We all go through difficult periods in our lives – an unexpected loss, an illness or another event that brings about change. Resiliency is the ability to cope effectively with life’s inevitable stressful times. Resilient people rebound from life’s setbacks, in part, because they see change and adversity as opportunities for learning and growth.
The good news is that resiliency is a skill that can be enhanced with practice. In this blog post, we’ll explore the relationship between resiliency and the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness as a Tool to Build Resiliency
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to what is happening in the moment with openness and a nonjudgmental attitude. Given our busy lives, it is easy to be distracted. Many of us need to retrain our minds to be more mindful.
We can strengthen our resiliency by mindfully noticing how we perceive and react to stress.
Many of our reactions to stress are automatic. Mindfulness allows us to see our thoughts, emotions, and situations more objectively and compassionately.
Mindfulness and the Body’s Stress Response
When we go through stressful times our body’s flight and flee stress response is triggered. You can probably recall times in your own life when you’ve experienced “fuzzy brain,” worry or fear, and/or physical symptoms due to stress.While difficult, all these experiences are part of the body’s natural stress response.
Research has shown that mindfulness practice may reduce worry and stress and improve resiliency.
Training the Mind to be Mindful and Resilient
Just like learning to play the piano, improving mindfulness and resiliency takes practice. Studies suggest we can grow our inner resiliency through a mindfulness practice of 10-20 minutes a day. We can also improve our resiliency through everyday wellbeing practices.
Practical Tips for Building Resiliency
Optimism. Practice mindfulness meditation to help shift your focus from negativity to more positive thoughts about the future. You can’t change the fact that stressful events happen, but you can learn to change your response.
Positive Relationships. Have a variety of meaningful connections in your community, at work and with your family. Consider volunteering and sharing your gifts with others.
Find Meaning. See if you can find some positive way in which you’ve dealt with the challenge. Generosity, compassion and gratitude can come out of difficult times.