As we roll into the new year, a renewed focus on your health may be at the forefront of your mind. While diets and workouts are often at the top of the list when it comes to New Year’s resolutions – there’s another often overlooked aspect of your health that’s just as important.
What exactly is this often overlooked aspect of health?
Your perspective – or more specifically, just how optimistic, hopeful, and resilient your perspective on life is. Today we’re going to dive into exactly why hope and resilience are so important for your health and give you some clear steps on how you can build more hope and resilience in your life.
Defining Hope and Resilience
To understand exactly how these feelings relate to your health, it’s important to understand exactly what hope and resilience are.
- Hope is defined as an optimistic state of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes when dealing with life’s various circumstances.
- Resilience is defined as the ability to recover or “bounce back” from hardship, stress, and negative events without succumbing to despair.
These two emotions go hand in hand. But hope and resilience aren’t just an emotional state, they’re also a mindset – or a collection of thoughts and beliefs that guide you. And it turns out that tapping into and strengthening this mindset can have a colossal impact on your health.
How Exactly Hope and Resilience Impact Your Health
Saying that a sunny and positive outlook is good for your health isn’t just speculation. Research has uncovered some impressive findings regarding just how much your perspective can affect your overall health and ability to heal. Research has proven that people who possess hope and resiliency have:1,2
- A stronger immune system – making them less susceptible to infection and illness
- Healthier cardiovascular function – decreasing their risk of things like heart attacks and strokes
- Greater survival rates when diagnosed with life-altering diseases like cancer or AIDS
- Lower levels of inflammatory markers (like c-reactive protein and interleukin-6)
- Increased longevity
You see, no matter how much modern medicine tries to compartmentalize our bodies and our health, the truth is our body, mind, and spirit are all one. And your thoughts, feelings, and overall outlook on life can have a massive influence on just how well your body is functioning.
My Story of Hope, Resilience, and Healing
Statistics, numbers, and data are impressive and important when it comes to validating just how crucial hope and resilience are to our health. But my firsthand experience with not one, not two, but three serious health diagnoses was the catalyst for why I do what I do.
You see, starting at age 25, I was hit over the years with 3 life-altering diagnoses: breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and mold toxicity. Each diagnosis rocked me to my core and left me determined to find answers and solutions. And amidst all that uncertainty and fear I was able to tap into something deeper – my own sense of hope and resilience.
This sense of optimism allowed me not only to overcome these diagnoses but to thrive and create vibrant health in the midst of them. This experience gave me the gift of truly and deeply understanding just how much our minds and spirits influence our health. This is why I incorporate this component of health into my own practice – treating each person as a whole rather than just a set of symptoms.
How You Can Build More Hope and Resilience in Your Life
The good news is, a hopeful and resilient mindset isn’t simply something you do or don’t have – it's a skillset. Let’s take a look at some ways you can build more hope and resiliency in your life, and subsequently bolster your overall health.
- Meditation and Prayer:
Meditation is a powerful tool that can help you quite literally rewire your brain. By training your brain to focus on a particular thought, object, or activity, you can transcend your current situation or disempowering thoughts. There are many forms of meditation and there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to do it. Just the simple act of practicing meditation on a regular basis can help you better handle stress and have an improved sense of overall well-being. To learn more about how meditation can improve your health, head over and read my article Be Happier and Less Anxious With 7 Minutes a Day. I personally find prayer to a Higher Power inspires me to see the bigger picture and ask myself, “What else is possible?” which stimulates the subconscious mind to start to work on solutions. I also believe that trusting God for answers relieves stress and tempers our tendency to remain worried or fear less than ideal outcomes. I always say, “If the ending isn’t good, your story isn’t finished yet!”
- Practice Gratitude:
What you focus on expands. So if you’re spending a lot of time focusing on the things that are negative or lacking in your life, you’re likely going to create more of those things. But gratitude is a powerful antidote to those bleak and gloomy thoughts. Simply taking some time each day to recognize and appreciate all the things you value and love in your life is a sure-fire way to help you feel more hopeful and resilient.
- Prioritize Self-Care:
You can’t pour from an empty cup. If you’re neglecting your own needs or filling your life to the brim with obligations and leaving no room for fun and pleasure – there’s a good chance you’re going to struggle to feel optimistic and hopeful. So build self-care into your life every single day. That includes the basics like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and moving your body. But it also includes making room for fun, relaxation, connection, and creativity. I carry a bag of coloring books and colored pencils in my car for spontaneous meet-ups with friends at the coffee shop. The conversations we have around coloring are often deeper, more profound, and increase the connection and fun.
I routinely schedule massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, integrative manual physical therapy and somatic based psychotherapy for myself, in addition to home care practices, such as using my PEMF mat, sitting in my infrared sauna, taking epsom salt baths and using Red Light therapy.
- Nurture Healthy Relationships:
As human beings, we need connection and love to thrive. And the people and energy we surround ourselves with play a critical role in our health and mindset – so it’s important to be particular about who’s in your inner circle. Surround yourself with people who support and nurture you and allow you to just be you. Having others to lean on and infuse us with their own positive energy is a powerful way to borrow positivity when ours is running low.
- Choose Your Thoughts Intentionally:
No one will coach you more than the voice in your head. And if the thoughts that play on repeat in your head all day are negative, it can make it hard to stay optimistic. Practice intentionally choosing thoughts that support you and foster a positive attitude. Read my article on How the Power of the Subconscious Mind Can Heal you.
- Make Plans and Take Action:
Waiting around and being reactive to the circumstances of life can make you feel hopeless and powerless. But setting goals, making a plan, and then taking daily action to achieve those goals – that leaves you feeling in control and empowered. Feeling like you’re in the driver’s seat and making progress in your life play a huge role in cultivating a hopeful and resilient outlook.
You Were Built to Overcome
Hope and resilience are powerful (and often overlooked) components of health. My own attitude of hope and resilience has allowed me to truly appreciate what a gift my own obstacles have been. My struggles have given me an incredible platform and foundation to speak from a place of genuine understanding and authenticity. And I have the chance to pay that gift forward by teaching people just like you about functional medicine and the principles behind true healing and radiant health.
As we step into this new year, I want to remind you that you and I – we were built to overcome. No matter what hardships you’ve faced or what challenges you’re working through right now, trust yourself and your ability to not only persevere but to flourish. By intentionally cultivating more hope and resilience in your life, you can step into this new year on a path to renewed health – on every level.
And as always, I will be here to support my patients and readers the best way I know how – by giving you the resources, tools, and knowledge to optimize your well-being. If this is the year you’re ready to go all-in and take charge of your health, you can get all my best advice and resources delivered straight to your inbox. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter by entering your name and email address in the form below.
From my family to yours wishing you the happiest and healthiest new year!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.