Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity; the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s associated with being tough, bouncing back, and dusting ourselves off.
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown talks about the protective factors that make people more resilient. She finds that resilient individuals:
are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills
are likely to seek help
hold the belief that they can do something to help them manage their feelings and to cope
have social support available to them
are connected with others, such as friends or family
She observes that people who are resilient believe in a power greater than themselves. They also believe that all of humanity is connected and that this interconnectedness is grounded in love and compassion.
Resilient people also shared three other significant characteristics. They cultivate hope, they practice critical awareness, and they are willing to experience their full range of feelings instead of numbing difficult emotions.
Let’s explore each of these characteristics. Hope, in this context, happens when we set realistic goals and truly believe that we are capable of figuring out how to achieve those goals while being flexible and agile when pivots are necessary. It’s a belief that we can do big things, we are capable, creative and whole.
Critical awareness is a questioning of what is really true. Especially when doubt and unworthiness begin to creep in. It’s the ability to step back, to be an observer of what is really happening and to recognize that we’re not alone, we’re not broken, we’re not flawed.
Resilient people do not numb themselves to difficult emotions through food, alcohol, busyness, shopping, scrolling social media, sex, work, money, or perfectionism. Instead they have a willingness to experience their full range of emotions. They are open to leaning in to discomfort in order to learn and grow from the experience.
Resilience is a practice and we can learn to be more resilient. A therapeutic, trauma-sensitive yoga practice builds resilience by creating a held space to explore.
Our yoga practice is a place to challenge ourselves physically, to recognize our choice in all of our actions, and to connect with the universe as a whole in a way that reminds us we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
The discipline and dedication of a regular practice shows us that we are capable, that we can show up and work for something that is important to us with grace and patience when things don’t always go as planned.
Through practices like yoga nidra and meditation we find a safe place to experience our thoughts and feelings and emotions. A place to explore our long-held thoughts and beliefs and to ask if they’re still true for us, and if those thoughts are serving us today.
And when we find stillness and we can be comfortable with whatever comes with that stillness, we can recognize that we’re not alone in our challenges or in our joys. We are all in this life together. We can begin to see that something greater than us is guiding our way and that love and compassion are always and already within each of us.
We can learn to be more resilient. We can choose the perfect response to our challenges. We can learn to be at home with our past, and we can build and grow our community of loving, supportive people so that when we face difficulties we know who we can count on for encouragement.
I am a trauma-informed yoga teacher. Every class that I teach is trauma sensitive. That means that we incorporate these tools into every practice.
I'd love to invite you to experience a free resilience building yoga class for yourself. I’ve created this practice just for you, I hope you love it. Get your resilience building yoga practice here.
Let me know how you feel after your practice, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!