Developing Resilience

I watched an inspiring TED Talk with Jane McGonigal. She is a video game designer. A few years ago she was bedridden after a concussion. During this time she fell into depression with suicidal thinking that freaked her out. She used her gaming background to create a game called SuperBetter that helped her get out of her depression. As she researched why the game was helpful, she came upon information around developing resilience and Post Traumatic Growth (PTG), the opposite of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTG occurs when we get through difficult or traumatic experiences and find we are stronger than we were before the trauma occurred. Four particular resiliences are necessary to experience PTG: relational, emotional, intellectual and physical.
Developing these resiliences is not just for trauma. We can get so much more out of life and experience more joy in a day if we are willing to develop and strengthen them. The tasks are simple. Things like counting backwards from 100 to zero by sevens gets the intellectual part of our brain going. Challenging yourself with Sudoku, a crossword puzzle, word search or memory game will also help. Reaching out to another person by calling or talking to them engages the social/relational part of our brain. To enhance the emotional part of our brain we can do something as simple as looking at pictures that elicit a positive emotion, listening to comedy or reading something uplifting. For the physical part, do something active for even a few seconds. Get up and march in place or lift your arms up and down (or both!). Ideally, we’ll repeat these exercises throughout the day to periodically engage our brain and body. The benefit is increased the more we engage physically, emotionally, intellectually and relationally. Try it! You should notice a positive effect as your resiliences grow 🙂