Spring Hardiness

April 4, 2014
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Donnalyn Giegerich

Donnalyn Giegerich

By DonnaLyn Giegrich

Planting the first spring pansies always reminds me of lessons in resiliency.

If environmental conditions get unbearable again, will life persist – for the hardiest flat of pansies or for folks that face great challenges? Research shows, for plants and people, that vibrant longevity often hinges on our ability to develop hardiness to endure the toughest seasons of our lives. So how do we manage the unexpected and the unwanted in this age of uncertainty and rapid change?

Experts offer several tips to develop resiliency in order to live in hope to cope. Harvard Business School professor Joshua Margolis suggests that we frame adversity in terms of its depth and duration to help manage our response. In addition, how we control or create solutions to challenging circumstances is another way to transform adversity into a freeway of opportunity for others.

If we can train ourselves to become more skillful in responding to our challenges in this thoughtful way, then hopefully we can spend more time engaged in meaningful momentum and less time in melting down. If you’re interested in learning more about your resiliency quotient, take a look at the challenging self-test at www.peaklearning.com.

While you’re assessing your hardiness, consider a few more options:

  1. Develop a breathing practice. Ever hear of pranayama? In the world of yogic wellness, prana is known as our essential life force. Nothing happens without the breath and learning how to concentrate on the rhythmic patterns of our breath provides great benefits in calming nerves while crafting a resiliency plan for the next challenge. There are a variety of specific yoga breathing patterns but the first step is simply start becoming aware of the patterns of your breath and when the switch points occur between the inhalations and exhalations.  Try to notice when you’re hyperventilating through life versus sustaining a rhythmic and calm tempo conducive to making informed, non-reactionary decisions.
  2. Learn some effective relaxation techniques that you can do at your desk, during your commute or at home when the lights go down. Autogenic relaxation techniques enlist the use of words to suggest a general unwinding or slowing down. Think along the lines of “your feet are rooting down into the earth” or “your body is floating down a calm river.” If you buy into the suggestion, you will surely experience a calmer way of being.
  3. Try body scanning by paying attention to successive parts of your body as you slowly unwind feelings of tension and muscle clenching. Start at the top of your head and progressively move throughout your form to induce a quieting of the body and calmer way of being.
  4. Experiment with progressive muscle-relaxation exercises. Build resiliency by talking yourself off a cliff the next time you’re stressed by systematically bringing different sets of muscles to greater feelings of ease by exhaling longer and more deeply than your initial inhaling. Flood your body with the feel-good hormones correspondent with the parasympathetic nervous system.  Enjoy instant relief.
Summer Jobs: Working in the Sun


Even the corporate space is catching up on these resiliency boosting techniques. Silicon Valley is sporting napping pods at their corporate headquarters, CEOs are taking snoozing breaks to recharge and congressmen in Ohio are meditating to keep the pace.  Maybe it’s time you considered peeling back the power pace to restore to endure. Good luck staying spring hardy!

DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA, CIC, RYT, keynotes, consults and coaches on integrated leadership topics in the business, wellness and consumer space to empower others. Her work is viewable at www.donnalyn.org. Locally, you can find Giegerich providing client care as an insurance pro in Red Bank, teaching economics and coaching entrepreneurs at Brookdale Community College or hosting Yoga on the Lake Summer Series for stressed out leaders.


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