The Building Blocks of Resilience

Welcoming a new year can be exciting for some, but it can be bittersweet for others. On the one hand, it’s a clean slate that inspires us to leave the previous year’s troubles behind and start anew. On the other hand, it’s a reminder of the passage of time, which many of us don’t want to think about as we age.

While it’s true that life tends to become more difficult in many ways as we grow older, age does come with its perks, one of them being a propensity for resilience—the ability to recover from life’s setbacks. The longer we live, the more we build up our defenses against the world’s trials and tribulations, and with a little honing, this skill can become an incredibly powerful asset.

Here are some steps you can take to boost your resilience to enjoy a higher quality of life.

Take Care of Your Body

Illness and injury are an unfortunate fact of life, especially in older adults, but strong physical resilience makes health problems both quicker to recover from and less likely to come with long-lasting effects. There are two critical components to building and maintaining a resilient body: diet and exercise.

A diet designed for resilience should be rich in foods that promote a healthy immune system, and luckily, there is no shortage of tasty ingredients that meet this requirement. Citrus fruits, poultry, fish, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, garlic, ginger, and nuts are all excellent ingredients to incorporate into your meals. With such a wide variety to choose from, a pro-resilience diet can be compatible with any palate.

There are also plenty of options to choose from when it comes to exercise. The specific workout routine you do doesn’t matter; what’s important is simply that you move your body regularly to keep it strong and flexible. If you’re looking for a place to start, try attending our upcoming virtual events focusing on balance and posture, the Feldenkrais Method, and balancing the Anahata chakra.

Keep Your Brain Sharp

As we will discuss in our January 19 Ask Anything Hour: Learn Ways How to Boost Your Psychological Resilience, a healthy brain is essential for resilience. A bit of good news is that staying physically active benefits the mind in addition to the body, so by working out, you’re already taking steps to improve your cognitive function.

Some other activities that can help strengthen your brain include arts and crafts, writing in a journal, playing a musical instrument, listening to music, studying a new language, and playing the brain games on our website. Anything that keeps you mentally engaged promotes a savvy brain for strong resilience.

Find Sources of Inspiration

While a fit body and keen mind significantly improve resilience, these traits alone are not enough to bounce back from hardship. It’s challenging to find the motivation to keep moving forward in the face of adversity without willpower. Therefore, it can be said that inspiration is the most vital ingredient for resilience.

Sometimes inspiration takes the form of a greater sense of purpose: We want to live long lives for the sake of those who rely on us. Resilience means we can be there for our partners, children, grandchildren, pets, neighbors, friends, and everyone else whose lives are brightened by having us in them. Employment and volunteer work can also serve as powerful sources of resilience, as they make us feel as though we are making a difference worth fighting for.

Of course, inspiration doesn’t only come from what we give to the world; what we take away is equally important. Having a hobby you’re passionate about—whether it’s something you like to do alone or with others—gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and that works wonders for your resilience. In addition to continuing to enjoy the activities you already know and love, consider expanding your horizons by attending one of the virtual events listed on our calendar or watching a video of one of our previous events.

Accept Change

Although the practices described above all contribute to a lifetime of resilience, a harsh truth needs to be addressed: No matter how healthy and resilient you may be, your body and mind aren’t the same as they were in your younger years. Achieving true resilience means making peace with this fact and thinking realistically.

The world around us is changing every day, and so are you, but those changes aren’t necessarily bad. As the old adage goes, when one door closes, another door opens. Accepting change as a natural and beautiful part of life enables you to become a more resilient person who can adapt to whatever challenges life throws your way.

Be sure to tune into our January 19th Ask Us Anything Hour: Learn Ways To Boost Your Psychological Resilience with Catherine A. Sanderson, which begins at 4:00 PM ET. Click here to register!