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8 Lessons In Resilience That I Learned From Cats

Written by: Heather Bryant Ph.D., LPC, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


There are many different ways to learn things. There’s value in learning from experience, sometimes called learning the hard way. Learning from others is touted as the easier way to learn since you don’t have to go through the hardships associated with the lesson. Resilience refers to the ability to move past obstacles in a healthy way. It helps us maintain balance during stress and can protect us from feeling overwhelmed. Who better to frame resilience and bouncing back than the animal with nine lives? Here is a list of eight life lessons on resilience observed while living amongst feline friends.

1. Go for the jump, but have a healthy balance of risk and caution.

Cats calculate before pouncing. They squat from afar, take in the situation, adjust their footing, focus their sight, prepare their launch, and then finally they go for it.

Attempting to gain something may involve risk; there often is risk in growth or opportunity. In fact, on the flip side, there is a risk involved with not taking a chance. Recognizing the risk in either direction enables us to proceed with a broadened perspective as we make our choices. We can focus, evaluate, prepare, and take the leap.

2. Brush it off

We’ve all seen the videos on YouTube of the cats jumping and missing their target. Sometimes, even the most calculated efforts don’t add up to success. There are times we leap, and then we take a fall when it does not turn out as expected. In those cases, we take some time to tend to ourselves and regroup. Then we can determine if we’d like to try again or move on to a different adventure.

3. Relax in the sunny spot

Cats love to find a sunbeam to lay down in and soak up the warmth. Sunny spots aren’t there 24/7, so a cat takes advantage of it while it’s there. If there is a bright spot in the day, no matter how small or large the moment, be mindful and immerse in it and take some time to absorb the pleasure and bask in it.

4. Don’t underestimate a brief rest

Cats are notorious for napping, napping regularly, and napping often. When tired, overworked, and unfocused, the tendency is to push through. Our brains are goal-driven and wired to be motivated by achieving, so stopping to take even a few minutes seems counterproductive. However, that may be just the break needed to regain momentum and return with a fresher perspective.

5. Be unapologetically you

Cats are unique in their attitudes, desires, and preferences. Be real, own your weird, and remember how valuable you are just for being you. Don’t spend time comparing or doubting, do your thing and let the world love your spark.

6. Take up space

Cats are territorial, and space is essential. Even an indoor cat will scratch and mark its area. When a cat moves in, it immediately takes up space regardless of its effort to claim the space or not. It has a litter box, a food or water area, a place to sit or lay, and various toy or scratching areas. We all have space, whether we show up in it or not. Our existence necessitates that we use resources, have needs, and impact those in our circle of influence. Your experiences have value. Own your space, show up in it, claim it as yours, and use it to empower yourself and others.

7. Play hard

Cats often rest, and then they play hard. With the right motivation, such as laser pointers, they are very energetic. If a challenge is motivating enough or incentivized enough, we can go at it hard too. When we have the energy to burn, it is healthy to burn it off. Doctors have long encouraged the benefits of exercise for both physical and mental health. In addition to the physical benefits of motion, moving our bodies can physiologically impact stress, depression, and anxiety to help alleviate symptoms. We could run, go to the gym, take a walk, or do some exercises in the convenience of our home or office. We could also bring a friend along.

8. Have stoic persistence and resistance

Cats, in general, are pretty persistent. They will find something that they want no matter how many times or how well it is hidden. On the other hand, cats know what they do not like as much as they know what they want. They will fight for their desire and against what challenges their objective. Persist in your efforts while resisting obstacles and distractions. While we can’t win them all, we can certainly keep trying if something is worth fighting for in the end. We can persist by focusing on the objective and not let obstacles deter us as we go for our goals.

Learning is a lifelong process, and it helps to brush up on things like resilience and self-awareness. There is a tendency in all of us to get caught up in the hustle. Intentional visuals of ordinary everyday things to observe can reconnect us to our core and remind us of resilience skills, helping balance a busy life. Find ways to see resilient traits in routine things around you as reminders to increase the intentional use of a resilient perspective.

Embrace you and share it with the world. If you’d like to talk about resilience or about being you, drop me a message at the contact info below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Heather Bryant Ph.D., LPC, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Heather Bryant is a licensed therapist and transformational coach with a doctorate in psychology. She has spent the last two decades advocating for clients and their families as she helped them face life’s challenges. Heather has worked with clients of all ages in various clinic settings and private practice. She has experienced personal life challenges that taught her the importance of faith and innovative skills to remain resilient. She knows firsthand how life can get busy and throw curveballs. Recognizing how we can often lose pieces of ourselves in the process of growth or change, she helps people break that cycle. Heather provides a supportive and nurturing place for people to reconnect with their core and fully embrace themselves. She is committed to helping people gain clarity and develop skills to focus on what is most important to them, even when life gets chaotic. Her mission is to empower her clients to show up in their lives and stand confidently in their authentic presence.



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