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A New Years Resolution for Resilience with a lesson from the ant

Written By | Jan 4, 2022

Thanks to Christian Lischka SJ @lisch for making this photo available freely on Unsplash ๐ŸŽ

SAN DIEGO, January 4, 2022โ€“ย  The new year is traditionally a time for reflection and setting new goals with anticipation, but for many Americans, optimism could be lower and levels of uncertainty higher at this usually inspiring time. Going into a new year with resilience and fortitude is an excellent resolution.

There were thoughts by some that COVID would be over within a few months when it first occurred unexpectedly in 2020–and here we still are!

The ups and downs of it; the uncertainty of it; and all the continuously changing procedures and protocols for surviving COVID 19 have been shocking. Adding to the mix of uncertainties are concerns for our economy, education, safety, health care, supply, employment, illness, losses, politics and the world-at-large.

It is understandable if some experience disappointment, anxiety, depression and the like during such uncertain times.

“We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live.”
-Cesar Chavez

Everyone sees the world differently and responds uniquely to unrelenting stressors of our times, which are admittedly challenging and may seem nearly impossible to withstand.

Thanks to Audi Nissen @audin for making this photo available freely on Unsplash ๐ŸŽ

Resilience: the art of getting back up on your feet

However, since we choose life, we may or not realize we are also choosing to cope and survive; and, hopefully in healthy ways.

No matter how difficult or unpleasant our circumstances may seem, we are also choosing to accept them and/or overcome them.

The mighty ant offers a lesson in resilience.

Take for example the lesson we can learn from the tiny ant which has a reported total population of approximately 10 billion!

They appear worldwide in fossils across the globe reflecting an Earthly presence of approximately 10,000 years ago.

According to National Geographic, they are approximately 0.08 to 1 inch in size and are smaller than a regular-sized paperclip!

They can carry food and other items on their small backs which are more than 10 times their weight, according to the National Federation of Wildlife.

Their ability to work efficiently and cooperatively in colonies is the secret to their longevity and overall success as a species.

In short, they have a profound ability to adapt to their environment and with each other for survival and with purpose.

“Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty”
-John Ruskin

Resilience, therefore, is innate for the survival of any species which also includes humans.

What is difficult for some of our humankind is a lack of awareness that they may possess it!

As with learning something new, playing a musical instrument, fine-tuning one’s craft, enriching one’s profession, focusing on self-improvement and the like, Resilience is available to draw upon from within the human spirit and enhanced by our minds and our bodies.

The very fact that any of us alive today survived the traumatic process of being born is testimony to our innate ability to survive the seemingly impossible.

Realizing that each and every one of us has the ability to develop Resilience empowers us to become unlimited overcomers to what will occur to most throughout their lifetimes.

According to Psychology Today,” Resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before

Highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals.”

Some humans admittedly may be more genetically predisposed towards optimism which could be influenced by health and underlying conditions, early childhood conditioning, environmental factors and the like.

As the desire to become more Resilient enhances, Psychology today suggests” breaking out of negative thought cycles, pushing back against catastrophizing and looking for upsides….”

“I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong…I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”
-Audrey Hepburn

Thanks to Brad Barmore @bradbarmore for making this photo available freely on Unsplash ๐ŸŽ

The National Institutes of Health offers their 7 Steps to Manage Stress and Build Resilience:

Recognize countersigns of stress by recognizing feelings, physical symptoms, and the like and communicate them to a trusted friend or advisor.

Take time for yourself and build “time out” into your daily routine, including healthful habits and stress-reduction techniques.

Try new routines from changing bedtime or taking a nap.

Stay connected by making new friends and/or by staying in touch with family and friends, and groups and connections which are important to you.

See problems through a different lens by changing the way we think about and respond to stress and perhaps “seeing” it from a different perspective.

Seek help with problems by turning to health care professionals, mentors, financial advisors and more, from persons whom you trust.

Talk to a health professional if stress is affecting your well-being, you feel you cannot manage the stress you’re experiencing, or stress has caused you to engage in or increase substance use.

Seek immediate help if you are experiencing any thoughts of self-harm or suicide: Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Finally, through adaptation and acceptance of any adversity or setback, building Resilience as a matter of choice can be enriched by mindfulness and seeking desired support to strengthen it.

Remember the lesson in Resilience from the ant which is a small but mighty creature and has the ability to adapt, cooperate, persevere, and survive, while not questioning its purpose nor the ability to bear the weight of it.

Just think about what the human race can collectively accomplish as we adapt and resiliently move forward for the betterment of humankind!

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!’


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(Main image:ย Thanks to Christian Lischka SJ @lisch for making this photo available freely on Unsplash ๐ŸŽย )

Laurie Edwards-Tate

Since 1984, Laurie Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm and children. Laurie is Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.