Being yourself is always good policy. But how do you muster inner strength when you need it most? Our dynamic relationship expert Miranda Walichowski shares insight on how we can be our most authentic selves, even in the midst of challenges.
We are all inspired by stories of incredible strength and courage, of doing what is right, of achieving seemingly insurmountable tasks, of overcome adversity, and of staying the course. Many times we may find ourselves asking “Do I have what it takes?” or “Given the same circumstances, would I be able to do the same?”
We may never be called to fight in battle, be imprisoned or martyred for our convictions, risk our lives or wellbeing for another, or complete an arduous athletic endeavour. However, we will all be called to moments where we must delve into our inner strength to do what we ought. We might be faced with an illness, the illness of a loved-one, or the demise of a dream. We may experience failure, or have to deal with difficult people. Sometimes the vicissitudes of life will take us by surprise. And we might find ourselves with little to give in return. It is in those moments that we go to our well; we dig deep and begin to ask of ourselves more than what we feel we can do.
Are there ways to fill the reservoir of inner strength? Are there ways to augment our convictions? When we take into account that we are physical, social, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual beings, we have at hand a repertoire of methods to increase our inner strength. Let us explore how to nurture our inner strength by addressing our physical and social natures. In the next issue, we will cover the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects of cultivating inner strength.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
A strong body makes a difference. Following a disciplined exercise regime allows us to feel a sense of accomplishment. That sense of accomplishment goes far in increasing confidence that will permeate other endeavours. Also, exercise releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine; these natural chemicals create a well-earned sense of greater wellbeing. Exercise engages the neurotransmitters in our brain so that we reap the benefits of chemical releases such as endorphins, epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. These natural chemicals greatly increase our sense of well-being.
Getting adequate sleep may seem like a platitude, but research is conclusive in suggesting that adequate sleep allows our bodies to function optimally. Specifically, adequate sleep helps us optimize our ability to have a better mood, cognitive ability, energy, and tolerance for stress. In essence, adequate sleep helps us make better decisions.
Recent studies by neuroscientist Matthew D. Lieberman, Director of UCLA’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab suggest that the need to connect socially with others is as essential and basic as the need for food, water, and shelter. In a 75-year longitudinal study, researcher Robert Waldinger, a Harvard Psychiatrist, found that individuals thrive and do well when they are in a supportive community of family and friends.
Surround yourself with people who accept, support, and encourage you. Support from your close social network will increase your capacity to draw on your inner strength. Leaning on those connections will be an immense area of strength. You may not even come to appreciate how much of a difference the support makes until you are on the other side of your struggle.
Inner strength is a living force. As you walk in the valley of adversity with dignity and a belief that you have all you need to see your struggle through, you become stronger. Addressing your physical and social needs during a trying time will give you the momentum you need to continue moving forward.