolve. They see each experience as an opportunity rather than a setback. It is as if they wear a different set of glasses from the rest of us. Is it as easy as changing your prescription to view life through new lenses to become resilient? 

Feeling beaten down by life makes us feel powerless and hopeless. When we are resilient, we hold the power in our own hands

The only thing we truly have control over each day is our reactions to what we face. Resilience is connecting to our personal power. It is the overcoming of fear, anxiety and worry. Each one of us has this ability. It is a trusting that we are protected and cared for by a force greater than ourselves. Resilience needs to be discovered, not cultivated.

Bouncing Back

What does it mean to “bounce back”? Must we have no negative reactions to difficulties to view ourselves as resilient?

Resilience is not about the absence of stress, anxiety, or fluctuations in our moods. We certainly have a right to our emotions and reactions. In fact, they are healthy. When we are faced with a trauma, loss, illness,  or relationship struggles - to name a few - we need to connect to our emotions to understand how these are affecting us and what we will need to move through the pain they cause.

For example, if someone is having panic attacks and anxiety, their body sending a strong message that something needs to change in their lives. There is something they can do to feel better.

Perhaps they are in a job that is stressful and not in alignment with their purpose. This anxiety and panic are exercising the person’s internal voice, telling them what they need to do to get back on track.

When we are being resilient, we take a good look at these emotions and learn from them.

Listen to their voice. What do we need to do to feel better? Resilience is taking this information and acting upon it to feel better. Just because we may have times of sadness, panic or feeling hopeless, does not mean we are not resilient.

Waking up each day, facing our hardships, and exercising control over how to manage them is resiliency. However, we often forget we have this power. 

People who appear to be resilient have a sense of faith that they are supported by the universe and all will be ok. Sometimes, we are not feeling very resilient. How can we connect to this?

Resilience is innate in all of us.

If innately, each of us has resilience, where is it hiding? Where does it reside?

Reliance resides in our higher self. The higher self is an all-knowing part of us that holds information about our past, present, and future. It is filled with wisdom, the ability to heal us physically, mentally and emotionally.

Our higher selves are resilient, as they are our direct connection to Source, the power of all creation, ideas, abundance and healing. Our human experiences and conscious mind can disconnect us from this part of us and our knowing we are resilient.

Our conscious mind is the part that fills us with fear and doubt.

Fear and doubt only reside there. There is no fear or doubt in our higher selves. Fear and doubt can disconnect us from remembering we are resilient. Resilience is to be discovered, not strengthened or created. Because we all have a higher self, we also possess resilience.

People who are consistently resilient are more connected to their higher selves. They have a knowing of being supported and cared for from the universe around them. The question becomes, for those who don’t feel resilient, how to connect to it?  This is perhaps easier than we think. We can do this by using our Solar Plexus chakra!

The Solar Plexus and the Higher Self

What is the solar plexus chakra and how is this related to resilience and our higher selves?

Our chakras are the key to our physical, mental, and emotional health. These are energy points where energy is moving in and out of our bodies continuously, creating balance, stimulating organs and our endocrine systems.

The solar plexus chakra is one of our seven major chakras. It is connected to our stomachs, gall bladder, small intestine, pancreas, and muscles. This is our center for personal identity, self-worth, intuition, power, and resilience.

A person who has a balanced solar plexus chakra has the stamina to feel resilient and able to manage their experiences.

They are confident in their sense of self and how they relate to the world around them. Their identity is formed from the inside instead of the outside. A person who struggles in this area is typically defining themselves from their experiences with the world around them. They are more focused on their outer selves - their bodies, health, other’s opinions and comparing themselves to others. 

When we focus inward, we can discover our intuition, power, compassion, love, and true beauty.

This resides within the solar plexus. The solar plexus provides access to our higher selves. Visualize a river flowing into an ocean. The solar plexus acts as the river flowing directly to the ocean, which represents the higher self. How can we balance our solar plexus and feel more resilient?

Balancing the Solar Plexus

What are some ways to balance the solar plexus?

There are several ways to balance the solar plexus and feel connected to our higher selves. The most powerful way is through Reiki energy work. There is a misconception about Reiki - that we must be attuned to Reiki to access it. This is untrue.

An attunement allows us the power to ALWAYS access the Reiki energy and guide it. However, without an attunement it can still be done. It occurs more randomly and without as much control. But anyone can ask Reiki energy to heal and help them. 

Simply place one’s hands on the solar plexus chakra (the upper stomach), and with intention, ask for this chakra to be balanced and to strengthen your self-worth and personal power. If possible, going for a Reiki session with a practitioner will be more powerful and recommended.

Other ways to balance the solar plexus is though foods, essential oils, crystals, and yoga poses.

Certain foods, such as whole grains, legumes, spices - turmeric, ginger, cumin - lemons, bananas, and pineapple, all help the solar plexus chakra. Adding these to our diet benefits the flow of energy in this chakra. 

Using essential oils, such as sage, juniper berry, and geranium topically or in a diffuser, can also help balance the solar plexus. Crystals also have healing properties. Citrine and topaz are excellent crystals for the solar plexus. 

Placing a small amount of essential oil with a carrier oil on the stomach along with a crystal has healing effects. Do this while activating Reiki as a self-treatment for your solar plexus. Drinking water infused with lemon is excellent!

There are also several yoga poses helpful to the solar plexus. Cow pose, sitting spinal twist, and camel pose help the energy move in this area. These are easy practices to do alone.

Intuition, Meditation and Resilience

How does our intuition and meditation help us discover our resilience?

Once we have balanced our solar plexus, the gateway to our higher selves, we can travel down that river to connect to our intuition. Intuition is the built-in part of ourselves which provides guidance and wisdom. When we are connecting to our intuition, we are knowing without evidence. Think of it as a gut response. Everyone has intuition! Many of us ignore it or don’t trust it.

Because our intuition is connected to that all loving higher self, it helps us feel resilient.

We discover that we will be OK, despite what is going on around us. We also can discover the answers to the questions, “What to do” and “How to manage” our situations. When we have these answers, we feel resilient.

Meditation can help connect us to our intuition and higher selves.

When we meditate, we are slowing down our brain activity. This allows our conscious mind to become quiet. Once our conscious mind has been moved aside, we have access to our intuition and higher selves. Developing a practice of meditation does not have to be difficult. Just a few minutes per day has great positive effects. It can be helpful to think of our conscious mind and higher self in a pyramid.

Our conscious mind is at the bottom.

The next tier is our higher self and then at the top is the universal consciousness where all things are created.  Remember, it is within our higher self that resilience resides. Once we can communicate with the higher self, it is possible to access to all our wisdom, love, strength and power. It is here that we will discover that we are in fact, resilient, brilliant and powerful.

Other Ways To Connect To Our Resilience

How can self-care, spending time with loved ones and the practice of manifestation help us feel resilient?

Developing a practice of self-care, spending time with those who care for us and manifesting can also help us feel resilient. Self-care is different for everyone. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive! The simple act of taking a salt bath is caring for ourselves. In fact, a salt bath is grounding and can quiet the conscious mind. Any time we quiet the conscious mind, we can connect to our higher selves and be reminded of our resilience.

Other simple forms of self-care are reading an enjoyable book, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. When we read, we connect to our imagination. Our imaginations are also part of our higher selves where our resilience lives.

Spending time with those we love is always helpful.

This reminds us we are not alone and are supported. Being with others keeps us from feeling isolated, and connects our strength with the strength of others. We can absorb this strength and be reminded we are powerful and resilient. Being with those we love also boosts our mood. When we feel supported by others and joyful, we are connecting to our higher selves and resilience.

A practice of manifestation can help us in a multitude of ways - in fact, with anything, including feeling resilient.

When we manifest, we are speaking to our higher selves. It is our higher selves that send our manifestation to the universal consciousness where all things are created.  Why does manifestation help connect us to our resilience? Because manifestation is the act of creating.

When we manifest, we are part of the power that creates our own reality.

Connecting to this power reminds us we are resilient. It is knowing we have the power to create which removes fear, anxiety, and doubt, and reminds us we are resilient. Manifestation utilizes our power to make our desires fulfilled. Experiencing the creative outcome of our manifestations connects us to our resilience.

As we move through the stressors and difficulties of life, please know, one always has the capacity to bounce back and be resilient. This resides innately in each of us, always waiting to be discovered.

Kim Conway, LICSW, MSW - www.acenteredself.net