Resiliency. Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.

Resiliency. In the simplest of terms, it is the ability to experience all ranges of positive and negative experiences and emotional states and being able to not just tolerate those states and extremes, but to be able to come back to a baseline. Baseline is a calm, centered, relaxed state of being. Our baseline is where we operate most efficiently and are at our healthiest.

The goal is not to be a robot or a Stepford where you exist in a state of positivity and happiness, never experiencing anything else or refusing to feel discomfort. We are human beings and part of the human experience is to be able to move through all available emotions.

Typically we don’t like being uncomfortable and so we tend to run away from feelings that are negative and experiences are uncomfortable. This isn’t resiliency. This is avoidance, denial, and/or fear. Resiliency is built by meeting challenge head on and moving through it and then recovering. We build resiliency through trudging through the negative and unfamiliar and by savouring the victories in between.

Keys to Increasing Resiliency:

1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

This means not running away when you feel uncomfortable. Accept new challenges, move forward through uncertainty, allow yourself to feel negative emotions, have the courage to have intense discussions. Stop running. Stop avoiding. Learn how to ground yourself and tolerate discomfort and push yourself through. Learn how to hold your center and how to return to baseline.

You might need help and support for this and that’s ok, but it’s an invaluable skill to be able to self regulate and the only way to increase your capacity.

Make sure your reactions are proportionate to the event. Make sure you don’t steep too long in negative emotions or mindsets – but don’t be afraid of them. Learn to tolerate and then move out of it.

2. Savour your victories.

Start taking the time savour and linger over the positive moments and emotions in your life. The highs are there for a reason – learn to tolerate that level of energy as well and stay in it. It’s easy to bounce out and move onto the next thing but to really be balanced you need to also be able to accept praise, excitement, and validation. Anxiety and excitement can feel the same and so some people find themselves running away from really positive moments because it feels overwhelming.

Again, check that it’s congruent to the event, and dip your toes in – and then experiment with  keeping them there for longer than usual. Soon you’ll be able to jump in and savour long moments of satisfaction and joy. The goal is to be able to increase your time on this swing of the pendulum. Don’t rush out of these.

3. Don’t spaz out over triggers. 

Triggers are normal. They are those unexpected memories and moments in our lives that remind us of past events. They can derail us and take us from a positive state into negative thoughts and emotions in an instant. Take the power away from them. Know your triggers and don’t fuel the fear by racing from them. This just increases anxiety. Notice the emotions. Consciously bring awareness to them – allow them to be present in this moment. You can tolerate this – remind yourself of this. This is you being alive and human and surviving everything up to this moment.

The key is not to stay there or wallow in that state for too long. Start looking at your history of victories – all the things that have happened since that past event that have brought you to this moment. Reframe this moment by reminding yourself that you are not in the past moment, that this is now and in this moment you have survived whatever that struggle or pain was. Reflect on the victory.

Recognize that in your humanness you were designed to feel every range of emotions in the spectrum of possibility. Allow this. Have gratitude for the ability to experience the fullness of life.

Take the time to allow all emotions. Know that you can tolerate it.

Bring awareness to your own process and your own patterns. Start experiencing those states but not staying in them.

Savour the best parts of the day and end each day with those. Start moving your focus to strength, positivity, gratitude – make this a habit. Notice how your emotions shift when you do this. Notice the sensations in your physical body as you do this. And it will get easier the more you do it.

Being comfortable with being uncomfortable increases your resiliency not numbing out or running away. Painful, discouraging, and disappointing moments and struggles are going to come up – use these as opportunities to consciously choose how to move through them. Have faith in your ability to tolerate what is uncomfortable and push through it to get what you want and where you want to be.

What moments have your savoured this week? Let me know! tara@westkelownacounselling.com