Resilience: How to Build Your Own Inner Strength

Resilience: How to Build Your Own Inner Strength
Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted June 30, 2017

What is Resilience?

Resilience means being able to adapt to life’s setbacks. Resilience allows you to step back from misfortune, such as an illness, a job loss, or the death of a friend. When you are resilient, your anger, grief, or pain does not go away, but you are able to keep functioning in your everyday life.

You Can Learn How to Build Your Resilience

Research findings show that resilience is most often viewed as a process, rather than a personality trait. Resilience is a learned skill. Therefore, you can build resilience through the process of developing your own mental, physical, and social approaches to daily living. Practicing your own approaches can prepare you for challenges before they occur.

Mental Approaches

  • Count your blessings. Mentally express gratitude for the positive things in your life. Enjoying nutritious food, restful sleep, a safe living environment, and time with friends are a few ways to feel grateful.
  • Show compassion. Say Hello and smile to persons you meet. Open a door for someone who is carrying a heavy package. In a crowded store, excuse yourself if you inattentively bump another shopper.
  • Learn from your mistakes. Think of them as learning opportunities to change your future behavior. Then, when you find yourself in similar circumstances, remind yourself of your past mistake, and practice your changed behavior.
  • Remain optimistic and hopeful about the future. Do not seek perfection, but whenever possible, stay focused on positive emotions.

Physical Approaches

  • Maintain your physical health. Exercise for 30 minutes each day, by walking, or gardening, or taking a yoga class.
  • Make an appointment with your medical doctor for a wellness exam.
  • Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Participate in activities that you enjoy.
  • Get at least seven or eight hours of restful sleep each night. Eat a healthy diet. Practice relaxation techniques, such as prayer or slow breathing.

Social Approaches

  • Stay in regular touch with family and friends. If someone has not contacted you in a while, reach out for a brief talk or get-together.
  • Create a daily sense of purpose. Write a letter or call a community leader about a local event. Volunteer to help a neighbor. Treat yourself to an hour of social relaxation.
  • Seek social support for a challenge you are facing.
  • Build strong positive relationships that you can count on when unexpected frustrations become overwhelming.

Becoming more resilient takes time and practice. Start with small steps. Most important, believe in your ability to build your own inner strength.

For more information, see the Selected Information Resources at the end of this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your medical doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor.

Selected Information Resources

American Psychological Association. Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers.
Summary Note: Guide includes tips on how to help children and teens build resilience. Separate sections focus on helping students in preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school.
(Accessed 22 June 2017)

American Psychological Association. Resilience for Teens: Got Bounce?
Summary Note: For a teen audience. Includes Ten Tips to Build Resilience.
(Accessed 22 June 2017)

American Psychological Association. The Road to Resilience.
Summary Note: Brochure helps adults to find their own road to resilience. Defines resilience, describes strategies, and suggests Ten Ways to Build Resilience. Includes links to Related Reading and Geographic Search to find local psychologists.
(Accessed 22 June 2017)

Chawla, L., Keena, K., Pevec, I., Stanley, E. Health and Place. 2014 July;28:1-13. Green Schoolyards as Havens from Stress and Resources for Resilience in Childhood and Adolescence
Summary Note: Observational and interview study of elementary and high school students in Colorado and Maryland describes how green schoolyards can reduce stress and promote protective factors for resilience.
(Abstract accessed 26 June 2017)

MacLeod, S., Musich, S., Hawkins, K., Alsgaard, K., Wicker, E.R. Geriatric Nursing. 2016 July-August;37(4):266-72. The Impact of Resilience among Older Adults
Summary Note: An overview of the scientific literature on resilience reveals that resilience is most often viewed as a process, rather than a personality trait. Identifies key characteristics of resilience.
(Accessed 28 June 2017. From Abstract, link to Free Full Text via ELSEVIER Open Access)

Mayo Clinic. Tests and Procedures. Resilience Training. Resilience: Build Skills to Endure Hardship.
Summary Note: Defines resilience. Offers tips to help build resilience skills. Includes cartoon video [4:23] titled, A Very Happy Brain, narrated by Amit Sood, MD, MSc, Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN. Take-away message is that the pursuit of gratitude and compassion will make you happier than the pursuit of happiness.
(Accessed 27 June 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s Health and Women’s Health – Six Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Men’s Health and Women’s Health – Six Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MSLIS
Posted March 30, 2016

How can you enjoy a long and healthy life with your children, your spouse, your extended family, your friends, and yourself? First, be aware of health risk factors. Then, choose healthy lifestyle habits.

Risk Factors

Among both men and women in the United States, the two leading causes of death are heart disease and cancer, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data for the year 2013.

Among women, the third leading cause of death is chronic respiratory disease. Among men, the third leading cause of death is accidents (unintentional injuries).

Examples of risk factors for heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and accidents, include too much alcohol use, inadequate physical activity, smoking, obesity, and hypertension.

To some extent, you have control over risk factors by choosing healthy lifestyle habits.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Eat a Healthy Diet. Heart disease, certain cancers, stroke, diabetes, and artery damage can be linked to the food you eat. A healthy diet includes whole fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and lean sources of protein, such as fish, chicken, or small portions of lean beef. Dairy includes cheese, yogurt, or milk. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium. ChooseMyPlate, which is the U.S. Department of Agriculture consumer resource based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, offers suggestions on how to build a healthy eating style.

Limit the Amount of Alcohol You Drink. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. For men, that means no more than two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger, and one drink a day for men older than age 65. For women, moderation means no more than one drink a day. One drink is equal to one 12-ounce can of beer, or a four-ounce glass of wine, or one ounce of liquor. The risk of various types of cancer, including liver cancer, throat cancer, and breast cancer, appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you have been drinking regularly.

Exercise Daily. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Exercise can help you to control your weight and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. “Get Moving” is a good slogan to remind your spouse, your children, and yourself that exercise also can help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day, but remember any amount of exercise is better than none. Choose activities you enjoy, from brisk walking, to dancing, to sports.

Maintain a Healthy Weight. Carrying too much weight increases your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, and arthritis in the weight-bearing joints, such as the spine, hips, and knees, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. You can help to maintain a healthy weight by being aware of your daily habits, such as taking the stairs, instead of the elevator, or walking, instead of using transportation.

Do Not Smoke. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, talk with your doctor to help you quit. It is also important to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking is a serious risk factor for chronic lower respiratory diseases, emphysema, mouth and throat cancer, and heart disease. In the United States, smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Manage Stress. If you are constantly under high stress, your immune system may suffer. When high stress is continued over long periods of time, it can lead to depression. A serious risk factor, particularly among men, is suicide. If you have signs and symptoms of depression, such as feelings of sadness or unhappiness and loss of interest in everyday activities, talk with your doctor. Medical experts at the Mayo Clinic caution that a common cause of death among men is motor vehicle accidents. To stay safe on the road, follow the speed limit, do not drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and do not drive while sleepy.

Eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, exercising daily, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and managing stress are six lifestyle habits that you can start practicing today. Make a decision to choose a healthy lifestyle. Act now.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

American Academy of Family Physicians. FamilyDoctor dot Org. What You Can Do to Maintain Your Health.
Summary Note: Discuses healthy lifestyle choices, with focus on preventative care.
(Accessed 28 March 2016)

Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Healthy Lifestyle. Fitness. Exercise: Seven Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
Summary Note: Discusses mental, physical, and social benefits of exercise.
(Accessed 02 March 2016)

Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Healthy Lifestyle. Men’s Health: Prevent the Top Threats
Summary Note: Discusses the top health threats for men. Encourages following medical doctor recommendations and following through with health screenings.
(Accessed 02 March 2016)

Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Healthy Lifestyle. Women’s Health: Prevent the Top Threats
Summary Note: Discusses the top health threats for women. Encourages following medical doctor recommendations and following through with health screenings.
(Accessed 02 March 2016)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Men’s Health
Summary Note: Extensive information on health conditions that are unique to men. Includes sections on Prevention and Risk Factors. Treatments and Therapies, Health Check Tools, Statistics and Research, and Patient Handouts.
(Accessed 28 March 2016)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Women’s Health
Summary Note: Extensive information on health conditions that are unique to women. Resources also address health issues that affect both men and women, but that affect women differently. Includes Frequently Asked Questions at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wisewoman resource link. Also includes sections on Diagnosis and Tests, Prevention and Risk Factors, Health Check Tools, Statistics and Research, and Patient Handouts.
(Accessed 02 March 2016)

Nemours Foundation. Teens Health. Food and Fitness.
Summary Note: Categories, such as, Total Well-Being, Healthy Weight, Nutrition Basics, Exercise, and Sports expand to respective subcategories.
(Accessed 28 March 2016)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. ChooseMyPlate
Summary Note: Describes how to build a healthy eating style. Left navigation bar includes links to information about Fruits, Grains, Protein Foods, Dairy, and Food Oils.
(Accessed 29 March 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FastStats – Leading Causes of Death
Summary Note: Number of deaths in the U.S. for the ten leading causes of death. Data are for the year 2013.
(Accessed 28 March 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FastStats – Mens Health
Summary Note: Statistics on men’s health, such as, alcohol use, physical activity, smoking, obesity, hypertension, health insurance, and leading causes of death.
(Accessed 28 March 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FastStats – Women’s Health
Summary Note: Statistics on women’s health, such as, alcohol use, physical activity, smoking obesity, hypertension, health insurance, and leading causes of death.
(Accessed 28 March 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Men’s Health Topics – A to Z
Summary Note: The CDC A to Z Index is a navigational and informational tool that makes the CDC dot Gov website easy to use. The topic index includes both plain language and scientific terms to meet the needs of consumers and health professionals.
(Accessed 02 March 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Related Mortality
Summary Note: Includes Overview and statistics on Annual Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality in the United States for specific diseases.
(Accessed 29 March 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office on Women’s Health. Women’s Health dot Gov. Women’s Health Topics – A to Z
Summary Note: As with the Men’s Health Topics – A to Z Index, the information source for the Women’s Health Topics – A to Z Index is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
(Accessed 02 March 2016)