20 Ways to Become More Resilient

Well-being Mindmap
Daveís personal well-being roadmap

If weíre going to try to save the world and stuff, we need to stay well, and loose. Grief and sorrow for the suffering of Gaia are perfectly understandable, and thereís no point denying what we feel or what we know, but getting angry and worked up (like I do too often) is just a waste of time and energy, and can make you sick. So here, from various people who are much better at it than I am, are twenty Let-Self-Change ways to become more resilient. The first ten are physical techniques, the second ten social; Iíve indicated what works for me (WWFM) for the first fifteen, while the last five Iíve made really limited progress on:

  1. Pay Attention to Your Body: Listen to it, and it will tell you what you need, and what you need to do. We’re all different, so don’t pay much heed to conventional wisdom and popular cures. WWFM: My watch beeps lightly once an hour, and that’s my cue to pay attention to how I feel, how I’m standing or sitting (badly, too often), what I’m ignoring (my thirst, most often).
  2. Exercise: It doesnít much matter what kind — anything that will make you sweat for at least 30 minutes at least 3 times a week will do. Our bodies were not built to be inactive, and working out is a great stress-buster. WWFM: Running in the back yard beside the forest, with PucPuc, who’s back after six weeks’ hibernation.
  3. Eat Properly: The right foods, lots of variety, balance, micro-nutrient rich, not too much, etc. Whatever works for you. Some people swear by fasting, but not me. WWFM: vegetarian foods, especially nuts, beans, and berries and other fruits.
  4. Drink Lots of the Right Stuff: Break the sweetened beverage habit, including processed ‘juices’ that have more sugar than juice. Here’s a great guide to what to drinkWWFM: tea, smoothies (just fruit and ice).
  5. Get Your Endorphins Flowing: But choose healthy ways to do so (sex, dark chocolate, exercise, laughter, crying, light, beauty, the company of animals and babies, play, music), not the unhealthy ways (masochism, sleep deprivation, sugar). WWFM: all of the above healthy ways.
  6. Rediscover Natural Posture: This comes from paying attention to your body, and is revealed not only how you stand and sit, but how you walk, sleep, run, and stretch. Yoga works for most people, and physiotherapy can help undo past damage. WWFM: standing all day at my desk, with appropriate footwear, cushioning, stretching and moving around.
  7. Reconnect With Nature, Your Senses and Your Instincts: Become a part of Gaia, and share the joy of all-life-on-Earth. This reconnection can prevent you from taking everything personally, especially responsibility for everything wrong with the world. Do exercises to practice focusing and strengthening your senses and trusting your instincts. WWFM: birdwatching.
  8. Find Relaxation Techniques That Work: Meditation does it for some, but not me, at least so far. Massage is a great alternative, including shower massage and the hot tub. WWFM: Focused thinking on some problem or possible article while I’m moving (running, driving, on the train).
  9. Perk Up Your Appearance: There’s a lot to be said for looking good as a way of feeling good, as long as you don’t make yourself sick (or broke) doing it. It can help you like yourself more, and also get you a little more attention and appreciation, which we all need. Animals groom each other, which has the double benefit of improving appearance and connection. WWFM: OK, I confess: I can’t pass a mirror without looking at myself, and smiling: I like what I see.
  10. Get Lots of Rest: We all need restful sleep, but we also need some time just to unwind and do nothing, to rest our minds. WWFM: 8 hours’ sleep a night. And, even though Chelsea is no longer around to keep me company, sitting at the top of the hill in the back yard, night or day, just watching, listening, smelling, tasting, feeling, and nothing more.
  11. Company: Surround yourself with loving people and animals and love them back. Look for new companions to love. It’s impossible to love too many. Network deeply. Reach out and touch those you care for and let them touch you. Be utterly honest with your company, but don’t be needy: Take only what’s given freely. WWFM: my readers, although I really don’t know why you put up with me!
  12. Get Past Regrets For What is Done: There is nothing more tragic than wasting your life thinking of what might have been. WWFM: I try to focus mostly on the present (‘in the moment’) and a bit on the future (what’s coming up that’s fun, organizing social events).
  13. Give Yourself Time and Space: Try to avoid stressful people and situations, and to stay away from crowds (who aggregate in deceptively lonely places). Make time to do things that are important and not urgent, to reflect, to get things in order and put things in perspective. WWFM: My new contract job: low-stress, fixed hours, caring people. And walking in wilderness, and in the neighbourhood after it rains.
  14. Think for Yourself: I’ve said enough about this lately. Try to be nobody but yourself, and donít be afraid to be different. Stop competing with other people, especially on their terms. WWFM: With my ego and wild imagination, this has never been a problem.
  15. Avoid Bad News That is Not Actionable: Turn it off, it is incessant and will only make you feel worse, and helpless. WWFM: I donít read newspapers or watch TV news. Instead, I rely on you, dear readers, to filter and tell me what I need to know that is actionable. Exception: I read the local community paper, because it’s about things I can influence.

Now we get to the five things I don’t do well, though it’s not for lack of trying.

  1. Learn What Gets to You and Self-Manage: This is different for each of us. For me itís people who are willfully ignorant, unthinking, dishonest, insensitive, unfair, unreasonable, or abuse power. I admire people who can catch themselves before they get angry; I can’t.
  2. Do Little, Personal, Generous Things: Things that make the world just a little better, every day. These acts pay huge dividends. I need to do more of them.
  3. Learn Self-Sufficiency: Learning to do things for yourself, like growing a thriving garden, making your own clothes, fixing your house and car. Being less helpless is good for your mental health as well as your pocketbook and your freedom from wage slavery. As my recent rant about my roof, my modem, and my insurance made clear, I have a long way to go here. 
  4. Intend: A genuine intention to Let-Self-Change leads to the first small step, which leads to all the others, which leads to accomplishment and exhilaration. Just begin.
  5. Give Yourself a Break: No one is in control. No one can save the world. I know you’re doing your best, against all kinds of obstacles. Give yourself some credit for what you’ve done, what you’ve learned, how you’ve made the world so much better for those you love and have loved.
Category: Let-Self-Change

Postscript for Those With Animal Companions: You’ve probably heard about the tens of millions of cans and pouches of dog and cat food recalled for possible poison contents, by the latest act of negligence by the food oligopoly, this time by a little-known Canadian-registered company (US-owned) that apparently sells the same crap to all the major oligopoly players in North America from Iams to Walmart No-name. So much for consumer choice. For a list of all 88 brands potentially affected, go here. This company has a record of rocky financial performance and has been implicated in animal cruelty in testing. Their entire website except the recall notice has suddenly disappeared; even the Google cache seems to have been wiped. Although it’s no longer possible to research, it would appear that the Canadian registration is a tax-dodge to exploit the now-canceled income trust loophole in Canadian tax regulations. The poisoning coincides with the use of a new (presumably cheaper) supplier of the grain filler that makes up most of what is sold as ‘premium’ pet food. Time to do your research and spare your pet the same toxic processed food oligopoly sludge you’re trying to wean yourself off. (Asyou can see, I’m still struggling with point 16 above.)

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6 Responses to 20 Ways to Become More Resilient

  1. Bruce Winter says:

    Dave thought this might be worth adding to your music collectionhttp://www.robinkelly.co.nz/site/acupil/files/01%20Track%201.mp3

  2. vishwa says:

    Hi dave. I’m a regular reader of your blog, though this is my first comment. Your writing comes across as deeply honest, informative and full of practical wisdom.This post is wonderful–Like your other posts, most of the points you mention can be applied immediately by anyone.

  3. David Parkinson says:

    Thanks. I find that #13 is a tough one to get away with. I’m convinced, though, that many people need far more solitude than they get — or than they allow themselves. It takes some getting used to: that feeling of “well, what do I do now?”; and I find myself looking around for a book, or something to keep myself occupied. But fighting through that to quietness and reflection is always worthwhile. We all need to try to spend more time thinking about what’s going on in our lives, the people we’re surrounded by, the communities we choose to be part of.

  4. Atumn Rain says:

    We all need to take baby steps in cleansing the planet of this poisenous toxic soup we are all swimming in. This is a great blog and I enjoyed every line of this post!Speaking of baby steps, I was watching ebay this morning for organic facial scrubs when I came across this refreshing itemIt warms my heart to at least see that someone is at least trying to make a difference! Especially coming from that awful place Alberta!!I am writing to see if he is interested in trading for a years worth of my homemade organic shampoo and a total-body holistic massage if he ever gets down to the SF Bay area!may refreshing rains cleanse your body and spirit

  5. Chris Almond says:

    David – what about feeding the soul? Where do you think spirituality plays into resiliency? I think you get closest to this in your list above with “Company” since churches and other forms or worship/faith are usually group oriented. It seems that for many many people they just don’t feel whole without spiritual grounding of some kind too. We so often do you hear about how person x gets that extra measure of resiliency when falling back on their own personal faith framework, in whatever form it takes.

  6. Pearl says:

    Valuable article. I’ll keep that around for reference. Glad to hear you’re being good to yourself Dave.

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