While preparing for an upcoming workshop I came across some research on resiliency --the ability to “bounce back” after hardships. Dr. Mark Seery’s studies show that moderate adversity early in life can actually help us develop resilience and cope with life’s challenges. The study suggests that the adage, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” is psychologically true. Researchers offer the example of children contacting germs in play and how this helps their immune systems grow stronger.
In my garden I’m finding the same lesson. Last year our terrier, Reggie, in his hunt for chipmunks dug up a lanky raspberry bush. The bush looked half-dead but I covered it with dirt and fenced off the area. The bush had grown vigorously but had produced only a few tiny raspberries in its first few years.
This year, instead of growing more canes, the bush is much more compact, and has produced many very large, luscious berries.
On the other hand, my spinach lacks resiliency. It can’t seem to thrive even in a shady spot during our cooler summer. It has bolted almost immediately.
The work of emotional intelligence can guide us toward changing dysfunctional thought patterns that hamper our ability to bounce back from life’s changes and challenges.
How resilient are we to the hardships of life? Can we appreciate our daily annoyances and smaller challenges for the gift they may offer?