Feel The Force: Cultivating Your Energy To Build Resilience
A hot topic that is being thrown around the corporate arena, the entrepreneurial space, and even in schools lately, is being resilient, so we’re taking a look at the energy needed for resilience in all walks of life.
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What is resilience?
It's the ability to bounce back when you fall off-track, or for something to come back into shape. The problem is, we’ve realised too many people don’t have the energy to do so. Instead, people tend to feel ashamed and end up making a list of excuses and blaming their lack of energy on something else.
It seems most people nowadays don’t even have the bandwidth to handle one little thing that knocks them off track. They run like a spinning top and all it takes is for someone to just tap them, and they fall down.
Change your habits, change your energy levels
To understand why you might be lacking the energy to bounce back, you first need to understand your habits. When you’ve had a bad day, what’s your go-to? Which habit do you turn to? For some people it’s chocolate, for others it’s alcohol or gossiping and complaining. Even drugs and depression can come into play - they are still considered a habit.
When you understand the habit that you turn to in negative times, it’s easier to start flipping the switch. Quite often, just flipping the habit is enough to create the big shift you need to drum up more energy that will enable you to pick yourself back up.
A different type of training
Now, most people reading this will immediately think, “Whoa, I’ve got to do more resilience training.” But I (Shane) have often found that when you build and cultivate your personal energy, and release any blockages from your body and mind, you’re better able to absorb the knock backs. Your bandwidth opens up and you have greater space in the body.
Just look at martial arts; they teach the ability to absorb a blow and/or create space so that you can manoeuvre yourself. So it’s no different.
Even in Star Trek movies, the spaceships have deflector shields that absorb the attack, but they need power to power up the shields. That’s what we’re talking about: getting the goods to be able to power up your shields.
Using your body to overcome obstacles
Having the ability to boost your energy enough to overcome your greatest obstacles may seem like it’s out of reach, but there are lots of ways of doing it. The best way is to start at the core.
Your body is the first place you can start to build your energy, and it’s important that you do because it can have a real effect on not just yourself, but those around you too.
Just think about it, if you’ve got crappy health, you’ve been eating crappy food and then someone says something crappy to you, you’re like a ticking bomb and people can feel it. There are a lot of scientific studies on this, but one area we find particularly interesting in sleep.
We listen to a podcast by Matthew Walker (and we recommend that you do too), who’s an expert on sleep. He says studies have shown that loneliness actually deflects people because people can recognise when you’re lonely and when you’re energy is down - there’s no power for your shield.
Mapping out your physical energy: the four key elements
When it comes to cultivating the energy to power your shield, it helps to delve deeper into understanding in which areas or things in life you spend most of your mental and emotional energy. It could be courage, integrity, trust, love or joy - these are all big areas.
Sorting the physical energy is actually quite easy. There are four key elements of your physical energy. The first is being able to boost your own personal energy, which we’ve talked about a lot in other podcast episodes. The main ways to do that are with your breathing, grounding yourself, eating the right food, exercising, getting enough water; they are all the go-to areas if you want to boost your personal energy.
The second element of your physical energy is the ability to deflect. So, if someone is having a bad day they might throw things at you, but you don’t have to react. One thing that helps us with this is just taking a deep breath before answering as it gives us the space to either absorb it or deflect it. You can realise that perhaps that person is just dealing with their own stuff and you can just leave them to it.
That takes us onto the next element of physical energy, which is the skill of letting go. This is a big one for me because I (Angie) used to be somebody who never let things go and I would end up getting very angry and feeling annoyed for a long time. We’re all human so it can still happen every now and then. Now, I use my breath to literally let go. When I take a deep breath and exhale, it starts to uncouple the energy that is attached to the argument.
Finally, the fourth element is knowing when to rest and when to take action. This is something that is very important because everybody has a tendency to take action straight away but sometimes the best thing you can do is stop the war first. Take a moment to step away from it and take action when you know your body is ready to.
Connecting to your body
Once you have your physical energy mapped out you can take a look at your mental energy again. You’ll find that once everything is in place physically, you have the energy to start applying courage, or to really trust in a seemingly untrustworthy world. That in turn opens you up to the ability to love and be loved.
We have a mantra that we live by in our house: ‘powered by joy’. You’ll feel this way when you feel good in your body, your energy is up, and even if someone says something crappy to you, it’ll just slide right off, like water off a duck’s back.
From there, you’ll be more open to responsibility and can choose to take responsibility for the things you need to do in your own life, and let others choose whether to take responsibility for themselves or not.
Everything we’ve discussed may sound simple, but it’s not easy and it does take a lot of work which can only be done by you. Wondering where to start? Step one is getting connected to your body. Once you become connected to your body, you're able to start to cultivate that physical energy first. You’ll also have an inherent sense of strength and confidence about you.
Personally, I (Angie) am less likely to be knocked over by somebody’s off-the-cuff comment when I’m connected to my body. I am stronger in intuition and balanced in my ego that I don’t feel the need to defend myself or allow myself to be bruised.
Feeling the force
The biggest lesson we’ve learned is we have the option to choose to create experiences that are uncomfortable but that strengthen us. We call this, The Force.
I (Shane) had many uncomfortable experiences in my military career. We went through battle inoculation, carried packs around for hundreds of kilometres and being mentally and emotionally abused. It doesn’t have to be like that; you don’t have to wait for something to be forced on you.
The problem is, people tend to associate being uncomfortable with being in pain but you can lean on discomfort. For example, we our big fans of ice baths. They are perfect for making yourself uncomfortable but being in control: it’s resilience training 101. On top of that, ice baths have a whole lot of physical benefits - feel-good hormones flood into your body, your body revs up its survival mode that enables you to cultivate your physical strength too.
The important thing to remember is that pain is just a resistance to letting go. It’s a resistance to a natural process.
I (Angie) think this is especially true when it comes to childbirth. I believe women feel a sense of resilience once they have given birth. You don’t have to go through childbirth to experience resilience, but when you do, if you let go and trust your body to let it do what it’s supposed to, you’ll be able to create that feeling.
When you can create that feeling of resilience by connecting with your own personal energy, being able to deflect when you need to, letting go of tension, and knowing when to rest and when to take action, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the knockbacks of everyday life, both at work and at home.
Remember, you already have the skills needed because it’s naturally inherent in your body, it’s just about tapping into those skills by applying those four concepts.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are 4 ways we can help you feel better:
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