The Most Effective Resilience Building Skill Ever (and 13 Ways to Work It)

This is part one of a 4-week series on resilience training.

If you are resilient, its means you recover quickly from the unwanted yet inevitable difficulties of life. Things happen, but you can handle it cooly and with ease.

You even thrive on these challenges and see them as opportunities to grow. Like French-electro duo Daft Punk says, these tough situations only make you harder, better, faster, stronger. If life's surprise stress is like an unexpected house guest at your door, resilience is like having a clean, spare room to host them, and a stocked fridge at that! 

The essential problem today is that we are constantly trying to squeeze more mileage out of a very empty fuel tank. Most of us don't have the space in our "house" to welcome life's unexpected guests. But we keep trying to host them anyway, packing them in like sardines along the living room floor, feeding them crumbs in the hopes that it will be enough. 

Refilling our fuel tank can only happen when we stop doing and focus on receiving and being. Even if you are a self-proclaimed self-care junkie-- eating right, getting regular massage, working out, taking vacations- if you don’t know the secrets of soaking up every last drop of that renewal, the impact of your actions on your well-being will be far less effective than what they could be. Imagine the difference between savoring every bite of a beautiful meal or scarfing it down in 5 minutes. You'll either feel satisfied, whole and rejuvenated afterward, or you'll feel like you need a drink, a dessert and then a nap.  

We would never yell at our favorite house plant for not growing if we didn't water it. So why do we expect to produce more results without ever flipping the switch from output to input? 

Here are my 13 favorite tips to strengthen your capacity to turn off go-go-go mode, refill and receive like a pro.

1. Loosen your grip. In order to literally receive something in our hands, we have to stop clenching the thing we're already holding on to. Learn the lost art of letting go

2. Clear a physical space. To receive energy into your home, de-clutter! Spend 20 minutes on a closet. Take out the trash. Throw away unused papers around your desk.  

3. Be like water. When going to bed, imagine yourself melting toward your bed. Yield into the hands of your massage therapist. Disappear into that sip of wine. Practice makes perfect. 

4. Get in touch with your roots. In the plant kingdom, the roots do the receiving. Take a slow walk while focusing on the contact of your feet upon the ground. Feel yourself heavy with gravity, your weight held up by the earth. 

5. Nourish first. When you first wake up, override the impulse to immediately start doing something, reading something or saying something. Stop, breathe and ask yourself: what small act will nourish me this morning? Then listen. 

6. Silence is healing. Turn a timer on your phone for whatever you can muster, whether 10 minutes or 2 hours. Don't speak. Don't engage with any technology. Just sit, or draw or write or read. Allow your body to reset itself from the inside out. 

7. Make it all about appreciation. This automatically puts you in receiving mode. Your co-worker's smile, those extra green leaves after the rain, the smell of your clean shirt...these little things will help you to build resilience by switching from performance mode to enjoyment mode. 

8. Don't be a media glutton. Stop clicking and consuming everything in sight. Before swiping your screen, ask yourself "is this building my energy reserves or depleting them?"

9. Explore Yin yoga. Yin is a style of yoga that strengthens our ability to sit with sensation and take it in deeper. Check out a short video clip from a favorite San Francisco teacher, Dina Amsterdam, who blends Yin yoga into her signature InnerYoga style. 

10. Live in the space. A personal hero of mine, Viktor Frankl, a psychologist and Holocaust survivor, once wrote, "Between stimulus and response, there is a space.” Practice by finding the space between the inhale and exhale breath. This is the ultimate key to living in balance. 

11. Be like a child. Remember back to before you had any worries about the world. What did you love to do? Maybe it was color, adventure outside, dance or sing. Our childhood favorite passion is one of the most meaningful ways we can give to ourselves.

12. Consistency over quantity. Make receiving a habit. Integrate a short daily practice of #4 or a weekly date with #2.

13. Follow the rule of the sun. Historically, after the sun went down, it was time to rest and unwind. No electronics, no work. Try this when you're feeling particularly overwhelmed for a night or for a whole week when you need high-power burnout recovery solution. 

Work with me to learn how to master the skill of renewal and resilience in 3-months.