Building My Emotional Reslience, Part 1

I had another vertigo attack last week. I had a head cold, possibly a case of the flu, and boom, a vertigo attack. I wrote it up, so you could see what’s it like to be inside a vertigo attack. It’s not fun.

My assessment of where I am physically, is that my balance is about where it was 6-8 months ago. My proprioception (my knowledge of where I am in space) is about where it was a year ago. My balance is better, because I have more tools from Erik, the BrainPort, and dance. My tinnitus is worse, and my ocular reflex is worse–what I see when I turn my head. Translation: I’m dizzy, and need to use my cane and walls to walk. I bend over as little as possible. I stay in closed position in dance. I’m walking slowly at the gym, even with my cane, because my balance is so off.

My emotional balance isn’t so hot either. Not so surprising. I’m applying the lessons I have learned and am still learning from Siebert’s book, The Resiliency Advantage: Master Change, Thrive Under Pressure, and Bounce Back from Setbacks.

Siebert says that the first form of emotional resilience is to optimize your physical health. Well, I can’t do that in the middle of a vertigo attack. But, I can do that after an attack. If I’m falling over, I don’t work out. But I was back at dance, in a limited capacity, the day after my attack. I was back in the gym, doing strength training only, two days later. I have to be strong to keep up with Erik.

I have to keep working out, otherwise I fall over more. And, the workouts stretch me in more than physical ways. They bring me face-to-face with the reality that my life is different and will never be the same.

Building my emotional resilience via building physical health can be a challenge. As my vestibular therapist said, you have to be mentally tough to live with vertigo. Sometimes I wonder about going to the gym or going to dance. And, I feel so much better after I go, that I know I’m doing the right thing.

So, as you think about your emotional resilience, think about easy ways you can build your physical health to create your emotional resilience. If it’s too hard to build your physical health, you won’t do it. Just enough challenge is the right amount. For me, strength training, and scurrying after Erik in the gym is the right amount on a daily basis. Add in the dance classes, and I’m happy.

The physical challenges build my emotional capabilities. I think it’s because I build on small successes. Maybe because for an hour every day, I am too busy to think about how my body doesn’t work the way it used to, and how it does work now. I know my dance form has improved. I can see my strength has improved. Those successes build my resilience.

As you think about your emotional resilience, consider your physical health. What can you do, that you can fit into your day so it’s easy, that would provide you challenge and a sense of physical well-being and satisfaction? That’s how to use your health to build your emotional resilience. And that’s just the first step.

5 thoughts on “Building My Emotional Reslience, Part 1

  1. Sheryl K.

    Hi Johanna – I am a former student of yours from Tufts-Gordon. This post is another example of your bravery in sharing your experiences – inspirational! Emotional resilience through physical health/strength is a strong idea to think about. I didn’t grow up in an athletic household and adding that facet of well-being to my life as an adult has been both challenging and rewarding mentally. Thank you for sharing.

    1. johanna Post author

      Sheryl, it’s so nice to hear from you! I have very fond memories of your/our class. Glad to jiggle you into thinking of adding physical activity. You jiggled me into twinsets all those years ago :-)

  2. Badri N Srinivasan

    Hi Johanna,

    I would also like to reiterate that building emotional resilience through optimization of physical health is one of the best ways to improve your body condition. Physical activities build resilience when attacks occur and as the body ages over a period of time, the physical activities help to tone and keep the brain emotionally resilient and this helps to lessen the impact when the attacks occur. However, this requires a lot of persistence and unswerving dedication to keep up with the physical activities under great odds….
    Hope you reap the benefits of the physical activities in the future…..!

  3. Pingback: Emotional Resilience, Part 3, Strengthening Your Inner Selves

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