Want to live ten years longer? Yes, please! Living a stronger, healthier, and more satisfying life is really about resilience. Jane McGonigal, a game designer who suffered a traumatic brain injury, has spent years researching individuals who have shown great resilience post trauma. She has used this research to explore how all of us, without undergoing a traumatic event, can build resilience and become “superbetter”, live with fewer regrets, and ultimately increase our lifespan.
Physical resilience helps us to withstand stress, prevent injury, and heal faster if we are injured. The key to physical resilience is to not sit still. For those of us with sedentary occupations, this can be quite a challenge. However, it’s so important, if possible, every hour to make our bodies move. If our job allows for it, stand at your desk for a few minutes, march in place, or take a brief walk. Just get moving.
Mental resilience supports discipline, determination, and willpower. As Miss McGonigal demonstrates in her presentation, willpower operates like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. This is where small changes have big impact. Even though we don’t progress on willpower alone, giving ourselves small mental challenges can boost our commitment to progress. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, completing a tabletop puzzle – any small mental challenge done regularly can help build mental resilience.
Emotional resilience is in our control. We have the ability to elicit specific types of emotions from ourselves. If we can regularly elicit positive emotions, at least three for every negative emotion, on a regular basis, we will be healthier for it. Looking at a picture of someone we love, reminiscing about good times, or finding something to make us laugh, can all negate the negative emotions that come our way.
Social resilience is perhaps the most important, allowing others into our lives and sharing an interchange of emotion. This can be accomplished through physical touch, expressing gratitude and reaching out to those who need our help.
Individuals who can regularly boost resilience in these areas have been shown to live, on average, ten years longer than those who do not. Who knew the secret to a longer, “superbetter” life was so simple?
If you would like to see Jane’s full presentation, follow this link here: http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life.html