On the menu today, I want to discuss a few articles that I have read that have gotten me thinking. Scrolling through social media (as everyone does these days) I came across two articles, and those articles brought back to mind some tweets I had also seen before. The first article was in the New York Times last week, and it discussed “What Makes Some People More Resilient than Others”. The second article was titled “30 Signs of Soul Exhaustion”.
Before I continue, what is resiliency? We have all heard the word before. I am sure you heard it growing up, “you have to more resilient?”. So, what is it? A quick online search will give you this definition: resilience is the ability to recover from difficult experiences and setbacks, to adapt and move forward, and sometimes even experience growth.
The definition mentions difficult experiences. The piece was obviously written because 2020 has been one of the toughest years of many peoples’ lives. Not everyone has had a tough year, but many have. The world is amid a pandemic, people are afraid of the virus, states and countries have shut down to help prevent the spread of the virus, and jobs have inevitably been lost. The economy is down, and many people took a financial hit of some sort this year. If it was not that, then it was likely the social isolation or the limitation of normal activities that were once present. We lost the distractions of life that helped keep us sane, concerts, sporting events, normal restaurant, and bar experiences.
Now, as disruptive as coronavirus has been to the world, it has not been all bad. There are surely some positives. You can read the article I wrote back in May “Coronavirus Can Go, but These Changes Can Stay” on my site www.whatscookingwithcoach.com. It will detail some positives like spending time with family, being more active, spending time in nature, slowing down life, and decreasing consumerism, as we discover what is profoundly important in life.
Now, despite the fact the year has been tough, many people will say that hard times are a part of life, and I cannot disagree. One could argue that the situation that is presented currently is not any worse than previous generations experiences of wars and hunger.
I want to give a background to resiliency. A lot of this discussion about resiliency revolves around stress. Stress is a change in the body because of an outside force. Stress can be good, or it can be bad. Eustress vs. Distress. Motivation vs. disappointment. Motivation is positive and helps us pursue goals. However, distress can cause physiological problems in the human body.
Distress triggers the Fight or Flight response in each of us. This will tell us to fight and defend or run away. Either way the responses in the body give us the ability to do either. Physiological responses include pupils dilating, muscles tensing up, breathing rate increasing, and blood beginning to pump faster in the body. Stress hormones like cortisol will be released. This thickens the blood and increases blood pressure. During this time, “Happy chemicals” such as Dopamine and Serotonin decrease in the brain.
When distress is prolonged and “fight or flight” continues, the energy needed for it limits the energy used for other systems of the body including the digestive system, reproductive system, and immune system. Therefore, you see physical problems result from many people that are living in consistently stressful situations. They will show digestive problems, reproductive issues, and have an increased chance of sickness. It is clearly important that people develop a way to handle their stress to limit the negative effects of the body.
The discussion of the effects on the body bring up the second article I had mentioned. It details signs that your Soul Exhausted. This is another fancy title that simply says a person is down and depressed. It outlined signs that are listed below.