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Watching Sunrises & Sunsets for Resilience

"There’s always a sunrise and always a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it," said my mother. "Put yourself in the way of beauty.” ― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Put ourselves in the way of we?

Connection to the universe is a critical component for resilience. Research shows that sunsets have many psychological effects that enhance the long-lasting satisfaction of life and physical benefits and have been proven to relieve stress.

One theory is that appreciation for the beauty of nature is so powerful because it’s instinctual rather than learned. There’s a natural tendency to stop and stare at a breathtaking sunset. When you do so, you’re likely to be caught up in the moment, and your mind gets a break from fretting over the past or worrying about the future. Afterward, you feel refreshed and life just seems a little better.

At sunrise, the energy from the sun is one of peace. It opens our hearts and when we feel it, it to permeate our being. The power of a sunrise can infuse a day with tremendous energy. There's something about that first sparkle of light that begins a new day. "For one thing", says Molly Maloof, MD, "the blue light that’s outside in the early morning gives you a natural energy boost." Blue light turns on wakefulness and supports our ability to bounce forward.

What is it with these cows and the morning light??

I grew up on a dairy farm. Seeing the sunrise on a farm or over a field of cows fills me up with joy & energy. Living on a farm and connecting with nature daily supported my physical, psychological, spiritual and social wellbeing. So much possibility exists when starting the day with the sunrise. My resilience bucket was full, getting daily doses of nature.

When I moved from the farm, it took me a while to understand how my resilience was negatively impacted by the lack of "putting myself in the way of beauty." Knowing how to find beauty daily and making it a priority had a positive impact on my relationship with myself and others.

Finding a way to fill my resilience bucket with nature was a great place to start and end each day. I find that it allows me to focus more on others and build a stronger network of relationships. These two strategies have supported my rebounds from setbacks.

The Human-Nature Connection

When we connect with nature daily it supports our our physical, psychological, spiritual and social wellbeing. Our connection to nature opens up our ability to connect with others.

According to the HBR article, "The Secret to Building Resilience" by Rob Cross, Karen Dillon, and Danna Greenberg, a well-developed network of relationships can help us rebound from setbacks by:

  • Helping us shift work or manage surges

  • Helping us to make sense of people or politics in a given situation

  • Helping us find the confidence to push back and self advocate

  • Helping us see a path forward

  • Providing empathic support so we can release negative emotions

  • Helping us to laugh at ourselves and the situation

  • Reminding us of the purpose or meaning in our work

  • Broadening us as individuals so that we maintain perspective when setbacks happen

For more on building your network for resilience, visit:

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