Roots of Resilience

roots table

We humans are complex beings with many aspects, all of which can be impacted by depression and anxiety.  Yet we are incredibly resilient and remain capable of restoring our selves throughout our lives, even when illness has kept us down.  The Resilience Model offers seven interconnected pathways to recovery, which we call the Roots of Resilience.

The first three focus upon our physical selves, the body and what it requires to function as it is meant to. They provide the foundation for resilience, like the three legs of a stool, providing a stable platform for cultivating the rest of one’s self. The three areas are interconnected, of course. If you improve your diet, for example, you will not only improve your brain chemistry, but you will have more energy. And if you exercise, you are also likely to sleep better, and so on.

The final four roots are reflections of the mind and soul, which comprise our inner selves. The fourth and fifth factors deal with thoughts and emotions—different aspects of the mind. Unhealthy thoughts and feelings are the source of much of our distress. The focus is on doing less harm to ourselves by being conscious of our thoughts and feelings, and not reacting to them in a way that makes things worse. Becoming more conscious of what we are thinking and feeling, and more skilled at calming the mind and facing the emotions allows us to release ourselves from their grip. It is possible to step away from much of the distress that they cause.

The sixth and seventh roots, cultivating a good heart and creating deep connection, take us beyond our attempts to feel better. The focus here is upon developing positive, healthy inner qualities that build upon strengths that we already possess. They open us to the life we are longing for, where we feel more alive and engaged, more and more like the self we would wish to be.

It feels so much better to live like this that it leaves little room for unhealthy fear, stress or anxiety.

(adapted from The Chemistry of Calm by Henry Emmons, MD)