Article: Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure
A great article (linked below) in the Harvard Business Review by Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan discussing resilience and where it actually comes from.
Too often resilience is misunderstood by a conditioning we are subject to from a young age that if we endure, or push through, that will make us mentally tough and resilient. The following quote from the author’s beautifully sums up this misconception, and the impact it is has on our health and lives:
“We often take a militaristic, “tough” approach to resilience and grit. We imagine a Marine slogging through the mud, a boxer going one more round, or a football player picking himself up off the turf for one more play. We believe that the longer we tough it out, the tougher we are, and therefore the more successful we will be. However, this entire conception is scientifically inaccurate.
The very lack of a recovery period is dramatically holding back our collective ability to be resilient and successful. Research has found that there is a direct correlation between lack of recovery and increased incidence of health and safety problems. And lack of recovery — whether by disrupting sleep with thoughts of work or having continuous cognitive arousal by watching our phones — is costing our companies $62 billion a year (that’s billion, not million) in lost productivity.
And just because work stops, it doesn’t mean we are recovering. We “stop” work sometimes at 5PM, but then we spend the night wrestling with solutions to work problems, talking about our work over dinner, and falling asleep thinking about how much work we’ll do tomorrow. In a study released last month, researchers from Norway found that 7.8% of Norwegians have become workaholics. The scientists cite a definition of “workaholism” as “being overly concerned about work, driven by an uncontrollable work motivation, and investing so much time and effort to work that it impairs other important life areas.”
It is highly likely that the rates of ‘workaholism’ are far higher in countries such as Australia, England and the USA.
In the work I have done with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibomyalgia, IBS, anxiety and other chronic illnesses using Mickel Therapy and a variety of techniques, I regularly see a person’s homeostasis (or internal state of balance or regularity) being pushed way out of balance. The imbalance then sees the person in state of what we would describe as ‘hypothalamitis’, or permanently in a state of ‘fight or flight’. The impact of this is that the person is constantly running in emergency mode, leading to them being internally, and therefore externally, exhausted, or in pain. It is like they are running a continual, permanent ‘biochemical marathon’ internally. No wonder they display symptoms of chronic illness!! Their resilience has been completed depleted.
As a result, we incorporate regular actions in their daily life that rejuvenate or balance them. They are the actions that bring them joy or pleasure, engage or stimulate them, or get them out of their heads. We call it the fun list or joy list.
The idea being to balance work, chores and the things we have to do, with something more rewarding or enjoyable afterwards. According to the approach of this article, this will recharge us, and increase our resilience. And balance. And therefore energy levels increase, pain decreases, we feel happier and our body achieves homeostasis – or health.
It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective given that research of hunter gatherer cultures has revealed that are designed or built to work 15-25 hours per week max. The rest is spent in leisure. That is balanced.
Compare that to the culture we have created and the wok ethic that gets conditioned into most of us, and it is not surprising that many of us end up with poor resilience, exhausted, burnt out, unhappy and chronically ill.
If you feel any of the above, or this blog resonated with you, feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0425 739 918, to book in or see whether the techniques I use to optimise health, energy and happiness would be helpful for you.