Resilience For Dummies

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2021-03-03
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Activate your natural ability to thrive with Resilience For Dummies

Stress, anxiety, and exhaustion are all-too-common features of our crazy-paced, curveball-throwing contemporary existence, and it's sometimes hard to see how we can make it from one week to the next intact. But there's a solution to the struggle: resilience! In Resilience For Dummies, Dr. Eva Selhub—former Harvard Medical School instructor and director of the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital for six years—outlines the proven steps we can all take toward optimal resilience to build healthier, more purposeful, and increasingly joyful lives.

The six pillars of resilience are: physical vitality, emotional equilibrium, mental toughness and clarity, spiritual purpose, healthy personal relationships, and being an inspiring leader and part of a wider community or team. Dr. Selhub explains why each of these foundations is crucial to flourishing, how fortifying them gives us a base for attacking stress, hardship, and failure head-on, and how this confrontation then develops the strength we need for transformative change within our personal and professional lives.

  • Know how genetics, education, and culture contribute to resilience
  • Avoid learned helplessness and the victim mindset
  • Harmonize stress and make it work for you
  • Clear negative emotions and find your bliss
  • Build up your physical, mental, and spiritual muscles

Dr. Selhub's six pillars of resilience show you how to channel your inner strength, face down whatever trouble comes your way, and come out thriving on the other side.

Author Biography

Dr. Eva Selhub (Newtownville, MA) is a resiliency expert, consultant, speaker, and author. She taught for 20 years as an instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and she served as the Medical Director for Massachusetts General Hospital for six years. Dr. Selhub believes that resilience doesn't arise from change in a single factor, rather in her coaching she uses science, spirit, fitness, and corporate challenges. Dr. Selhub is the author of multiple titles and has been published in journals and The New York Times.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 2

Beyond the Book 3

Where to Go from Here 3

Part 1: Getting Started with Resilience 5

Chapter 1: Embarking on the Journey to Resilience 7

Resilience is for Everyone 7

What Determines Resilience? 8

Your genes 9

Childhood development 9

Culture 10

Psychological outlook 10

Coping habits 11

Social support 11

Humor 12

Spirituality 12

What Resilience is Not 12

The victim mindset 13

Learned helplessness 14

Hopelessness 15

Breaking the Victim Cycle 16

Cultivating the Six Pillars of Resilience 17

Developing physical hardiness 18

Achieving emotional equilibrium 18

Boosting mental clarity and toughness 18

Enriching spiritual connection 19

Establishing healthy relationships 19

Belonging to a community and becoming a leader 20

Chapter 2: The Basis of Resilience: Harmony Versus Stress 21

Without Stress, You Would Be Dead 21

The Perpetual Quest for Harmony 22

Examining the Stress Response Feedback Loop 23

Fight-or-flight 23

The feedback loop 24

Living in Disharmony: The Real Stress 25

Expecting a Good Outcome is the Key 26

Believing in Possible 27

Coping to Adapt, or Not 28

Maladaptive coping 29

Adaptive coping 30

Harmonizing Stress and Becoming Resilient 30

Quieting the stress response 31

Being open to learn and understand 31

Building and restoring 32

Chapter 3: The First Pillar: Physical Vitality and Flexibility 33

What Fitness Has to Do with Resilience 33

What Good is Success If You’re Sick or Dead? 34

Taking Survival of the Fittest for What It’s Worth 35

Using It or Losing It 36

Fueling Your Immune System 37

Assembling the Components for Physical Hardiness 38

Sleeping restfully 38

Eating a nutrient-rich diet 40

Engaging in physical activity 43

Relaxing and meditating 45

Aligning with nature 46

Chapter 4: The Second Pillar: Developing Mental Toughness and Clarity 49

What Kind of Mindset Do Resilient People Have? 50

Fixed Versus Growth Mindsets When It Comes to Resilience 51

Developing Mental Toughness 52

Getting in control 53

Making a commitment 55

Embracing challenges 56

Being confident 57

Accessing Mental Clarity 58

Chapter 5: The Third Pillar: Achieving Emotional Equilibrium 61

Emotions Exist for a Very Good Reason 61

How Emotions Influence Perception and Coping 63

Evaluating Your Feelings 64

Choosing to Manage Your Emotions 65

Calming Your Emotions By Calming the Stress Response 67

Shifting to Positive Detachment and Reappraisal 68

Enhancing Your Self-Awareness and Willingness to Grow 69

Always Choosing Love 70

Chapter 6: The Fourth Pillar: Cultivating Spirituality 71

What is Spirituality Beyond Religion? 71

Why Spirituality Supports Resilience 73

Recognizing the Power of Awe 74

Searching for Purpose 75

Accepting the Mystery and Process of Life 76

Becoming Peaceful through Humility 77

Expressing Loving Kindness 78

Finding Stillness 79

Feeling Lucky 80

Showing Compassion 81

Chapter 7: The Fifth Pillar: Striving for Quality Relationships 83

Enjoying the Journey, Even When It Hurts 84

Recognizing That It All Starts with a Relationship with Yourself 85

Choosing to Commit 86

Building Trust 88

Showing Respect 90

Establishing Healthy Boundaries 91

Improving Conscious Communication 93

Expressing Empathy 94

Giving and Receiving 95

Chapter 8: The Sixth Pillar: Belonging to a Community or Team 97

Recognizing How Community Fosters Individual Resilience 98

Becoming Stronger and Better Together 100

Stepping into Leadership 102

Sharing Values 104

Showing Respect 104

Building Trust 105

Being Able to Improvise 106

Finding Motivation 107

Having Fun 108

Part 2: Laying the Foundation 109

Chapter 9: The Practice of Listening: Quieting and Sharpening Your Senses 111

Deciding to Tune In to the Senses 112

Engaging in the Art of Listening 113

Being Aware of Stress Signals 114

Establishing Calm 115

The quieting breath 116

Experimenting with your breath 116

Practicing mindfulness as a calming tool 118

Listening to Your Body 121

Scanning the body 122

Mindfully tuning into empathy 124

Listening with Compassion 125

Developing self-compassion 125

Practicing compassion meditation 126

Chapter 10: The Practice of Gaining Deeper Insight 129

What is Insight? 129

Seeking Truth: The Journey to Insight 130

Quieting the Mind 132

Tapping into Intuition 133

Clearing the static 134

Mindfully tuning in 135

Enlivening Curiosity 136

Ask questions 137

Switch up the questions and give them direction 138

Relax into not knowing 138

Improve reception by being more receptive 138

Digging In to Emotions 139

Analyzing Insights to Make Decisions 141

Articulate the problem 142

Clarify objectives 143

Do some research 143

Activate your whole brain 143

Take a break 144

Make connections 144

Gaining Wisdom to Ask More Questions 144

Chapter 11: The Practice of Shifting Your Mindset 147

Co-Creating Your Life 148

Becoming Aware of Limiting Beliefs 149

Watching Your Words 150

“I can’t” 150

“Always” and “never” 151

“Should” 151

“I can do that, but____” 152

“This is who I am” 153

Introducing Stories 153

Scenario 1: Feeling insulted vs eager to learn 155

Scenario 2: Feeling shame vs accountable 155

Awareness exercise: Using emotions to tell a story 156

Challenging Assumptions 159

Toughening Up Mentally 160

Milking Meaning from Hardship 162

Step 1: Find lessons and inspiration 162

Step 2: Reappraise your story 163

Step 3: Count your blessings 163

Step 4: Ask for help 164

Step 5: Remember victories 164

Step 6: Take care 164

Step 7: Connect with love and awe 165

Changing Attitude to Optimism 165

Step 1: Practice mindfulness 165

Step 2: Change your words 166

Step 3: Deepen your connection with a force larger than yourself 166

Step 4: Shift your attitude to gratitude 167

Step 5: Be your own coach 168

Step 6: Enjoy the adventure 169

Part 3: Evaluating and Strengthening Relationships 171

Chapter 12: Improving Your Relationship with Yourself 173

Connecting Resilience with Self-Worth 174

Believing in Your Worth 175

Noting Self-Criticism 176

Evaluating Your Self-Value 177

Starting to Take Action 179

Practicing self-awareness 179

Making a conscious choice 180

Celebrating yourself 181

Keeping an inventory 182

Accepting and being your unique self 183

Holding on to your vision 184

Being loving toward yourself 184

Taking Care of YOU 185

Nourish yourself with nutrient-rich food 186

Exercise and stay active 186

Connect with support 186

Quiet your mind 187

Heal through your negative emotions 187

Have fun! 188

Appreciate all that you have and all that you are 188

It’s okay to rest 189

Allowing Love In 189

Chapter 13: Creating Quality Relationships 193

What Constitutes a Quality Relationship? 193

Evaluating Your Relationships 195

Making a list 195

Determining your level of commitment 196

Examining respect and healthy boundaries 198

Assessing trust and reliance 199

Evaluating communication and empathy 200

Taking a good look at reciprocity 201

Building Lasting Social Bonds 202

Communicating with presence and curiosity 202

Building trust and reliance 203

Supporting and being supported 204

Accepting and acknowledging 205

Settling differences 206

Investing time in and time out 207

Strengthening Bonds by Sharing 208

Sharing news and gratitude 209

Sharing goals and dreams 209

Sharing worries and fears 209

Sharing adventures 210

Sharing the mundane 210

Sharing physical contact 210

Sharing hearts 210

Chapter 14: Building a Resilient Community 213

Determining Who Your People Are 213

Evaluating Your Communities 214

Making a list 214

Sharing values 215

Committing to shared goals 216

Combining resources 217

Contributing and cooperating equally 217

Communicating effectively 218

Displaying sensitivity and empathy 218

Encouraging and celebrating 219

Exemplifying fairness and inclusivity 219

Having trusted leaders 219

Creating the Foundation for Your Community 220

Getting everyone to buy in on the goals 221

Aligning core values 222

Putting the right people in the right roles 224

Improving communication 227

Establishing guidelines for fairness and inclusivity 231

Chapter 15: Becoming a Resilient Leader 233

The Making of a Resilient Leader 233

What is Your Style of Leadership? 235

Questions regarding leadership to ask yourself 235

Appraising your sphere of influence 235

Evaluating your resilience as a leader 237

Embracing Challenges and Change 240

Becoming comfortable being uncomfortable 241

Facing the fear of doing something risky 241

Find your way home after getting lost 242

Starting with a clean slate 242

Heading the other way 243

Going with the flow 243

Creating Your Vision 244

Clearing and opening the mind 244

Visualizing the future 245

Writing out the story of success 246

Defining goals and objectives 246

Creating the strategic plan 247

Communicating the vision 248

Being a Trusted Leader 249

Taking Care and Being Self-Aware 251

The 5-minute morning meditation 252

Practicing gratitude 253

Part 4: Putting Resilience into Action 255

Chapter 16: Fueling the Mind and Body 257

Making Fitness a Priority 257

Taking care of your body’s whispers before it screams 258

Evaluating your vitality 260

Improving Your Metabolism 263

Understanding metabolic flexibility 263

Taking charge of your metabolism 265

Cutting down on sugar 265

Boosting your metabolism with antioxidants 266

Trying intermittent fasting 266

Keeping the microbiome happy 266

Challenging your body with a variety of physical exercises 267

Getting Functional with Your Movement 267

Integrating five key functional movements 267

Playing isn’t just for kids 270

Taking Time Out for Recovery 271

Losing guilt and embracing love 272

Quieting the mind 272

Getting restful, quality sleep 272

Chapter 17: Organizing Your Environment 273

Benefitting from Being More Organized 274

Taking Stock of the Obstacles to Organization 275

Freeing Up 276

Freeing up your mind 276

Managing your time 278

Decluttering Your Physical Space 281

Harmonizing Your Environment 283

Clearing and creating an open space 283

Placing furniture or key items facing the door 284

Letting the light in 284

Shutting the lid where water drains 284

Bringing in green 284

Balancing with nature’s elements 285

Chapter 18: Resilience in Action at Work 289

Fostering Optimism 290

Seeing challenges as opportunities 291

Seeing value everywhere and in everyone 293

Embracing failure and setbacks 294

Choosing Balance 295

Bringing meditation into your work life 296

Getting unplugged 297

Establishing an organized approach to managing tasks 298

Getting a life 299

Strengthening Networks of Support 300

Chapter 19: Resilience in the Family 303

Developing the Core Framework 304

Sharing beliefs 304

Being organized 304

Effectively communicating 305

Setting an Example 305

Adopting Shared Beliefs 308

Enhancing optimism 308

Finding meaning together 310

Making spirituality a family affair 311

Establishing Organization and Structure 313

Strengthening connectedness 313

Creating structure with flexibility 314

Forming networks of support 315

Enhancing Communication 316

Being clear and direct 316

Regulating and expressing emotions 318

Solving problems together 319

Part 5: The Part of Tens 321

Chapter 20: Ten Tips to Help Your Kids Cope with Stress and Change 323

Taking a Pause and Calming the Worry 323

Being a Role Model 324

Maintaining Open Channels of Communication 325

Teaching Others How to Self-Calm 326

Facing Fears Together 327

Getting Organized 327

Unplugging and Descheduling 328

Learning to Embrace Change 329

Solving Problems Together 330

Finding Support 331

Chapter 21: Ten Tips for Using Nature to Become Resilient 333

Using Green for Therapy 333

Enhancing Spirituality 334

Clearing Your Head 334

Exercising Green 335

Practicing Mindfulness 336

Cultivating a Garden 336

Eating with the Seasons 337

Bringing Nature into Your Home 337

Using Nature to Relax and Play 338

Enjoying a Getaway 339

Index 341

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