Resilience Resources Weekly: Resilience Training

by Katie Clare, Associate Director for Resilience Programs, University Life

Resilience Resources Weekly: Resilience Training

Southwick and Charney encourage us to train regularly and rigorously in multiple areas to strengthen our resilience. We all know that to develop new habits and commit them to muscle memory, we must practice regularly. That said, knowing does not always align with doing. Resilience is no different. We must commit to resilience training to see positive changes happen in our lives.

For example, just because we are living through a time that asks us to be resilient doesn’t mean that we become resilient by default. This brings us to training rigorously. It might help to think about this as dedication or enthusiasm. After all, this is not just about how long or how hard you train. It’s not about training to the point of exhaustion. It’s about training with intention. Your mindset has a big role to play when it comes to being and becoming resilient.

You can't achieve long-term change without commitment. Simply checking the box for completion isn't enough. As you think about regular, rigorous training, think about the work as cross training to push the edges of your comfort zone out a little further. Here are some approaches to consider as you engage in this resilience training. 

Physical Endurance

Regular, rigorous training is important, but so is variety. After all, it can be hard to maintain enthusiasm with the same day-to-day experience. Plus, when it comes to physical well-being, our bodies may not benefit from doing the same exercise in the same way each time. Consider this piece about adding variety to our physical fitness strategies. If this week is about pushing outside of the comfort zone to ensure a well-rounded resilience, what does that mean here? If your strategy is strength training and you forget to stretch, build some stretching into your week. If your strategy is aerobic exercise and you rarely add in the strength training of push-ups or sit-ups, this is the week to do it.

Emotional Intelligence

Cross-training to develop resilience is not just about physical well-being. Spend 30 minutes this week developing a richer understanding of emotional intelligence through this LinkedIn Learning opportunity with super snippets from people like Daniel Goleman, Amy Cuddy, and Alan Alda. Scratch the surface by just engaging in the learning session, or push yourself by making an honest assessment of your relationship to emotional intelligence and identifying how you might grow here. Do you take time this week to dive into one of Daniel Goleman’s four domains based on interest or need? Do you commit to engage the strategies presented by one of the other speakers? Regardless of your choice, you will benefit from the work as long as you take it seriously.

A Learning Outlook

If you’re looking for something new to read, consider Eric Langshur and Nate Klemp’s Start Here. This exploration of emotional fitness is based in science and offers a variety of strategies, including meditation, movement, inquiry, gratitude, and more. You can get a taste of what they have to offer by checking out their website and completing their Life XT assessment. The variety of ways they approach emotional fitness provides a great example of well-rounded, regular, rigorous training.

You might consider this pre-pandemic piece from the Harvard Business Review that encourages learning something new as a stress management strategy. The article urges you to replace common ways of dealing with stress such as “pushing through” or “getting away” with an option focused on learning. Whether you feel stressed from the pandemic or simply want to increase your resilience, identify something you want to learn and get started. To build your resilience and give your mind a new challenge to focus on, push through the false starts of learning something new and persist through the inevitable learning curve.

Sleep

Finally, in support of all this training, remember the critical role sleep plays in the learning process and in being resilient, too. This week you might cross-train with a focus on sleep. Perhaps you assess the quality of sleep each morning to see what takeaways might come from the inquiry to improve the next night of sleep. Perhaps you limit screen time, especially leaving the hour before bed free of technology. Perhaps you refrain from bringing your phone into the bedroom. Perhaps you see what happens when you take a 20-minute power nap in the afternoon. With countless ways to tweak the quality and quantity of your sleep, maybe this is your commitment space for the week.  Remember the keys to sleep training are to be regular and rigorous in your efforts and to maintain a clear understanding of why you're training. Keeping your reasons for training in mind can help to maintain your motivation and enthusiasm.