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Ep 4: Build your resilience: a meta perspective
Episode 411th April 2023 • Empowered Introvert • Heidi Jandel Weiland
00:00:00 00:31:08

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Introverts often have sensitive nervous systems that get stressed easily by the ups and downs of life. But this isn’t a life sentence! You CAN influence your tendency to feel stress and anxiety by building your resilience to stress. 

This episode will provide you with big picture information about how resilience works so that you make empowering choices for your highest wellness. I look at common patterns that contribute to lower resilience, the role that coping strategies play and what it looks like to cultivate resilience.

I also include 3 of my favorite (and super easy) tips for soothing your nervous system and building your capacity to cope with stress.

Transcripts

Heidi:

Hello, my beautiful introvert friend. Welcome to episode four of the Empowered Introverts Podcast, where we're gonna talk about resilience. but first I want to thank you so much. For listening. Thank you to everyone who has listened to the first three episodes in my big launch last week who have left reviews and sent me words of encouragement and appreciation. 


Heidi:

Thank you so, so much. It really, energizes me and inspires me to continue to, 


Heidi:

do this podcast and. Like I would do it anyways, but it's so lovely to hear from you and how it's impacting you. So cool. So before I get started, I wanna just talk a little bit about the way that we're going to cover the topic of resilience. 


Heidi:

And there are, so, there's so much information out there about things that you can do. Practices to, put in place so that you feel more calm, get less stressed out, more resilient. And while I will share some practices towards the end, I wanna take a different approach here of a more meta approach of really, looking at. 


Heidi:

This from the bigger picture, from the mindset and from the logic, so that you understand how, 


Heidi:

how the nervous system works and, and what you wanna be thinking about at different points of a stressful event in order to support yourself so that then from there, you can then choose the tools that you want to use. 


Heidi:

I think that this is such a better approach or the way that I wanna approach it because it's a lot more empowering cuz when you understand how, the nervous system works and you understand what is. Decreasing your resilience. What is increasing it in terms of decision making, in terms of habits, the, the bigger picture, then you are able to, 


Heidi:

to kind of take care of yourself. 


Heidi:

You're able to, 


Heidi:

to respond to your needs, to perceive what's going on in yourself. And that just gives you so much more. to, your own wisdom, right? So, and that's really what this is all about. so we'll be talking a lot about the nervous system and last week at episode three, we had an, that was understanding the introvert nervous system specifically, that that episode was specifically for that. 


Heidi:

So, I will, might be referring back to it if you haven't listened to it, you might wanna do so. before or after this episode. And, with that as an example of, uh, what it means to be taking, care of resilience, your own resilience. This week I'm actually taking off. And while I am recording this, the day before it comes out, I, 


Heidi:

the rest of the week I'm going to be on a staycation. 


Heidi:

And I, very purposely time this to follow my launch because launching the podcast involved a lot of energy output. It involved a lot of. Of discomfort of going beyond my homeostasis or my comfort zone. And so as part of my empowered, way of doing work this week, I'm going to take it really easy. I am going to spend a lot of time in nature doing yoga and meditation and journaling, doing music. 


Heidi:

All the fun things and really doing less, and I can already feel this past weekend I, 


Heidi:

I, I was already doing that and it's felt so much, I feel so grounded already and I can't wait to have a few more days of this. So with that, let's get started talking about what the heck is resilience? And really the way I, see it is resilience is your ability to manage change. 


Heidi:

Not necessarily unexpected change, but change from your comfort level, from your homeostasis, from your balance and balance. In the sense of being very neutral here, because we can become comfortable, we can become quote unquote balanced in situations that are not healthy for us, which is amazing because it means that we are resilient like that we can handle hard things and hard situations and still live pretty darn good lives. 


Heidi:

However, Our comfort zones can include ha habits that actually over time lead to discomfort and dis disease. So for example, maybe you like, in order for you to chill out and wind down and feel comfortable after a hard day of work, you come home and you have a couple glasses of wine and you do this every day after. 


Heidi:

No couple glasses of wine one day, no big deal. But if this is a pattern that you do over and over for years, then eventually there will probably be some kind of repercussion in the long term, but also in the short term. The time and resources that you spend with the wine, take space away from other things that might bring more value to your life, like spending quality time with your kids, like doing yoga, like working on an art project so often these types of behaviors, these coping strategies we use to. 


Heidi:

Manage stress and be comfortable, but we're kind of doing them, because it's, it's automatic. Oftentimes we haven't experienced other ways of doing things, or we've learned that this is just what you do. It's like after work you go, you have some drinks or you go, like, if in your profession it's common to go have drinks with your, colleagues after work, then it's very much normalized. 


Heidi:

In these behaviors, they become, automatic. Like we're not really thinking about them. And as such, it ends up being somewhat of an un what's the word here? Unintentional way of living, where you end up creating. Patterns, spending your time in ways that actually aren't in service of the beautiful, vibrant life that you would love to have. 


Heidi:

So I like to think about resilience in terms of, of healthiness, in terms of. Being able to live a vibrant life. It's not just coping and getting through and staying in your comfort zone, it's, it is managing stressful events in a way that keeps you in alignment with the highest vision of your life, of who you are, your authentic. 


Heidi:

So let's take a look at what it could look like if you're not terribly resilient. And you can apply this example to, to, whatever is relevant in your life. I'm gonna use the example of you have a conversation with your boss scheduled for the end of the week. Say it's a Friday afternoon, and from your not terribly resilient, current state, you know that you've got this meeting coming up and you are worried about it. 


Heidi:

You're thinking about it a lot. Going over in your head like, what's, what's my boss wanna talk to me about? Oh, maybe I did something wrong. Maybe it had to do with that meeting last week where I didn't feel like I had great performance or this project that I'm working on, maybe they're telling me that they're gonna move me or they, they don't like my performance. 


Heidi:

Maybe my job is at jeopardy. And so your mind fixates on it oftentimes. So that's a sign that, 


Heidi:

that you're, you're not as resilient, that your nervous system tends to freak out easily, and so you end up talking with everyone you can about it. Or if you're, you keep things to yourself. You're an introvert that really likes to stay very private, you might end up journaling about it a bunch or just like thinking about it as you're driving home, as you're doing the dishes. 


Heidi:

When you wake up in the morning, you are worried about this meeting and. As such, you're not spending time thinking about the actual work that, you should be doing. You're probably not taking care of yourself as much as would be beneficial, like, like doing yoga, doing exercise, having quality time with friends where your, or, or your loved ones where you're not thinking about, the upcoming meeting. 


Heidi:

And you might be using coping strategies like nicotine, weed, alcohol, zing out on television to try and escape your crazy, crazy brain, right. Your your brain that is just overthinking. And in your body, your body might. Anxious. You might notice that there's clenching in your belly, in your chest, your hands. 


Heidi:

You might feel muscular tension, like you'll know how you feel when you're stressed out. You'll probably feel those feelings and. They'll be more present than they would if you weren't, if you didn't have that meeting scheduled for Friday. So then Frida and say the meetings at one o'clock. You spend your lunchtime thinking about it, maybe preparing some notes, worrying about what they're gonna say, what are you gonna say? 


Heidi:

And then. Then you, you'd go into the meeting, you sit down and you're kind of like a deer in the headlights and you're just receiving information and maybe you make a few comments and most of the time you were in your head. Worrying about yourself, about what that your boss is saying. Your, your body feels high anxiety right now. 


Heidi:

And say your boss did have some quote, like constructive feedback, right? Some information that maybe you weren't, um, performing up to expectations or there's opportunity for you to improve and so you leave the meeting and. You continue to feel fearful. You continue to worry. You continue to feel stress, and you have a hard time finishing the day. 


Heidi:

Maybe you leave early, maybe you actually overwork because you're trying to compensate, right? You're trying to do better, but you're coming from a place of of stress, and then you go into the weekend and you're either overthinking it or you're using coping strategies and things just feel terrible, right? 


Heidi:

So this is a pattern of showing not that great of resilience. there's a lack of nourishing habits, nourishing practices to help your nervous system feel safe and calm and kind of an abandonment to the, the brain, to the thoughts, to the fear-based. 


Heidi:

And then after the event, managing the stress in a way that doesn't actually improve resilience or improve like your, your level of homeostasis and comfort. It just, it continues to keep things in the same pattern and that pattern of. Of getting stressed out when potentially negative things come into your life and kind of losing your authority over it and getting into a pattern where you use coping strategies that don't solve anything, but rather just keep you in that same cycle because then you know the, the week the weekend ends and the week starts again, and then there'll be more stressful. 


Heidi:

Happening. Stress is happening all of the time. Things that we don't want to happen in our lives happen all of the time, and it doesn't actually have to be a problem. Like that is life. That's normal, and we can learn ways to help us be able to manage that in a way that that. You know, feels, feels okay if not calm and grounded. 


Heidi:

You know, life is highly stimulating the like, the amount of information and events that our human brains and our nervous systems have to process every day is so much more than in the past. And many of our systems or ways of thinking about how we are as humans in society, in relationship, don't really take this into account. 


Heidi:

So it's up to you to do so. It's up to you to support yourself to be a human being in this day and age in a way that is. Nourishing and balanced and grounded for you. So let's look at this example again from a perspective of resilience. So again, we have a meeting. You have a meeting scheduled with your boss for Friday afternoon. 


Heidi:

Today is Tuesday, and this information comes in and you're like, oh, okay. That's interest. I wonder what they wanna talk about. And you spend some, some time thinking about it, but you're not in a stress response. You're, you might feel a little bit agitated, but it's very low. From a scale of zero to 10, it's like a two. 


Heidi:

And so you're not getting that clenched feeling. You're not, um, going into to deer in the headlights or feeling. Defensive or feeling like you just wanna shut down and hide. So you kind of think about it for a bit and then you don't. Then you continue with your work and as you're working, you take break. 


Heidi:

You get up, you go for a walk, you might go to the bathroom and put your head between your legs and take a few breaths or do some meditation. after work, you, you go for a walk, go to a yoga class, and then you go home, have a really nourishing, healthy meal, have some time with loved ones, and then have some time for your. 


Heidi:

Where you're not thinking about work, you're not looking at screens, you're just quiet, maybe engaged with art and feeling calm. You go to bed and you fall asleep easily. Maybe you have some, some support, some, 


Heidi:

to help you have good sleep hygiene. I'll talk about some of those things at the end. And you sleep well. 


Heidi:

You wake up in the morning. You get up, you have some nice tea, you do some, morning movements. You spend a few moments with yourself, encouraging yourself, being kind to yourself, and then you begin your day and maybe you start your day thinking about, okay, well I, I have this meeting with my boss. Is there anything that I can do to prepare? 


Heidi:

So you send them a message asking, is there anything that you can prepare for? All from a place of curiosity, right? And then you continue your day. Now you know that you're an introvert and this is a conversation that means a lot to you, so you'll probably get stressed in the conversation. So Friday, you, you, purposely schedule very easy work for the morning. 


Heidi:

If you can, you might work, 


Heidi:

start work, a little bit later or sleep in, do something that feels really soothing and your meeting's at one. So at lunchtime. You go for a walk or you meditate or you do something to help you feel, grounded. Maybe it's it's rock climbing or jogging, and about 15 minutes before the meeting you create some quiet time for yourself and. 


Heidi:

You meditate or you just listen to yourself and prepare a few things that you might wanna say in response. So you have a protocol of things that you can maybe even write them down just to help you in case you freeze in the moment, and then you go into the meeting. 


Heidi:

Your boss is talking to you and you are looking at them. You are trying to hear them. You are really focused on their words and trying to understand the meaning behind them. Not trying to, 


Heidi:

you're not caught in your own thoughts about you and what you did something wrong, and that every, like, you're gonna lose your job and you're not gonna have any money and blah, blah, blah. 


Heidi:

No, you're focused. The words that your boss is saying, and you're breathing deep, you're breathing into your belly, you're feeling your anxiety rise, and you're just breathing. And so no matter what your boss says, like you've supported yourself through this meeting, and then it ends and you take a moment to integrate, to, maybe go for a walk again, like I'm exaggerating a little bit here, but just noticing how much. 


Heidi:

How helpful it would be if you did all of these things in that scenario. And if you, so you go for a walk, you notice that you're feeling stressed, and so you decide, hey, I am gonna give myself the weekend to just let this settle. I'm not gonna just think about anything. I'm not gonna make plans or decisions, but on Monday, I'm gonna set aside time to really address how I can take this feedback and really use it to my advantage. 


Heidi:

Like this is important. I'm grateful that my boss like. Gave me this feedback instead of just firing me. Right? I'm grateful, like you consciously use your mind to turn it into something positive or something neutral instead of the doomsday scenario. 


Heidi:

And then over the weekend you nourished yourself, you eat well, you sleep well. You, you know, maybe you have some, some things that you gotta do, but you really are mindful about caring for yourself in addition to anybody else that you are caring for. So, can you feel the difference that this more resilient approach would take? 


Heidi:

Like, that would, would feel? Like resilience. It's not just a state. And I'll talk about what's happening in the nervous system in a moment. But it is a, it's a habit. It's a way of being it's tool sets. It's, it's you responding to your needs in an enlightened and loving way. So like we talked about in episode three, so the nervous system, it consists of, And, and your, your stress. 


Heidi:

So your nervous system consists of your, 


Heidi:

your actual nerves and your senses. That's what I'm trying to say. Your senses. So you take in your body, takes in information, and then takes it up to the head, to the brain to process and decide if it is a threat or. And then it releases chemicals into the body. 


Heidi:

So neurotransmitters, if you are more resilient, your cortisol will be more managed. It won't be as, it won't just turn on and stay on and get pumped out all the time. But you, you will be able to create, feel good neurotransmitters that help you come back down to a place of comfort, to a place of homeo, sta. 


Heidi:

So there's a lot of different ways that you can impact your, resilience. So one of them is, is reducing the amount of input that's coming into your nervous system. like I said, like we receive so much information now, so much visual information, light, sound, words that, 


Heidi:

if we can turn down the dial on that and re either reduce it or improve the quality of. that, can help to make your nervous system less reactive. That's what vacations often do, is they take you out of your normal routine where you don't have as many responsibilities, things to think about and things to things to do, and so you are able to, your nervous system calms down, you calm down, you feel less stressed. 


Heidi:

But you can also do this in your daily life by, by looking at are there opportunities for me to consume less information? Like, you know, going for a walk without a podcast, spending the hour before bed without watching tv. I know it might seem a little uncomfortable at. Like I said earlier, we get used to certain levels of discomfort. 


Heidi:

We get used to being overstimulated, but after a while you go slow. After a while, you'll start to really, really like, and really cherish, these moments of silence that you consciously invite into your life. 


Heidi:

And then, so what that will do is that we'll release the, kind of the reactivity, we'll reduce the, the reactivity and and level of homeostasis, like how much discomfort, how much, craziness that you are coping with. 


Heidi:

But we always, like, we tend in our society to always. S like some stress happening. if you were to rate yourself from zero to 10 on how much stress you have just right now versus on a vacation or when you're doing Shavasana on a yoga mat, you can see the difference in the number there. So having practices to help, to reduce stress, to calm the nervous system, to create comfort and safety are super, super important. 


Heidi:

It's like giving yourself, it's like. Like water or food, you need to imbibe them. You need to eat every day in order to feel good. Yeah, you could not eat for a day and that would be kind of stressful. But calming the nervous system with practices ideally is something that we are doing throughout our day in small ways. 


Heidi:

So what do I mean by that? Well, practices like yoga, the philosophy of yoga, Really a complete set, almost a complete set of practices, that in include, moving the body breath exercises, meditation, withdrawing the attention from the outside world and moving into the body, which is another way to reduce your sensory input chant. 


Heidi:

And then do you probably have your favorite methods of exercise or other activities like creative activities, 


Heidi:

healthy social activities, that also help to calm you? Um, Getting deep sleep. Deep rest, deep sleep. That is another very, very important one because that helps to clean out all of the, the gunk. 


Heidi:

I could never remember the actual. scientific names of the chemicals and neurotransmitters, but all of that stuff out of your brain and, um, your nervous system so it can be clean and operating well. Cuz your body wants to be relaxed. That is your natural state of being. So these practices help you to get there. 


Heidi:

So along with this, it's nourishment. The food that you eat affects your, your resilience, your capacity to manage stress. So, I'm happy to do another episode on, on that from an Ayurvedic perspective. If anyone would like that, just let me know. but I think most of us have a pretty good idea of what hel. 


Heidi:

Eating is for, uh, each one of us. And then another practice for improving resilience is mindset work, self coaching, and this. So the practices of yoga, they're like, they're really about, 


Heidi:

about not believing the thoughts. Cre, noticing how you are separate from your thoughts and mindset. Work is more about, or self-coaching about choosing your thoughts consciously, like because you have the ability to say that you're looking forward. 


Heidi:

And what you see in front of you is the same old story you've told yourself that if my boss has feedback, it means that I'm a terrible person and I'm gonna lose my job. But like on the horizon, you can turn your head and there are other things to look at. There are other ways to interpret it. And the way that you interpret it will either create more stress or less stress. 


Heidi:

So being very mindful about, that, incredibly. It has a huge effect on, 


Heidi:

on whether your brain goes into a stress response or not. Really helping your nervous system be more resilient. It's a relationship. You know, sometimes you want to spend more time nourishing that relationship because, you know, maybe you're just feeling loving or maybe something is feeling hard, but then other times you're not gonna need to think about it so much. 


Heidi:

You, you can be on, automatic, it can get easier. But you never wanna take it for granted. You always want to be considering your nervous system, considering your resilience and asking yourself are the, is this decision that I'm making going to serve, serve that? Or not, you know, if I eat this whole plate of brownies and I go into a a, self-doubt, spiral and confidence spiral, is that gonna help my resilience plus all of the sugar and if they're processed, you know, all the other stuff in there? 


Heidi:

Probably not. Okay. So I wanna just offer three of my favorite practices to create more resilience. The first one is to do a, a daily nap or yoga nidra, which is, it's just a deep relaxation technique, the guided meditation that it gets your body into a state of total relaxation and 


Heidi:

safety. The second is to breathe with your belly when you're feeling stressed and slowly. and the third is to do less. So just like I shared my example of, of, my staycation this week after having a good launch. Consciously schedule time after stressful events that you know about or even if you can, after unexpected, stressful events to just do less. All right, friends, that's what I have for you today. 


Heidi:

Thank you so much for sharing this time with me. Take care and I'll see you next time.Heidi

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