PRACTICAL TIPS AND LIFE SKILLS TO ENHANCE RESILIENCE
Today's Wellbeing Blog is very relevant during these pandemic times, most of the tips and skills come from men who completed the 18 Day Challenge/Positive Mentoring Program (available to upload on the free Well Man app) and shared their lived experience with other participants. You may find that some work and appeal to your sense of life and others may not and that is okay.
Resilience can be enhanced, it is your responsibility, it can be improved at any age and by taking charge you will find that life flows easier. Life is a roller coaster, there will always be ups and downs, it is decreasing the bandwidth that is the secret, huge highs and huge lows are very tiring. Celebrating the ups and learning from the downs so that they are never repeated is a life skill.
Getting active makes you feel better, before launching into a fitness routine check with your Doctor to see if it is okay to do so. If you are starting a new routine take it easy for the first few weeks and then slowly build up the intensity. Upload the free Well Man app and check out the physical challenges to get an idea how much to complete.
You definitely feel better if you become more active and get out into the fresh air. Loosing a few kilograms also inspires you to become more resilient. Drink plenty of water when exercising to maintain hydration and wear sunscreen if you are out in the sun during the daytime.
Ian's Story (68 years young)
Ian accessed our services when he found his energy levels were continually getting lower. After listening to his story we suggested that he should join the Positive Mentoring Program to get moving. The program involved riding a mountain bike to a coffee shop for a coffee and chat. Ian embraced this opportunity and started to loose some extra kilo's and made friends with other participants that he met outside of the program. Suddenly the energy started to return as well as a inner glow of happiness. It is easy to get into habits of over eating and not exercising.
Imagine a box around your heart, close your eyes and start by breathing clockwise from the top right hand corner of the box for the count of 6, hold the breath for 6 while traveling down the side of the box, exhale along the bottom of the box for 6 and then hold your breath for 6 and start the routine again. The beauty of this style of breathing is that it engages your mind and body, it is very calming and with practice brings peace to the whole being.
John's Story (39 years old)
John suffers from severe anxiety and he came in for a chat. I used box breathing in my golfing days and asked John if he was keen to give it a try. Long story short John uses box breathing daily, it is not a fix all but he says it does take the edge off life.
Find a quiet park, beach or bush-land where you can sit down and focus into your senses. Complete some box breathing with your eyes closed for a few minutes and clear the mind of any chatter. Open your eyes, what can you see?, listen attentively, what can you hear?, touch the ground, what does it feel like?, taste the air, what does it smell like?.
Simply engaging the senses increases the impact of nature on our wellbeing, breathing deeply softens the thought process and allows a little quiet time in the mind.
My story ( mentally 35! physically a senior)
For the past 12 years I have been working with men in distress. It can take its toll if you hold on to everyone's distress. My way to release the pressure is to find a quiet beach with Sully and sit down under a palm tree in the shade and close my eyes and engage the senses. I find looking out to sea very comforting, the sound of the waves, tasting salt in the air and feeling the sand with my hands. I use the box breathing routine to slow the world down.
Get involved with your local community by volunteering, contact your local council or look into the Yellow pages for organisations that place volunteers in your area. Giving to other is very therapeutic and feeds the inner soul. It also gives you a sense of value that you are contributing to society, there are plenty of Not for Profit organisations that are always seeking volunteers to run events. For you it may be an opportunity to learn a new skill and meet new friends.
Bishop's Story (65 years old)
Bishop came into the office seeking assistance to as he said it "fill his days in". He had recently retired from a high profile job and after 3 months was totally bored with his life. He confessed that his job was his identity and he had not really made any plans for retirement. Bishop was sent to a volunteering organisation in our town, who had him volunteering at 3 different locations for a weekly total of 15 hours. Bishop came into the office after a couple of months and thanked us for filling in his days and giving him a purpose.
This remedy comes in form of a mantra that was shared with me by a brother who had suffered much trauma and pain through a life that included the depression, wars and personal loss. It is a simple recipe that costs nothing but delivers huge gains in personal stability, joy, ease and grace.
THE MANTRA: SMILE - LAUGH - BE GRATEFUL
Share your smiles with people on a daily basis, it is a gift that keeps on giving. Laugh out aloud and from the belly, beware this can be contagious and finally be grateful for what you have, who you are with and where you live.
Jack's Story (Now deceased)
Jack is a bloke who you would like as a best mate, I was lucky to spend some time with him, he came in regularly for a coffee and a chat and shared his story. Jack was a survivor and I asked him one day "how did you keep going?" In his quiet voice he replied "Happiness is the Remedy", even if you have to fake it for a short while. Small attitude changes create major life gains. Even under duress Jack smiled and cracked a joke for his comrades to laugh about, he would on a weekly basis make a list of things that he was grateful for, this could be as simple as food and water. Learn from Jack I did.
Take responsibility for your resilience.