• sachaclark

Coping or Resilience - what comes first?

Last night there were several things that struck me and are turning over in my mind after our Her Gathering Live Zoom.

The first - what comes first coping or resilience? What a brilliant question. Not sure it was answered directly last night but after various conversations with Susanne and Peter my perspective is this - it is neither.

After much reflection and leaning into current studies I believe coping is an element of resilience.

For me, resilience is not a singular attribute or practice but a scale of our cognitive ability.

For the majority of us, our brains are naturally resilient. We have inbuilt filters that enable us to cope, minimizing the lasting impact of negative stimulus or situation - we can exercise rationalization, we can layer in perspective, we can review with introspection, we can even distract ourselves from introspection with action or actions of others. And yet, we are often unaware of or ignore this - it is called our natural psychological immunity. It is our inbuilt management tools for negativity.

If we start from the point of recognition, recognizing what we have inbuilt, we can begin to establish our point of entry for cognitive practices like the tools Susanne spoke about last week - Catch It, Check It, Change It. When we are aware of what we need to work on we can practice and rewire our neural pathways to become more resilient.

Or in simple terms, with conscious practice we can change the way we think and react to specific events, situations or experiences.

How amazing is that?!?

Once we recognize we are coping, and categorize how we are coping - routine, exercise, sunshine, fresh air, skype with family etc, we can move into the next phase - acceptance. Or at least that is how I am feeling at the moment after my natural optimism has kicked on hearing Susanne speak about the phases of grief.

It is important to remember how and when we move through the stages will vary by individual, it is also imperative we recognize what we are feeling is not unique. We aren't alone in the emotions we experience.

The other question that has stuck is 'How can we do it better?'. While there wasn't a direct answer to this as Peter went into coach-mode and put the question back to the person who raised it; I am sure we all have a perspective, and often we all have an answer but don't give it awareness. For me it is this:

1. Keep doing what works for you. Rinse and repeat if it is working!

2. Share what is working - collective experience enhances the overall and we aren't alone.

3. Stop what is not working for you (I don't mean the 2m rule) i.e the news/gram binge etc.

4. Don't fake it if it isn't working.

5. Work on finding the silver lining daily. Gratitude is free and not time bound.

6. Contribute however you can.

We all have something we can do. It will be different for each of us which is absolutely fine. What is important is that we all do something to contribute to the great whole. Daily acts of kindness, staying home, volunteering, chatting through the fence or across the drive way, skype, text, check-ins whatever you can do, do it daily. It doesn't have to be big in scale it just has to happen. Little movements forward create momentum. It all counts!

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