Resilient, [adjective]: capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture; tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.
In this episode of The Agent of Wealth podcast, Marc Bautis and John Williams speak with Dr. Eva Selhub — an internationally recognized expert, physician, speaker, scientist, executive leadership and performance coach and consultant in the field of corporate wellness and resilience. Selhub helps people improve their life through the creation of a culture of resilience, and in this episode she provides a baseline for how you can do just that.
In this episode, you will learn:
- What being resilient really means.
- What stress is, in the most basic form (and why we need it!).
- The connection between resilience and stress.
- How to put an end to limiting beliefs.
- The difference between stress and a threat.
- And more!
This is the fifth installment in a six-part Agent of Wealth series, called “Health is Wealth.” Listen to the other episodes:
- How to Start Exercising and Stay Motivated
- How to Overcome Your Sugar Addiction
- How Collaborative Problem-Solving Can Lead to Better Parenting
- Tools for Solving Common Sleep Issues
Welcome back to the Agent of Wealth Podcast. This is your host, Mark Bautis. John, how are you?
Hey, Marc. I’m good, glad to be back.
Me too. On today’s show, we brought on a special guest, Dr. Eva Selhub. Dr. Eva is an internationally recognized resiliency expert, physician, author, speaker, scientist, and consultant. Dr. Eva engages her clients and our audiences with her powerful energy, words of wisdom and scientific knowledge to activate the six pillars of resilience to achieve optimal resilience, success, health and happiness. Eva, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much.
How do you define resilience?
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability for something to withstand adversity and bounce back to its original form. It’s the ability to be pliable, bendable and flexible, and to not lose your form despite trauma or adversity.
I like to use an analogy to give color to this idea. Let’s say you have two drinking utensils on your desk. One’s made out of rubber, the other one’s made out of glass. If both drinking utensils fall off the desk and hit the floor, what happens? One breaks and one balances.
With the one that breaks, you can put it back together but it’ll never be quite the same — and you probably won’t be able to drink out of it anymore. Whereas the rubber one not only bounces back to its original form, but you’ve discovered that you can drop it over and over and over again without issue.
The latter is what we call resiliency. Not only is it about withstanding adversity, but also getting stronger and wiser as a result of it.
I often tie adversity back to my college wrestling days. I had a coach that preached about mental toughness. He told us that the winner in a match is always the person who is more mentally sound. Not that I’m trying to compare it to wrestling but…
Yes, it’s true about everything in life. Even building muscles requires the fibers to break first. When you undergo stress, you either have two outcomes: You become weak or anxious — which we see in post-traumatic stress syndrome — or you become stronger.
So those are the two mindsets, but there’s also, for example, the way that a person physically overcomes an illness. There’s a toughness and that is occurring in the six pillars of resistance:
- Physical vitality.
- Emotional equilibrium.
- Mental toughness and clarity.
- Spiritual purpose.
- Healthy personal relationships.
- Being an inspiring leader and part of a wider community or team.
That’s what allows us to deal with what life brings us — because it’s going to bring us threats and adversity. It’s going to happen, but how we deal with it is what matters.
Is there a way to better prepare for a stressful situation to happen?
How to Better Prepare for Stressful Situations
Absolutely. Which is what my book Resilience for Dummies is all about. Basically, general preparedness is about having versatility and flexibility in knowing and doing — and having a lot of different people in your life as resources. By “flexibility,” for example, I recommend doing all different kinds of physical activity — running, lifting, functional movements, swimming, etc. This gives your muscles versatility.
It all goes back to those six pillars that I talk about. If you can check off all of those boxes, you are prepared. And if, for some reason, you aren’t for a specific event, you still have resources to help you.
How does resilience tie into our perceptions? As human beings, we can be really hard on ourselves. How does that play into this?
I think it’s because we don’t feel that we’re enough, so we’re constantly reaching for something that’s outside of ourselves. And on one hand that may push us to excel and be financially successful, for example. But what good is money if you’re dead? What good is money if you’re unhappy? Instead of asking “Why is life happening to me?” ask yourself “Am I a victim of my life circumstances, or is life happening with me?” After all, you are the co-creator of your life.
When we have emotional equilibrium — a quiet mind and Zen inside — we have a knowing of our value. We don’t question it, we don’t take things personally. Setbacks aren’t personal, failures aren’t personal. They’re just opportunities for growth and learning. Life is happening with me, not to me.
How to Put an End to Limiting Beliefs
That mindset is something that we can cultivate through meditation practice, physical fitness, better sleep, healthy relationships and self-awareness practices. When we have that, we move away from shame or blame because it’s not personal. The first relationship that we want to build is the one we have with ourselves. And that’s also why the spiritual connection is also so important, because it allows us to transcend negativity.
How do you train the emotional part of it?
The first step and on all levels is self-awareness. I teach a lot of people how a negative mindset affects them physically, physiologically and therefore their behavior.
The next step is changing your perception. Sometimes this is as easy as changing one word when we speak to ourselves. Instead of saying I should have done X, say I could have done X. That one word can change the vibration in your body — the perception. This takes us from a feeling of shame to a feeling of accountability. Now we’ve opened up the realm of possibility.
That’s an example of limiting words (or limiting beliefs and negative statements).
Does it make sense to take it a step further? So after you’ve changed the initial negative through to a possibility, to add an affirmation or visualization of the desired outcome?
Absolutely, and that is part of the work. But we have to take small steps before we add in that element. Otherwise you’re not going to believe it’s possible, right? If you’re feeling like crap and say “No, everything’s great right now…” are you going to believe that? It’s like when people say don’t worry, be happy.
The point is that it’s challenging to go from a very low energy to very high energy. Yes, we have to do the work by continuing to shift our energy. To do that, we use tools like breathing, meditation, affirmations, or whatever else works for you. These tools help us raise our energy so that we have access to positive beliefs, myths, rational thinking and our ability to access the support that is around us.
Is this all “step one” to your process, where everyone starts off at?
The first place I have people start is through body awareness. I teach them about stress physiology and how the way we speak and our behaviors affect us physically. It’s the one thing that’s objective.
Speaking of stress… What is your advice for someone who is so stressed that they’re ability to function is being impacted?
Stressed Beyond Belief? Use This Tip
That’s a lot of people, by the way. Especially this past year and a half, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is not an exception, it’s been a rule. To answer your question, we start from the beginning — self-awareness, learning how to breathe, how to pause, how to turn off the mind, how to take care of ourselves and our body so that we can handle the stress that’s happening.
I heard you say that you had a recent podcast episode on sleep. Getting enough sleep is very important when it comes to handling life. Just as recovery is important for athletes working out almost every day. The body needs recovery in order to handle trauma. It’s about cultivating the support that we need to handle adversity.
I also help clients understand that when they are suffering or in a negative state, they don’t have the ability to access rational thinking — which can prevent us from reaching out to people we need. Then, we co-create more stress. So it’s not about denying that we’re in a hard situation or a challenging situation. It’s saying, given what is, what am I to do? And what’s available to me to help me get through this? Then, you must start accessing that support.
Does stress affect people physiologically?
What is Stress?
The first thing to understand is the definition of stress. Everybody says, “Oh, I’m so stressed.” Of course you are, you’re in a human form. As long as you’re in human form, you’re going to experience stress.
By definition, stress is really a term of physics. It means that a system in a state of balance is getting challenged.
Every living organism desires to be in a steady state, or a state of homeostasis. This state is impossible to maintain, because life is constantly changing. We’re dynamic beings and we live in a dynamic system — the living, breathing earth.
So as life is constantly changing, that state of homeostasis is constantly being challenged. Our bodies are able to determine when these challenges happen, when stress happens.
So for instance, you could be sitting here, perfectly happy. Then, all of a sudden, you’re hungry. Hunger is a stress. The brain picks up that there’s stress present and triggers an automatic response that creates physiological changes. Those physiological changes trigger a physical response, which is the behavior which corrects the problem. So you’re back into homeostasis.
You get hungry -> you notice that you’re hungry -> you get motivated to eat -> you go get something to eat -> you consume it -> you’re no longer hungry.
That’s called allostasis, the ability to achieve stability through change.
This is how human beings (and basically all living organisms) exist. Believe it or not, we would be dead if we did not have stress. Stress is what motivates you to make money, it’s what motivates us to learn new things. Without stress, we’d have no innovation, no creativity and no species because we’d have no desire for reproduction.
The Difference Between Stress and a Threat
The problem comes when there is a perception that we can’t handle stress. For example, that you’re hungry but there’s nothing to eat — and you’re out in the middle of the desert. Now it’s become a threat.
And there’s a difference between stress and a threat, because when the brain perceives that something’s threatening, the stress response is overly activated, which can cause pathological prompts.
For instance, I’m being chased by a lion. I’m not going to take a nap, forage for food or reproduce — I’m going to run like hell. While doing so, my immune system is going to be wrapped up, so my heart rate, blood pressure and respiration goes up. At the same time, my metabolic system shuts down into something called metabolism. Muscles become more tense, the immune system is revved up, there’s more inflammation. Neurotransmitter levels drop because it’s not a good time to be happy. You need to be scared or angry. Your brain shuts down because it’s not a good time to do logical thinking. Are you following me?
All of these physiological changes are necessary and beneficial in the short term, but in the long term — if there is a continued perception that something is awry — the distress is not manageable, it becomes a threat, then the stress response becomes activated.
So in that case, you’d have continuously high inflammation, blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, so on and so forth. All of these will eventually cause your systems to break down, because they can only handle so much.
Our relationship to stress in our body is moreso the perception that we can’t handle something, which is why the should vs could is so important.
Earlier, you mentioned meditation. How does meditation help clear up some of those mindset issues?
How Meditation Can Help
Yes, every single one of my clients learns how to meditate. I don’t have people meditate for long, as the main focus is breathwork. The key is to learn how to quiet your mind and be in a state of stillness — from which, we have objectivity. With objectivity, we make better decisions, we’re more open, we don’t take things personally. We’re better able to handle things. We become more like that piece of rubber.
Well, Dr. Selhub, we’re just about out of time. How can a listener get more information about you and what you do?
You can visit my websites, Drselhub.com and Drselhubcorporate.com. There’s lots of content there. I’m also on social media — LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also pick up my most recent book, Resilience for Dummies, on Amazon.
Awesome. Thanks for joining us today. You gave us a lot of great information!
Thank you for having me.