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Growing Resilience with Mindfulness

In case you wondered if resilience is something you can grow, I gave it away in the title. It’s true! You can grow resilience.

Consider this resiliency equation by Army Veteran & scholar Elizabeth Stanley:

Stress + Recovery = RESILIENCE

If you think about your life, it’s likely that one part of this equation is already covered…the stress part! A critical part of resilience is stress.  But stress alone does not a resilient person make. We must also recover in order to grow resilience.

How do we recover?

Your recovery process after stressful events (from the daily stuff to the major stuff) is as unique as you are, so consider how the tips below might be integrated to meet your specific needs. One size does not fit all!

Mindful Tips 

Remember what helps you land in the moment.

So often we are tugged around by our lives, unaware of the truth of the moment. We time travel to the past journeying down a rabbit hole of rumination. We time travel to the future, taken over by waves of worry of what might happen. When you notice you are time-traveling (because we all do it), gently call your attention back to the present moment.

“Resilient people know that suffering is a part of life.” 

The Breath

You might ask yourself, “Am I still breathing?” And suddenly you feel the sense of life-giving air moving in and out of the body. You might stay with your awareness of the breath for 30 seconds or so and see what you notice.

The Body

You might bring awareness to the most obvious contact point between you and the environment. If you have feet, you might press your feet into the ground. If you are seated, press your tailbone or back into the chair. Bring gentle awareness to the contact points inviting grounded, safe awareness.

“Resilient people are skilled at selecting where they focus their attention - remembering to make room for the good.”

The Senses

Our senses always exist in the present moment! Consider bringing awareness to what you can see, hear, feel, smell and taste in this moment.

I’m happy to share with you some words of wisdom from resiliency researcher Dr. Lucy Hone. Check out her work and beautiful TED Talk.

“Resilient people ask themselves Is what I’m doing helping or harming me? which gives them more control.”

Mindfulness or present-moment awareness can support us on all sides of the resiliency equation.

 Some questions to explore:

  • Am I aware of my own responses to stress?
  • How might I accept THIS moment while I’m in it?
  • Do I have control over where my attention goes?
  • What kind of practices am I using to support my own recovery?
  • How might I make room for the good?

One final but critical tip on your journey to growing resilience:

Remember the transformational power of SELF-COMPASSION.

Study after study demonstrates the evidence-based benefits of applying self-compassion when life gets hard. Dr. Kristin Neff reminds us of three key elements of self-compassion.

  1. Stress and struggle are a part of the human experience, and you are not alone.
  2. Mindful awareness of the current moment allows us to turn toward ourselves and acknowledge how we feel.
  3. Responding with kindness toward ourselves reminds us that the inner critic need not be in the driver’s seat. See what happens when we give our inner-ally the wheel!

If you and your team would like support around these topics, I would LOVE to hear more about the important work you are doing in the world. 

Find me here:

Phone: (216) 245-5213
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