Why you need Super-Resilience, and seven keys to finding it
Natural Happiness expert Alan Heeks explains
For many years now I have been helping people to grow their resilience by learning from Nature.
What I’ve witnessed lately is that many people find the pressures of daily life keep growing and are experiencing the world we live in as increasingly challenging.
So how can we stay happy in the years ahead, when it’s even bumpier? The answer is to develop the skills of super-resilience.
These days, resilience is an over-used, sometimes misused word. The root meaning of resilience is bouncing back. Research shows that happy people have better skills to face challenges creatively, and even grow through them – and these skills can be learned.
I will be sharing skills for growing through life’s challenges in a weekend workshop at Hazel Hill Wood in Dorset next month, titled Dare to Imagine: Growing into the Future, where we’ll be exploring super-resilience with Nature’s help.
In the meantime, I’d like to share with you my Seven Keys to Super-Resilience.
When trees or plants are stressed, they deepen their roots to find more resources and more stability. This is crucial for people too: it’s worth understanding what gives you nourishment and support in your life and work, and finding more of it.
There’s now a lot of research that shows that the many hours most people spend each day on smartphones and other screens keeps us in a continual state of alert, and makes it hard to relax. The book Your Brain on Nature lays out this research, and also the evidence that time in Nature is the best antidote to screen-world. Time in the green outdoors not only helps us to relax, it renews our energy, and often brings us fresh insights.
Many of us now rely heavily on mobile phones and the internet: one of the disruptions in future years is likely to be a breakdown in these services: for example, due to extreme weather or cyber-hacking. Your friendship and support network will be more resilient if you deliberately focus more on personal local contacts.
There’s now a lot of medical evidence that people who have some faith or spiritual beliefs have more general resilience, and better recovery from health problems. You may find, as I do, that it helps to have some power to pray to for help, and to feel that there is a bigger picture beyond the individual.
If you compare your general stress level now with a few years ago, has it gone up? What’s the future outlook? Part of super-resilience is upgrading your capacity to handle challenges, a bit like renewing a wiring system to handle more voltage. Here are three possibilities:
Another feature of the turbulence ahead is likely to be more failures of services, or more major setbacks in our personal lives. So another part of super-resilience is growing our ability to cope and learn from major challenges. Processes like the ones just mentioned can help you to stay more centred in a crisis, and to look for the learning and new skills you can find in them.
A lot of research on resilience shows that a good way to help yourself feel better is actually to give some help to others. The old principle of ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’ will be even more relevant in the bumpy times ahead.
Alan Heeks and Jane Sanders are co-leading a weekend workshop at Hazel Hill Wood on October 13-15, titled Dare to Imagine: Growing into the Future – exploring super-resilience with Nature’s help. Creator of the Hazel Hill woodland and author of ‘The Natural Advantage: renewing yourself’ and many other books, Alan provides organic growth approaches for people and their work that help to build resilience. Jane has many years’ experience of working with mindfulness, deep ecology and other approaches to wellbeing, and is part of the Wisdom Tree team. For bookings and enquiries see: http://www.wisdomtree.uk.net/dare-to-imagine