When I think of resilience I think of nature. Resilience can be defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. As many of us have discovered, developing and practicing resilience is much easier said then done. The challenges we face as humans in a fast-paced competitive world place many stressors on us that can have a negative impact on health and wellness. Today, let’s reflect on how nature can help us develop resilience.
Forming healthy relationships, staying optimistic but realistic and having a supportive tribe of people or pets in your circle can help buffer stressful situations. Take the largest colony of King Penguins, who live on the subantarctic French Island, respectfully named Pig Island. According to a new paper, published in Antarctic Science, nearly 60,000 breeding pairs were counted. It is amazing how these unique creatures work together to raise young and find food.
To come out on top in life requires stamina, strength and persistence. The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) embodies these characteristics. This wild canine is a formidable hunter with one of the highest hunting success rates of 67 percent. These canines confront their prey head on and often make no attempts at concealment. Resilient people deal with fears and difficult situations in a similar fashion by confronting them head on to learn and grow from the experience.
Practicing spirituality connects us with a higher power and strengthens resilience. Regardless of religious beliefs, communing with others with similar beliefs and communing with nature are helpful. Forest bathing which involves taking in the forest through our senses can bring positive restorative benefits that rejuvenate, lower stress and increase happiness.
Staying physically and mentally fit aids in resilience. Take a lesson from the tiny Arctic tern weighing less than a baseball at only 4 ounces. This amazing creature migrates about 1.5 million miles in its lifetime, the equivalent of three trips to the moon and back. Imagine the determination of this magnificent creature.
Gaining knowledge and being flexible keeps the mind sharp and helps build resilience. One bird that soars above the rest in intelligence is the raven. Using logic to understand its environment and multitask makes this bird one of the most resourceful and intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom. Making a promise to grow your mind, and remaining flexible will provide skills to help you cope in difficult situation.
As we walk this remarkable journey called life, we must remember to love and respect all living creatures. Staying positive, being supported and staying sharp in mind and body are essential elements for survival and resilience in nature and in our familiar urban jungle. I encourage you to stay strong, have hope and push on in the face of adversity. As the famous singer and civil rights activist Lena Horne once said, “Its not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
Dr. Jasmine Streeter writes about pets, lifestyle and nature. Email her at [email protected]