Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity

Course No. 9042
Instructor Molly Birkholm,
iRest Institute
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Course No. 9042
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What Will You Learn?

  • Practice how to access your body's built-in relaxation system.
  • Discover the uses of mindfulness meditation to increase your resilience.
  • Better understand how to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.

Course Overview

Author and motivational speaker Regina Brett once said, “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.” But now consider this alternative: What if you could drop your problems into that pile … and just walk away. Would your life actually be better off?

Recent research shows that we grow into our best and most joyful selves not when we avoid our problems but when we embrace them, confident that we are resilient enough to work through them to an appropriate resolution. Our problems are an important part of our path.

Resilience is our ability to physically, emotionally, and mentally bounce back from adverse circumstances. Without it, we would be down for the count every time we ran into a problem. Stuck in traffic and late for a meeting? It’s your resilience that allows you to make the necessary phone calls and keep moving forward, confident that you can handle this stressful situation as it evolves. Without it, you’d make a U-turn and give up. Recovering from the flu or recent surgery? It’s your resilience that helps you take care of yourself appropriately and look forward to a better future. Our capacity to thrive in life depends directly on our resilience.

Sharing her own fascinating journey, as well as the latest research by neurologists and psychologists, trauma specialist Molly Birkholm shows us how to gauge our current level of resilience and improve from there. In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, you’ll learn how all of our challenges—from everyday stresses to life-altering traumas—can bring wisdom and growth. In 17 fascinating classes and 7 “hands-on” practice sessions, you’ll learn about and experience the process of building the inner calm and clarity of mind that create greater resilience. With Ms. Birkholm’s warm and optimistic demeanor, you’ll feel her encouragement every step of the way as you move toward building your best and most fulfilling life.

Why Do You Need Resilience?

What you may not realize is that you are already resilient! As you read this now, you’ve made it through 100 percent of the most difficult days of your life so far—some of which were extremely challenging. You’ve accomplished that great feat because you inherited a brain and nervous system that evolved an internal resilience in response to stress, you have followed cultural norms that support resilience, and you have actively chosen to dig down to your own inner resources. The great news is that you can proactively improve your resilience to better face any adversity ahead. In fact, we know more about how we can boost our resilience now than we ever have before.

In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, you will learn how to use and strengthen each of the eight themes of resilience, such as:

  • Your core values and purpose: the fundamental principles you base your life on and turn to for strength;
  • Finding meaning in adversity: moving from a victim mentality to a new paradigm of post-traumatic growth;
  • Equanimity: keeping your mind calm, even during challenging situations;
  • Self-care: maintaining your energy reserves by taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental needs;
  • Healthy coping skills: building your personal bank of coping skills such as humor, gratitude, deep breathing, good friends;
  • Positive sense of self: learning to build your inner authentic identity;
  • Support and connection with others: knowing you have a supportive group of people to connect to whether times are easier or more challenging; and
  • A proactive worldview: knowing you always have the power to choose how to respond to events around you.

Each of these themes can be developed and incorporated into your everyday life, so you are better prepared to face any challenge, whether it is a stressful day at work or something more unexpected.

Experiencing and Expanding Your Own Inner Resources

In this course, you’ll not only learn about the components and importance of resilience, but you will also work hands-on to increase your own resilience with several classes devoted exclusively to guided practices, including:

  • Active and relaxing yoga poses to help you more clearly observe sensations of tension and release in your physical body, your feelings, and beliefs;
  • Yoga nidra to find safety deep within yourself;
  • Breath work to use your breath to calm your mind;
  • Techniques to promote sleep to maintain a healthy body and mind;
  • Mindfulness to observe the experience of your entire body and mind exactly as they are, without judgment; and
  • Evoking the relaxation response to trigger your body’s built-in relaxation response through the parasympathetic nervous system.

Much like the themes of resilience, these practices will act as tools you can take with you into the world. As you will see, the more you practice and make these exercises part of your life, the easier it will be to call them up when you need them most.

Claiming Your Own Hero’s Journey

Have you ever thought of yourself as a hero? You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest or rescue a baby from a burning building to be a hero. Each of us is already living the hero’s journey as we set out on the unique adventure of our own life—as we face adversity or crisis along the way, struggle to get past those roadblocks, and then move forward as a changed person. Each time we navigate our way through the hero’s journey; we can strengthen our resilience by discovering new vibrancy in life; new sources of wisdom and meaning, and a deeper embodiment of our authentic, true selves. Among the many aspects of the hero’s journey, you’ll learn about:

  • The call to adventure: When something happens to make you realize “life as usual” cannot continue;
  • Crossing the threshold: To leave behind the familiarity of your former ways and begin something new;
  • Tests, Allies, and Enemies: Moving forward as your intuition, faith, strength, and intelligence are all tested and retested; and
  • The Road Back: Integrating into your new life the insights you’ve learned on your hero’s journey.

In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, Professor Birkholm shares the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of her own fascinating, life-changing journey as she guides us to find the deeper meaning in our own lives. She tells of her own hero’s journey through trauma and how she came out on the other side with a mission to help others. Whether you’re a trauma survivor or someone who is reaching for a more fulfilling and joyful life, your life will be enriched when you proactively increase your resilience.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 32 minutes each
  • 1
    The Foundation of Resilience
    Adversity is sure to come to each of us in life. Will we be crippled by it or see an opportunity for growth? The answer lies in our ability to be resilient. Meet the eight themes of resilience this course will bring to life: core values and purpose, finding meaning in adversity, equanimity, self-care, healthy coping skills, a positive sense of self, support and connection with others, and a proactive worldview. x
  • 2
    The Hero's Journey
    Whether or not you think of yourself as a hero, chances are the adversity in your life has caused you to walk the hero’s journey. Discover what that journey entails—illustrated by your instructor’s own life—from initial call to adventure, through the ordeal and rebirth, until stepping into your new truth in a world that no longer seems as ordinary as you’d once thought. x
  • 3
    The Resilient Human Spirit
    Learn how humans have nurtured a spirit of resilience for thousands of years through instinct, “deep listening,” the Golden Rule, rites of passage, and faith—whether spiritual or not. Studying these practices, scientists are now confirming and promoting some of these techniques as ways to process adverse experiences and return to harmony. x
  • 4
    The Consequences of Stress
    Humans have always experienced periods of acute stress, and we have the nervous system to prove it. Explore how the sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for the fight-flight-freeze response, and how the parasympathetic nervous system relaxes the body when the cause of stress has passed. But if the cause of stress becomes chronic, serious long-term health consequences can result. x
  • 5
    Mastering Physical Resilience
    We often think of physical resilience as our body’s physical strength and fitness—the stronger we are, the quicker we’ll bounce back. But that’s only part of it. Learn about the additional skills needed to recover well from physical stress, illness, or injury. You’ll see that building physical resilience is not just what you do, it’s also how and why you do it. x
  • 6
    Improving Emotional Resilience
    We’ve been socialized to believe positive emotions are good and negative emotions are bad, but that is far from the truth. Our emotions are simply our individual responses to the situations we experience; we can accept, pay attention to, and learn from all of them. Explore some coping mechanisms for regulating your emotions—which some scientists see as the single most vital aspect of resilience. x
  • 7
    Strengthening Mental Resilience
    Our mind is the gatekeeper to our perception of our lived experience, and it has the power to make or break our ability to recover from adversity. While we can't completely control what we think, we can control how we understand and react to those thoughts. Explore the important relationships between your thoughts, belief systems, and core values, and learn why psychological flexibility is the foundation of mental resilience. x
  • 8
    The Practice of Self-care
    Does self-care sound uncomfortably self-focused and egotistical to you? If so, remember that caring for yourself is a crucial component of your own resilience, as well as giving you the energy and ability to help others. Learn how the Wheel of Life exercise can help you determine where you're lacking in self-care, and how to create and manage your own Self-Care Journal to improve your resilience. x
  • 9
    The Rewards of Sleep
    We often think of sleep as simply what's left over at the end of the day. But to the contrary: healthy sleep patterns can transform your life with improved physical and mental health, better memory, and even increased longevity. Learn how to prepare your bedroom, your body, and your mind for high-quality sleep, and the many ways in which your phone can both hinder and help you achieve that goal. x
  • 10
    Finding Equanimity with Mindfulness
    Our lives can feel like swirling maelstroms of sensory input, thoughts, and emotions. But there is a way to find the stillness that permanently exists beneath it all—meditation. Validated by thousands of scientific studies, meditation has been proven to enhance almost every aspect of life. Experience the power of mindfulness meditation and learn how it can help you find peace in the present moment. x
  • 11
    Understanding Trauma
    All trauma—whether caused by a single event or prolonged exposure to a traumatic pattern—affects our physical body and our mind. Trauma causes specific changes in the brain and even in the genetics of reproduction. Learn why, without help, the mind and body can get stuck in the loop of the sympathetic nervous system’s trauma response. And how, with appropriate help, the mind and body can heal. x
  • 12
    Discovering Post-Traumatic Growth
    Those who can process their trauma can move forward to become stronger, wiser, and more resilient. Using Harriet Beecher Stowe as a fascinating example, you’ll learn how post-traumatic growth can lead to improved personal strength, the opening of new possibilities, spiritual change, and greater appreciation for life. We can become more resilient because of—not despite—adversity. x
  • 13
    Suzi Landolphi on Post-Traumatic Growth
    You will thoroughly enjoy this enlightening conversation between your instructor and Suzi Landolphi, a well-known leader in the post-traumatic growth movement, who currently works with combat veterans as a PATHH Guide (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes). Just as trauma can be transmitted to successive generations, so can post-traumatic growth, she says. She sees it all the time. x
  • 14
    Cultivating Community and Connection
    Human beings are wired for connection to others; our initial cognitive development depends on physical touch, and our “mirror neurons” teach us how to be human based on our interactions with others. Learn how to develop quality connections with others, connections that will help you thrive and increase resilience. Your instructor shares the inspiring stories of two individuals who did just that. x
  • 15
    Finding Safety
    When we feel unsafe, our brains become stuck in the response of the sympathetic nervous system and we have very little access to higher cognitive functioning. Learn how to increase your number of protective factors, increasing your feeling of safety and your resilience. The goal isn't to eliminate the risk of danger, but rather to have as much control over it as possible. x
  • 16
    Opening to Joy and Gratitude
    Authentic, lasting joy is an internal experience, not dependent upon any circumstances outside of ourselves. Learn how to find authentic joy by opening up to all of life—allowing yourself to feel the full range of your feelings, including those emotions you’ve been taught to bury—and taking responsibility for your own choices in your unique journey. x
  • 17
    Practice 1: Building Resilience
    Instructor Birkholm takes you through a gentle yoga practice to help build awareness of your body, feelings, and beliefs. No yoga experience is necessary. You'll be guided by this step-by-step instruction, which is modeled both standing and sitting. At the end of the practice, you'll experience a deep relaxation pose, resting in the stillness that is always available to you. x
  • 18
    Practice 2: De-stressing with Your Breath
    Learning to work with breathing is particularly powerful, as breath is the only function of the autonomic nervous system we can control. You’ll practice the three-part yogic breath, relaxation breath, energizing breath, and alternate-nostril breathing, among others. You’ll develop a better understanding of the yogic saying: “the mind affects the breath, and the breath affects the mind.” x
  • 19
    Practice 3: Promoting Sleep
    This practice will guide you through the steps of preparing for sleep. You’ll learn how to focus your attention on the good things that happened during your day as you start to settle in. You’ll enjoy relaxing all parts of the body—front, back, and sides—getting rid of tension wherever you’re carrying it. The guided meditation at the end of the practice might lead you directly into sleep. x
  • 20
    Practice 4: Relaxing Yoga for Self-Care
    This yoga practice—whether sitting or lying down—releases your body’s tension and encourages you to connect to your physical experiences on a deeper level. You’ll learn movements and breathing techniques that can be used during an average day at a desk or in a car. You’ll learn to let the breath carry the pose and find that union between body, mind, breath, and spirit. x
  • 21
    Practice 5: Practicing Mindfulness
    In this mindfulness practice, you’ll continue to build awareness of your physical body, emotions, and mind. You’ll learn how to witness your thoughts and emotions in the present moment as they move in and out of your mind, without labeling them “good” or “bad.” This powerful practice will open up a new way for you to relate to your own thoughts, memories, and beliefs. x
  • 22
    Practice 6: Evoking the Relaxation Response
    In this practice, you’ll learn how to trigger your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, your relaxation response, whenever you want to calm down. You’ll use your breath to continually invite your body to relax—and then notice your body’s response without judgment. These techniques are always available to you and can be applied at any time throughout your day. x
  • 23
    Practice 7: Finding Safety with Yoga Nidra
    In this practice, you'll learn how to find safety and peacefulness within yourself. You'll be guided through a very deep relaxation, a safe and peaceful awareness similar to what you might experience just before sleep. This is the peace that is always available to you, no matter what's going on around you in the outside world, a stillness you can always access. x
  • 24
    Your Hero's Journey
    Resilience, one of the most important skills we can master, is essential to navigating life successfully and reaching our fullest potential. As we each go through our own hero's journey, we venture through life's trials and tribulations, but also through its beauty and rewards. Learn how to identify and evaluate your personal strengths, and how they will help you on your own hero's journey. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Ability to download 24 video lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 224-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 224-page printed course guidebook
  • Charts & photos
  • Activities
  • Self-evaluation tools

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Your professor

Molly Birkholm

About Your Professor

Molly Birkholm
iRest Institute
Molly Birkholm is a trauma specialist and iRest® trainer affiliated with the iRest Institute; a cofounder of Warriors at Ease; and the CEO of Molly Birkholm, Inc. As a yoga and meditation teacher and trainer, professional speaker, consultant, and writer, she inspires others to create meaningful life changes using research-based yoga and mindfulness meditation techniques. A featured teacher for Yoga International and the...
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Reviews

Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity is rated 4.1 out of 5 by 7.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a wonderful & much needed course This is a course that sneaks up on you. It is surprisingly deep. Unfortunately it is one of those undervalued courses that doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Learning about building your resilience is sort of like eating your brussel sprouts. But follow this instructors rich and wise guidance..fortify your mind and body and you'll be glad you did!
Date published: 2019-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent follow-up to iRest Course This is a great course and complements the instructor’s yoga nidra course beautifully while presenting a great deal of new material. I love the practice sessions. Especially helpful are the breathing exercises. Can’t wait for this instructor’s next course.
Date published: 2019-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Game Changer I previously purchased Molly Birkholm's IRest Yoga Nidra Great Course and was so impressed with the positive results of the Sleep meditation, that I eagerly purchased the Resilience course. I have been viewing the lectures on an "as needed" basis - whatever happens to appeal to me in the moment. (Though I do plan to go back and watch them all in order.) I have been unilaterally stunned by the depth, kindness, and usefullness of each episode that I have watched to date. I am recovering from Developmental Trauma (e.g. a history of child abuse) and this is the Perfect Next Step in my personal journey. Thank you to Molly and to the Great Courses for making this teaching so readily available!
Date published: 2019-08-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Couldn't Play It! We could play lesson 2 due to a Codec sales "water mark" which we could not remove. Very disappointed.
Date published: 2019-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adver No doubt that life can be difficult at times! I am so happy that I bought this course. The professor has a very likeable approach to dealing with the subject. I have found several things that I was able to apply immediately. While I have not completed the course, I look forward to each class. I really liked the class about emotions!
Date published: 2019-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The perfect course for toxic times Rarely have I ordered a course that so perfectly matched my needs at the moment. After several years of discordant news, relationships and events my life experience feels like a toxic waste dump. The instructor presents the material from a position of compassion, a gentle but firm strength. Working through exercises in breathing, yoga, and sleep management, this course has evoked many buried practices and knowledge from a lifetime of work in body, mind and spirit. The material has reawakened the values of managing myself first, improving my relationships both personal and professional.
Date published: 2019-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from We purchased this DVD to help us understand our possibilities to cope with family dynamics. I think the information is very pertinent and doable. We are on Lecture 7. I found the Hero’s Journey very interesting and insightful. Molly Birkholm is very good at what she does. We like her style and presentation of information. The only suggestion I would offer is to figure out how the presenters can stay in one place and not move around so much. Those movements are a distraction for the viewers.
Date published: 2019-06-13
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