Best Holistic Life Magazine Fall 2021

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C u lt i v a t i n g t h e R e s i l i e n c y t o m e e t o u r B e s t S e lv e s

When you think of resiliency what comes to mind? The ability to overcome obstacles, hard times, or chal- lenges are at the forefront of my thoughts. But what if we broaden the concept of resiliency towards anything that brings stress, disharmony, or ill-being into our lives, all of a sudden we are looking at a new concept. Optimal wellbeing relates to fostering resiliency within our finan- cial, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and nutritional selves. Resiliency to stress involves a sense of empowerment, connectedness, acceptance, mean- ing, purpose, and maintaining a sense of hope in the face of stressful events (Karren, 2014). Stress is a common denominator within daily life and it can influence every aspect of our wellbeing. Stress can impact different functions of the immune system, and in conjunction, the immune system influ- ences the way the brain processes information pertinent to experienced emotions (Dantzer, Cohen, Russo, and Dinan, 2018). It has been well documented that cultivat- ing resilience to stressors can help support the immune system by reducing inflammatory markers. Likewise, research has addressed cultivating resilience-based beliefs as a way to increase emotional wellbeing and opti- mistic perspectives. Basically, the more optimistic we can become towards stressors and limiting behaviors, beliefs, and patterns; the better we can feel and experience life. Resiliency can be cultivated through mental processes and in engaging in reframing the reactions to stress can culti- vate not only more optimism but also increased emotional wellbeing. If the body is in a state of higher positivity, there should be lower inflammatory markers circulating which would mean a decreased risk of impaired immune system health. As with all health and life changes, it is important, to begin with, awareness. Where are you aware of being in reaction to stress, or where are you choosing patterns of behavior that do not support your best health? Do you find yourself in a meaningless job just to pay the bills, a frequently argumentative relationship, eating nutrient-depleted foods, or ruminating about worries? All of these aspects can detract from the concept of our best self. What has been seen repeatedly in research is that when we change and alter our perceptions of stress and inflamma- tory reactions, we can shift their impacts upon our phys- ical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. When we can lower our perception of emotional, physical, and behavioral stress symptoms; research shows we are able to also reduce our heart rate, engage the sympathetic nervous system and develop a deeper sense of relaxation (Bigham et.al., 2014). This isn’t just feel-good informa-

tion of wishing our stressors away, it is literally altering the ways we perceive, react, and respond to stress that can free us from the inflammation, acidity, and energy deple- tion traps that they can be. Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are power- ful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be bril- liant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Stepping towards our greatest sense of optimal wellbeing means to become resilient against any behavior, belief, or pattern that keeps us from our highest and best selves. In my opinion, that’s some of the bravest work any of us can do and it begins by getting to know what our best selves deeply desire for our optimal health, wellbeing, vital- ity, and purpose. The journey towards our most resilient, alive, awakened, and healed selves require us to under- stand that every dimension of wellness is impacted by our inquiry into our best selves. The weight lifting of remov- ing stressful or disharmonious beliefs, patterns, people, or choices can be hard and challenging at times. Ulti- mately, this returning to ourselves and being willing to be our most powerful, sovereign, and healthy selves is also the mark of liberation, purpose, and sacred connection. I commend you on the bravery it takes to walk towards your best self. The world needs you now more than ever in your willingness to be resilient in the face of all that creates disharmony to your sovereign self. Thank you for showing up and doing the work. References Bigham, E., McDannel, L., Luciano, I., & Salgado-Lopez, G. (2014). Effect of a brief guided imagery on stress. Biofeed- back, 42(1), 28-35. Dantzer, R., Cohen, S., Russo, S. J., & Dinan, T. G. (2018). Resilience and immunity. Brain, Behavior, and Immu- nity,74,28-42. doi://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2018.08.010 Karren, K. J., Smith, L., Gordon, K. J., & Frandsen, K. J. (2014). Mind/body health: The effects of attitudes, emotions, and relationships, 5th edition. San Francisco, CA: Pearson. Part I The Mind/Body Connection.

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