A mental health mantra — Resilience, Reserve, Reassurance
I’m a 45-year-old yoga and meditation teacher, and when I recently facilitated a meditation workshop in Melbourne, Australia I was reminded of three powerful words that can be used as a mental health mantra — resilience, reserve and reassurance.
The R-mantra, if you will.
During the workshop, one woman shared very personal thoughts on her battle with anxiety and its crippling nature.
Another participant spoke of working such long hours that she did not have one ounce of energy left to give to her family and friends.
Another student had lost his only child years back and confessed to moments when he still felt frozen, stricken with unrelenting grief.
Although each of the participants’ experiences was deeply personal and unique, the emotional fallout had similarities: a negative impact on wellbeing and their sense of ability to function.
What I acutely observed in the session was that all of the participants were suffering, yet that they were all more resilient and had more reserve energy than they gave themselves credit for. They also demonstrated the capacity for self and group reassurance.
I saw their ‘resilience’ through the very act of enrolling in the course. In doing so they were supporting themselves in their aim to facilitate a calmer, healthier life experience.
I noted their ‘reserve’, as they had actually turned up to learn new skills, which requires commitment and extra energy.
And finally, I saw evidence of their natural ability to engage with ‘reassurance’ when they spoke honestly about their personal challenges and gave examples of their progress and wherewithal. I observed them accepting encouragement from one another that things can improve and will be ok.
There is a lovely cyclical relationship between reassurance and resilience and reserve. That the act of reassurance can be as simple as acknowledging the presence of the first two, “R’s” resilience and reserve. Simply to congratulate ourselves on our commitment and our tenacity to live our best each day.
Here are a few questions to help you tune in to the R-mantra concept for daily support:
1. Is your default mode to trust unreservedly that you are resilient? Do you bounce back from daily set-backs or major life hurdles and remind yourself that you are ok and will be ok?
2. Is your default mode to trust that you have reserve energy and the wherewithal to contend with whatever crosses your path? Whether it’s a lack of a good night’s sleep or dealing with difficult personal or family issues, do you remind yourself you can and will get through it?
3. Is your default mode to reassure yourself that you are inherently worthy and doing well? To treat yourself compassionately like you would a best friend?
No matter how you answered these questions, rest assured, you’ll be in good company. And if you answered some of them with a ‘no’, trust that you have the capability to move toward a ‘yes’.
I firmly believe that we aren’t limited by our past and that we have abundant capacity to grow and change into the people we are meant to become.
We’ve all had unique life experiences. Our DNA and early childhood powerfully shape our lens on life. We may have natural tendencies to behave in a certain way, born from family patterns, but we also have the ability to challenge and change old patterns that no longer serve us well.
Personally, I have always contended with a sensitive make-up, one that enables me to deeply feel and experience life — both the ups and the downs.
Most of the time I celebrate this as a gift, yet it hasn’t always been easy. Like many, my upbringing had its challenges. It has taken me many years to build resilience and reserve and to be able to reassure myself that I’m ok and that I will be ok.
I believe that no matter what we are going through that we all have the ability to find support deep from within.
Daily challenges are a constant so it’s worthwhile reminding ourselves that we have resilience and reserve energy when we think we don’t, and to be able to reassure ourselves that we can get through most anything.
I have found the ‘R-mantra’ a simple and useful way to support myself through times of overwhelm and negativity. I hope that my R-mantra: Resilience, Reserve and Reassurance will also assist you to feel strong and productive in your daily life.
Until next time, Deb xo