Cultivate resilience by nurturing your inner life
I often refer to resilience as our ability to bend instead of break. Quite often throughout our life we are thrown a curve ball, or two (or three or four or five!); a specific incident or accumulation of experiences that bowls us off our feet, takes the wind out of sail, and makes us acutely aware of our own fragility and vulnerableness.
Sometimes it’s a major blow like a serious illness, a death of a loved one, a divorce, a major injury, bankruptcy or the loss of a job. Other times it’s a gentler tug like loneliness, resentment, failure, rejection or disappointment. It doesn’t matter what form it takes, the commonality of these experiences is that they push our pain buttons, and pull and tug at our inner sense of wellbeing and resilience.
So what helps us deal with these challenges a little easier, and how do we cope more effectively so that we are able to bend instead of break?
Throughout my personal journey with illness and life challenges, and my professional experience as a therapist working with hundreds of individuals who have trodden this path, I have learnt that resilience is about nurturing our inner life; fostering our intricate ‘root system’.
Nurturing our inner world is about looking after all aspects of ourselves, including the often neglected emotional, social, and spiritual sides, and treating ourselves with care and kindness. Something I often quote in my clinic rooms is this.
“To only address our physical fitness or treat our physical symptoms would be like pruning the branches of a tree without cultivating the soil or nourishing its roots. No matter how much physical pruning and ‘outer work’ we might do, if we don’t nurture our intricate root system; our inner-life, we will wither and fade, and eventually fall over with the first gust of wind” ~ Jess Leggatt
I believe nurturing our intricate root system is the key to health, happiness and living a vibrant, fulfilled life. My whole-life fitness philosophy embraces this by focusing on not just our physical health, but also our mental, emotional, spiritual and social health.
When we look after ourselves in this integrated, holistic way; like a well nourished tree we are able to thrive, enjoy good health, and recover from adversity. And even if we do lose a few branches along the way, a well nourished strong base means we can remain firmly ‘rooted’ to what matters, and enjoy the good things in life. We will bend, instead of break.
What’s your Whole-Life Fitness like?
A healthy, balanced lifestyle engages all 7 domains of the Whole-Life Fitness framework. Take a look at each of the areas below to see which aspects of your life might need a little more nurturing attention.
- Seeking greater self-awareness of your emotional health.
- Fostering active acceptance, forgiveness and compassion in your daily life
- Connecting with your values, your deepest heartfelt desires, so that you can be the person we want to be and live the life you want to live.
- Engaging the heart-mind for greater care and kindness for yourself and others
- Bringing a sense of play, creativity, gratitude and optimism into daily life
- Caring for your brain health and feeding your most complex organ with positive stimulation, knowledge and meaningful learning experiences
- Keeping an open, enquiring mind – using your mind as a tool to make wise choices & foster continued growth and change
- Giving your mind adequate time to rest and be still; be present
- Seeking out meaning & purpose in your life
- Exploring your personal views of life, and how you connect & fit in with our community, the world and the universe
- Connecting with your ‘inner essence’ – your unchanging sense of self
- Getting in touch with spiritual practices and beliefs that are important to you
- Fostering relationships, building positive connections with those around you & communicating mindfully
- Reaching out to your own personal community of support.
- Cultivating fun, love and connectedness in your life
- Nourishing your body with wholesome nutritious food that suits your unique bio-individuality
- Engaging in regular physical activity & mindful movement to promote strength, positive mind-body connections, and a healthy body
- Engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviours that support optimal physical function (& seeking the right professional/medical help when needed).
- Looking after your posture and hydrating your body
- Looking at how your outside world effects your inside world
- Looking at your physical environment (home, work, exposure to chemicals, benefit of nature & being outdoors) and how it affects your health
- Being aware of your social environment, those you live with and the important people in your life, and their impact on your wellbeing
- Acknowledging your sensory environment (what you hear, see, touch, smell) and how it makes you feel
- Acknowledging wider external influences (social, culture, politics) that might be effecting your health
Rest / Mindfulness:
- Using ‘active rest’ strategies like Mindfulness Meditation, and deep breathing to promote optimal wellbeing
- Getting good quality, deep sleep each night
- Making time for relaxation, and self-nurture
- Maintaining a healthy work-life balance
- Adopting a mindful way of life, connecting to the present moment & enjoying activities that bring a sense of flow, joy & deep aliveness
Striving for good health and a healthy engagement with life is about striving for balance. The Whole-Life Fitness wheel is a great place to initiate life balance. You can take a closer look at my fitness wheel here. You can visualise the wheel as a starting place for working towards your own health, wellbeing and whole-life fitness goals.
Here are some questions you might want to ponder this week, as we enter the busy festive season.
How can I nurture my inner life more?
Am I looking after my emotional health, and giving myself adequate time to rest, be in the moment, and be still?
Am I making time to connect with the things that matter most to me; the activities and experiences that bring a sense of flow, joy and deep aliveness?
What are some things I can do in the next few weeks that will foster and nurture my inner wellbeing?
Wishing you blessings and inner nourishment this festive season! Keep an eye out for my third instalment of my 4 part wellbeing series in the next couple of weeks.
Much love for a beautiful season connecting with family, friends and those you love,