As I was reading about cultivating a resilient spirit in life, in Brene Brown’s book, The Gift of Imperfection (which is a MUST READ I might add) I was fascinated about her research about some of the most common factors of resilient people. I started to reflect on the struggles that I see my clients, friends, family go through and the struggles that I myself go through and more importantly how we handle them.
How do we adapt to challenges, struggles and adversity? Why do some people handle it better than others? How and why do people handle it better than others? Regardless of the struggle, each individual suffers from pain and negative emotions, but how do some people rise above easier and some people suffer longer. It all has to do with our choices and how we balance our emotions and our ability to positively handle stressful times and situations.
With this in mind, I headed to the gym and to workout. During my first exercise I was struggling with motivation. Mid set I put the weight down because it was “too heavy.” I paused and debated for a split second if this was a physical limit, that I literally and physically could not pull that weight any more, or was it a mental block that I just did not want to be uncomfortable (experience any physical discomfort). I picked the weight back up and for the remaining 8 repetitions, I questioned, physical or mental? As I let the weight down each rep I questioned my mental strength and as I pulled the weight up I would question my physical strength. I made it through the rest of the set and knew that the whole game was pushing through the physical discomfort, mentally.
I have always known that fitness has made me a better, stronger, more capable person. And this set was that re occurring “ah ha” moment of why fitness is such an important and meaningful part of my life and why I am beyond thrilled that my career allows me to share that with others.
It has shown me that I can get through the discomfort, not only from my workouts but in life. Life can be uncomfortable at times, life can be uncomfortable often. Feeling of shame, inadequacy, negativity, jealously, hurt, loneliness, anxiety and fear are emotions EVERYONE expierences. No one is exempt from these, though sometimes we feel like we are the only ones struggling with these emotions.
With that said *how* we handle these emotions and *how* we overcome them are what makes us resilient. Do we give up on the workout? No. We push through. Do we give up on important relationships? No. We push through. Do we dwell in negativity and let adversity bring us down. No. We find the bright spots and figure out how we are going to make the best of any given situation.
Instead of taking a situation and saying screw it, I take the situation and the problem at hand and ask how am I going to fix it, how am I going to make it work for me. I have learned to become a good problem solver. When I am not seeing progress with my body in the way I want it to, whether it in terms of how I look or my energy levels I re evaluate. What and I doing right? What could I be doing differently? Instead of just giving up and accepting what is, I figure out a way to adjust and adapt and give myself a bit of a break. I am doing the best I can.
No one is immune from struggles and hard times but they are necessary for us to grow. Just like our workouts, if we don’t put our bodies under a little stress, under a little discomfort they would not change. Fitness is one way to help us learn to embrace challenges and become stronger and more resilient. If you do not feel challenges in your workouts, your body will not change and get better and if you do not face challenges in life you will not grow and get stronger as a person.
The good news is resiliency is not some magical ability that only some people have. Resiliency is a practice that can be learned and developed. Here are a few take aways that you can apply to your workouts and life.
1. Question the discomfort. Is it physical or mental? How can I overcome this situation?
2. Become a good problem solver. Make a list of ways you can solve the problem at hand. Set small steps to conquer that problem and achieve your goal.
3. Resiliency is a learned practice that will take time to implement. YOU are highly capable of taking your struggles, learning from them and learning how they can make you grow.
Stay tuned for Part 2. Coming soon. 🙂