While panic is in surplus, many other resources are becoming increasingly difficult to secure. Grocery shelves are quickly emptied, trips to stores are far scarcer, budgets are cinching, and desperate hands all grasp for the same goods.
So, I want to share a recipe with you, one with just three-ingredients that I promise you have. Even if the pandemic has emptied your pantry, don’t worry. You don’t have to mask-up and risk the store. This recipe is made with resources that can’t be found after waiting an hour to be let in at Trader Joe’s. They can’t be found on InstaCart, or even on Amazon. These three essentials can be found only in one place, somewhere we often forget to look.
Deep within YOU.
So let’s get to the recipe for the most essential resource of our time: Resilience.
RECIPE FOR RESILIENCE
Hope is absolutely vital to this recipe. And if you opened the cupboard, looked in and didn’t glimpse even a crumb of it, I’m here to promise you it will be there. And once you stir the sparks, it will naturally catch flame.
Here are a few hacks to ignite hope:
- We can go through any how when we know why. Think, why should you endure this? Because you’re going to come out stronger, because you have a life to lead with the strength you will earn. Because you’re going to take that interview after this, or make that move, or because you have a family you get to make smile. Because things are going to be so beautiful on the other side. Define your individual why, and remember it every day. Write it down and pin it to your wall if you have to.
- Replace “ I miss…” and “I wish…” with “I look forward to…” Rewire the mind to look forward instead of backward. Big hope can grow from small thoughts.
- Write down and talk with others about things you look forward to at the end of this battle. Taking the first flight to visit family? Going to your favorite restaurant? Working from your real office? Whatever it is, stop missing it, and start looking forward to it.
- What is something you can look forward to today? Tomorrow? Add something special to look forward to each day, no matter how small.
- Make goals that you can take a step toward each day. A friend of mine made the goal to call two relatives each day. (Did you know Verizon is seeing over 800million wireless calls per day, which is more than double the amount on Mothers Day – historically the busiest call day of the year!) Another friend decided to pick up sewing again, and is almost done with another shipment of masks that she’s donating. Another started to learn piano. She chose a single song, and she learns a few more notes every day. Working toward something with a sense of accomplishment nurtures hope.
Focusing on the good not only gives hope, but manifests in the body as well. Did you know that negative thoughts actually decrease your immunity, while positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and illness? So, interrupt anxiety with a seed of gratitude, and watch it recolor your days.
Tips for gratitude growth:
- Keep a gratitude journal. If you know me, you know this is one of my favorite tools during all hardships. Write down at least five things you are grateful for each night. If you are reading this in health and safety, there are two immeasurably valuable things to add to your gratitude list right there.
- Instead of focusing on what has been lost, find something in each day you have gained. Time, a chance to make a change, a rare relaxed breakfast with your spouse, the opportunity to be involved in you child’s education, a new perspective, a lesson you can share with others. Whatever your situation, look for or create the positive.
- Send one person per day a text or call of appreciation for something they have done, or simply for being a good friend, co-worker, mentor, or person.
- Start a dinner-time gratitude conversation. Have everyone at the table share one thing they are thankful for, or the best part of their day. Even the darkest evenings can be mitigated when we make time to acknowledge the small blessings.
You might wonder how I could suggest laughing when the world is in a state of suffering. Well, it’s never been more important to find laughter. In fact, it’s doctors orders. According to many studies, laughter activates and relieves stress response, lowers stress hormones, stimulates circulation to soothe tension, and boosts the immune system.
If you’re ready with the first two ingredients but still can’t find laughter, here are a few tips:
- Surround yourself with (or call) people who laugh. Watch this quick video and tell me laughter isn’t contagious? Let’s find the Covid contagion with a laughter rebellion.
- Scroll and share ridiculous memes, or watch a video on ridiculousness.
- Call a friend and reminisce old memories, or tell your family a funny or embarrassing story about yourself — even if they’ve heard it a hundred times.
- Take a break from the news. Try Kid History or Drunk History if you want to hear a different version of real events. Whatever you choose, if you’re laughing, you’re not wasting time. You’re boosting your immune system.
Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, pour them into an open heart each day. The more you tap into these inner ingredients, the stronger they grow. And unlike the goods that vanish from shelves or spoil, unlike the things we can’t afford to give away because they’re necessary for our own survival, these three ingredients are different. These resources multiply when you share them.
So while we battle one of the most challenging pandemics in history, share your hope, share your gratitude, and share your laughs. Together we will restock our hearts, and our world, with resilience.