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Benefits of Resistance

Have you been feeling aimless, depressed, or restless? Then, it's time to lean into what you've been resisting.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how we grow, how we evolve.

A few weeks ago I saw a TikTok video where someone was sharing their thoughts on growth and it really resonated with me. I’ve been retelling the story to my clients in the hopes that they feel the truth of it the way I did. (I tried to find the video to link it, but I couldn’t find it again.)

In the video, a man describes how trees behave when kept in biodomes. When trees are given “perfect” environments they become weak, growing only to a certain point and then toppling over. We learned that trees need wind, need resistance, to reach their potential.

The man compared this phenomenon to an arm in a cast for 6-9months: What happens to the arm? It atrophies. It becomes soft. He extrapolates further and drives home the point that we all, all living things, require resistance in order to grow, in order to unlock our potential.

Is that beautiful? Can you not feel the absolute truth of this statement?

I feel this truth deep inside me. I know that when I’m challenging myself, I feel excited. When I meet with resistance, I feel that spark in me light up to push me through. And by contrast, when I sit back and allow myself to become complacent in a “perfect” environment I grow bored. But even more than that, I become more depressed, irritable, and overall dull. I seem to forget my power, I lose my drive.

Embracing resistance in our lives is beneficial emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, physically, and socially.

So consider this: When things get easy, it’s an invitation to try something new, to challenge yourself. Shake things up! Surprise yourself! You’ll feel more resilient, more alive.

This is totally backed by neuroscience, by the way. Check out this article on Life Hacker. Our brains thrive when faced with newness; we learn more, remember more, and feel motivated to keep exploring.

The pandemic was, at first, a new challenge for us and most of us learned to thrive in our new conditions. But as we've spent more and more time isolated at home, in the same environments and routines with very little novelty, we've grown soft. Our ability to learn, remember, and motivate has declined. It's no wonder many of us are feeling aimless, depressed, and restless.

But now, as regulations relax a bit, take this as a call to shake things up. Do something new. Take a class. Join a social group. Do the thing that scares you. Take a lesson from the trees: dealing with resistance, challenging yourself, will remind you of your power and motivate you to seek greater heights.

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