Resourced & Resilient using Plant Medicine & Psychological Principles
Nov 18, 2020
There is much talk of resilience these days. The resilience of the children, what sectors of the economy are resilient in the face of Covid-19 and of course the need for resilience in the face of the mental health challenges that our current situation presents.
So what exactly is resilience, how do we cultivate it and what do we need to be watching out for when it comes to keeping ourselves well resourced in the face of challenging times?
The dictionary definition of resilience is -
“ the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”
So we're talking about the ability to bounce back, shoulder the burden, carry on carrying on. Some of us naturally have more of this than others. Each person is unique in their strengths and areas of vulnerability. However what we do all have in common is the oppurtunity to build on, strengthen and expand our resources at any given time and must just in the face of crisis.
I see it a little like the immune system. The best investment that can be made to strengthen our immunity is in the Spring when we have the full cycle to build our preventative strategy. Yes we can take immune supportive and anti-viral herbs in the winter which are useful but the real preventative approach must be an all-year one.
Resilience is the same. It is something that we want to be robust when needed but there is no point in waiting until the pressure is crushing us before we invest in it.
When we begin to understand the importance of strengthening the mind and the body in the face of challenging times, inevitably we come to see the reality that the only person responsible for this endeavour is ourselves. Luckily there is much that can be done to support us along the way.
Resilience for the Body
When it comes to building resilience I like to teach people to use herbs in a way that will support all the systems of the body for a truly wholistic approach. This includes nutritive herbs, nervine herbs, adaptogenic herbs, digestive herbs and immune-suppotive herbs.
When we work with incorporating plants into our lives on an ongoing basis to support the natural cycles of the body and the seasons, much of the strengthening is done.
However, if we find ourselves caught on the hop, as is often the way and a pile of stress drops onto our shoulders, the go-to in this acute situation are the adaptogenic herbal category that supports and strengthens the adrenal glands, buffering the system from the impact of the stress.
Resilience for the Mind
On of the most useful approach we can take when looking at resilience is to harness the power of the mind to make choices.
Being proactive, making choices and taking action to support ourselves especially in the face of challenge shifts us from the overwhelming energy of being at the mercy of external circumstances into a place of action taking and empowerment even though much is still out of our control.
This is the place of our CBT models, so draw on the tools and techniques that keep the show on the road and readjust and reframe where necessary to move forward.
Resilience for the Energy (e-motions)
Last but certainly not least is our energetic and emotional selves. While supporting the body and the mind go a long way towards building resilience in the energetic system, especially the use of herbs for the body and the establishment of boundaries in the mind, there are some key actions we can take that will strengthen our reserves and build resilience on a deeper level.
Research shows that those with a sense of connection to others score higher on the resilience scales. I take this a few steps further. We first must begin with our connection with ourselves.
To invest in and nurture this is the foundation of a healthly energetic system. From this foundation, we invest in and develop our connection with significant others, with nature, with our sense of purpose and with that which sustains us. These connections, all of them are the fuel that propels our resilience in tough times.
Well thats a little more that the regular checklist of eat more, drink less and get good exercise and sleep! We can always just follow that checklist but if we want to develop truly sustainable internal resources and resilience we must dig deeper and find a way to replenish our stocks on an ongoing basis and not just when the going get tough.