In fact, you could say they didn’t teach us anything at all about resilience or what it is. Some people think that personal resilience comes automatically simply for having ‘been through a lot’ in their life when that’s not necessarily how resilience is developed.
So here are the 7 things they never gave or taught us about resilience at school:
1) A clear, practical and relevant definition of Personal Resilience.
If we want to know what resilience is we first need a good definition for it and this is something I know for a fact was never taught to me at school. The Institute of HeartMath offers a definition for resilience that captures the essence of a broader understanding of what resilience is:
“Resilience is the capacity to prepare for, recover from and adapt in the face of stress, challenge or adversity”
Graduating from ‘the school of hard knocks’, dosen’t necessarily mean you’ve acquired resilience as defined above.
2) Facts about the heart that facilitate resilience.
Chances are that in year 9 biology you and i were probably taught similar facts about the heart. Things like it’s a muscle, a blood pump, has four chambers and a number of arteries etc. But here are 6 more significant facts that I can almost guarantee you weren’t taught:
FACT 1: Due to its complex nervous system of 40,000 neurons and biochemistry, Dr J. Andrew Armour coined the term ‘Heart Brain’ in 1991 and has since even been referred to as the ‘little brain’. Because of this, it has an enormous sensory capacity allowing the heart to act independently of the brain.
FACT 2: The neurology of the heart contains both long and short-term cellular memory.
FACT 3: The heart sends more electrical and sensory information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart by an astonishing ratio of 9 to 1.
FACT 4: Your heart emits an electromagnetic field that is electrically 40-60 times more powerful than the brain and magnetically 500 times more powerful than the brain. This emission can be felt by others and detected by measuring devices 3-4 feet away from the body.
FACT 5: During foetal development the heart is formed and starts beating before brain development.
FACT 6: The heart beat and rhythm of a new born baby can synchronise to the brainwaves of its mother even when they are a few feet apart.
3) Heart-Brain Coherence.
In this context the state of ‘Coherence’ refers to an optimal state of harmonious heart-rhythms. This measurable rhythm can be almost instantly produced by heart-centred positive emotions which helps overall brain connectivity and function facilitating an increase in creativity, problem solving, and of course; resilience.
4) The positive mental, emotional and physical effects of coherence.
Positive heart-centred emotions create many neurological, psychological and physiological benefits that increase the immune system, sensory acuity and general physical functioning while negative states and emotions produce the opposite.
5) Emotional self-regulation.
For me, having gone to a good Catholic primary and secondary School, the closest thing I got to this was going to church and learning how to pray by asking God for forgiveness and strength – that’s about it, but that somehow didn’t seem to cut it for me later on in life. Although things are slowly changing in school curriculums, there is still VERY little, if any, focus on teaching the young people of today, (who will eventually be the leaders of tomorrow), how to prepare for, recover from and adapt to challenging and stressful situations. If a young person doesn’t learn these essential life skills and doesn’t understand how to self-regulate then they are more likely to fall victim to immediate gratification addictions and emotionally numbing vices and distracting escapisms like alcohol, drugs, junk food, TV, social media, ‘retail therapy’ etc.
6) Breathing techniques
Again, although this is very slowly changing, it seems to me that when I think back and ask myself ‘what did I learn at school which had a practical use for my life today?’, the fact is almost nothing comes to mind. Breathing is one of those interesting things, it’s the simplest thing you do and you’ve been doing it with almost zero thought since the moment you were born. Yet, it’s the most crucial thing to your entire physical existence. Want proof of that? See how long you can go without breathing as oppose to sleep, water and food, also important things for your physical survival which your body can go without for hours, days and weeks respectively.
As we all know, how you breath can almost instantly change the way you feel, which can change the way we think which in turn can change the way we act/behave, but were you taught this life skill at school? Hm . . .
This is ultimately what the previous 6 points are simply all pointing to is ‘Self-Awareness’. The more we are taught this skill the more likely it is we will be able to self-regulate, communicate, interact with others and perhaps even find our own unique talents to bring into and express out in the world. Who knows, that could even lead to a deeper level of meaning, purpose and fulfillment, the things we all want at the end of the day.
Contact Nick for more information about a focussed, practical program that will teach you exactly how to self-regulate your body’s response to stress, challenge and adversity using the intelligence of your heart with simple, powerful and scientifically proven techniques from The Institute of HeartMath