Support your immune system & mental health with MoreYoga Classes

I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Lucy Hone about the power of resilience during tough times & the ways we can practice resilience to support our wellbeing. Originally a Londoner herself, Dr. Hone moved to New Zealand 20 years ago and is now a senior adjunct fellow at the University of Canterbury, the co-director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, a published academic researcher, best-selling author and blogger for Psychology Today. Her TED talk, the Three Secrets of Resilient People, has had over 2 million views and the arrival of the COVID pandemic has seen her work picked up by the BBC and Insight Timer.

Dr. Hone explains that Resilience is ‘the capacity to steer through any form of adverse event and learn from it’. Humans have 4 uses of resilience; getting through childhood adversity, it allows us to manage the everyday stresses, trials and tribulations and also enables us to cope with the really big stuff life throws at us. The first 3 are all about the way we react to events and experiences that happen to us and the last use is linked to being proactive and reaching out for support, the ability to try new things and take on new challenges. 

“What I’m interested in is how do you get the best of findings out of academica and make them useful to people in their everyday lives when they are faced with challenging circumstances”

From her extensive research, her groundbreaking work and personal experiences, Lucy kindly shares the secrets of Resilience and how it can help us when we’re faced with adversity.

1. We all grieve differently.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that we all grieve differently and everyone is experiencing some form of grief for some form of loss from this year. Everyone’s lives have changed to some degree and it’s OK to feel angry, frustrated and robbed right now! That is the appropriate response to losing things and having things taken away from you unexpectedly. Whether it’s your final prom at school, losing a job, not seeing your friends or colleagues at work or losing a loved one, try to remember that it’s OK & natural to feel those emotions. 

2. Be kind to yourself & practice self-compassion.
It’s an ancient Buddhist knowing that suffering is a normal part of life, it happens to all of us and it can be comforting to remember that you are not alone. Drawing on the work of Kirsten Neff, Co-Founder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion & creator of the Self-Compassion Scales, she employs 3 steps towards putting Self-Compassion into practice: 

  • Noticing when you’re struggling. 
  • Saying to yourself ‘everyone in the world struggles, struggling is normal, I am not alone’.
  • Give yourself permission to practice self-compassion, say to yourself ‘I need to be kind to myself right now and do whatever I need to in order to get through what I’m facing’. Notice when you’re listening to your inner critic and try to dial down that inner critical voice when you notice it. 76% of us are kinder to other people than we are to ourselves. Three quarters of us have a pretty nasty inner critic and it can make tough times of life even more challenging. Practising self-compassion can take on different forms for different people, it’s all relative to the individual, so why not take some time to reflect on what self-kindness means to you.

3. Lucy’s personal strategies are evidence based, practised and backed by research: 

  • Asking yourself ‘Is the way I’m acting helping or harming me on my quest to get through this?’ 
  • Disputing your Inner Critic: When we’re having catastrophizing or negative spiraling thoughts try to question those thoughts and imagine saying those critical thoughts to a friend, or out loud. This can help to put things into context and into perspective.
  • Try to stay present and not to ‘forecast forward’ too much. From research we know that people who manage well in challenging times accept the situation they are in and are able to still find things that help them to stay hopeful. Try not to think about what’s going to happen next year & try to be realistically optimistic. 
  • Ask yourself ‘What and who is still good in my world?’ Intentionally making yourself notice what’s still good in life and who is still there can be a powerful practice. Asking ‘What can I tune into and focus on that I value now?’
  • Asking yourself ‘What am I hoping for now’, this is a great way of moving the goalposts. Accepting that things may have changed but we don’t have just one goal, you can always change the goal posts. 
  • It’s OK to take some time to wallow and give yourself the time to feel what you’re feeling. Try not to let it consume you but accepting your feelings are valid is also important. 
  • Any practices that help you to stay in the moment are absolutely key to Resilience; Yoga, Mindfulness, Meditation, Breathwork etc. 
  • Moving rooms is also a simple but effective strategy; standing up & moving your physical location is a great practice when we’re feeling overwhelmed or our thoughts are spiralling out of control. 
  • There are great courses online on ACT which stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Doing an ACT course can help you take a step forward in helping yourself and supporting others. Ongoing we are going to need more people to help others in the world so this could also be a very empowering step. 
  • Remember if you are struggling with your mental health don’t be ashamed to ask for help and see your GP. 

You can learn more about Lucy’s work at The New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience and learn about their online courses:  https://nziwr.co.nz/

You can connect with Lucy on Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucy-hone-95964415/

You can find Lucy’s book ‘Resilience Grieving’ on Amazon.

Watch Full Interview

“What I’m interested in is how do you get the best of findings out of academica and make them useful to people in their everyday lives when they are faced with challenging circumstances”

About Dr. Lucy Hone

Dr Lucy Hone is a senior adjunct fellow at the University of Canterbury, co-director of the NZ Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, a published academic researcher, best-selling author and blogger for Psychology Today. Her TED talk, the Three Secrets of Resilient People, has had over 2 million views and the arrival of the COVID pandemic has seen her work picked up by the BBC and Insight Timer.

Having been trained by the thought-leaders in wellbeing science at the University of Pennsylvania, she went on to attain her PhD in public health at AUT University in Auckland. Her dissertation was recognised for its outstanding contribution to wellbeing science at the World Congress of Positive Psychology in 2019. She now assists organisations – from government departments, to leading law firms and schools – to build understanding and capacity in wellbeing and resilience.

A member of the NZAPP Executive Committee, conference co-convenor for Wellbeing in Education NZ, and a global rep for the International Positive Education Network (IPEN), Lucy’s research has been published in several peer-reviewed academic journals including the Journal of Positive Psychology, Social Indicators Research, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, theInternational Journal of Wellbeing and NZ Journal of Human Resources Management. Her best-selling book Resilient Grieving is published in NZ, Australia, the US and England, and her latest book, The Educators’ Guide to Whole-school Wellbeing is published globally by Taylor & Francis London (2020).

About the writer, Liz Joy Oakley

Liz Joy Oakley is Yoga Teacher, Holistic Wellbeing Coach and Head of Vibes at MoreYoga, co-running our MoreMind Project with Stephanie Minchin, coordinating events, content and workshops focused on better supporting our communities mental and physical wellbeing. After starting her career in the fast-paced world of luxury fashion Liz came to Yoga after being diagnosed with Malignant Hypertension and Generalized Anxiety and left with the goal of helping others to lead healthier lives holistically. Liz went on to spent a year working at the Safe Childhoods Foundation in Indonesia, an NGO committed to combatting organized crimes against children, she began to understand the true benefits of Yoga, Meditation and Psychology as therapeutic tools and describes this as a time of total transformation.

Now back in London, Liz is passionate about helping people achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle through her work. She loves bringing people together, encouraging authentic connection and is happiest when facilitating retreats, workshops and events based around Yoga, Positive Psychology and Holistic Wellbeing.

Liz teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin & Restorative Yoga, specialising in teaching Yoga, Mindfulness & Meditation to improve stress & anxiety. She combines this with her work as a Holistic Wellbeing Coach & is dedicated to spreading Joy through her work.