Right now, in this time of isolation, we have a wonderful opportunity to learn and to work on skills that can benefit us long term. Resilience is not something you either have or you don’t have, it is a set of skills that are worthy of practicing.
So, what is resilience?
Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulties or a crisis. Resilience enables us to keep our lives in balance through those stressful or difficult times and can protect us against development of mental health issues.
Those of us who with chronic conditions like neuropathy build resilience by regularly practicing the skills required Goodness knows, we have enough stress and difficult times we can use as fodder to practice with.
Dr. Lucy Hone, the Director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, spoke in November 2019 at a TEDx Talk on, what she called, the three secrets of resilient people.
First, resilient people know that bad stuff happens (to everyone). Knowing this helps resilient people not feel singled out for the bad stuff. Neuropathy sufferers know we will have pain today; we will fall down or get injured; and, we will become frustrated or sad because of things we can no longer do. We know this. I, for example, can no longer easily walk up a flight of stairs, stand for long periods, always get to sleep, or work full-time. Those who are resilient know this is how it is.
Second, resilient people put continually “tune into the good” in their life. We’ve heard this before its about finding gratitude, even in the smallest things. I can still walk up the stairs. If I need to, I can stop part way and pet my chubby, white fluffy dog who practically lives on stair #7 for a break.
Finally, Dr. Hone explains the best secret of all: Asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing now helping me or hurting me?” In other words, “Is what I’m doing, the way I’m thinking or the way I’m acting helping or hurting?” I’ve not hearD this before, but I can certainly see the value. When I’m working in the kitchen or garden long enough that ‘things’ are starting to ache, I already know the answer: hurting! Using this secret will give me a reason to pause and adjust accordingly. In other words, use pacing.
You can Watch Dr. Hone on YouTube. It’s well worth the 16 minutes.
Linda is an independent information technology business analyst and Vice President of the CNA.