Mindfulness: The Art of Cultivating Resilience

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When dealing with life's realities, mindfulness will help you be resilient to the situations.

For example, let's return to the original situation, where you've just lost your job. Rather than automatically reacting with fear, mindfulness helps you realize and accept: "The only fact about this situation is that I don’t have my job right now. Everything else—my self-judgment, my fear, my blame, my anger, and the tightness in my body—is my feelings."

We don't have to meditate to practice being mindful. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives. As we become increasingly mindful, we can begin to respond from a place of freedom and choice. In other words, we can act with resilience.

What Does Resilient Living Look Like?

The more mindful we become, the more we broaden and build several inner resources that help us strengthen our resilience (Fredrickson, 2001). These include:

  • Compassion: You hold the intention not to judge yourself or others. You are mindful of your self-talk. However, if you do judge yourself, you don't judge yourself for judging. You are kinder and more supportive. If mindfulness brings the wisdom to see clearly, then compassion brings a loving heart (Neff, 2011). How Compassion Can Enrich Our Lives
  • Acceptance: You increasingly accept the facts, which you can distinguish from the feelings. Acceptance isn't about "giving up". It is having the strength to "let go" of control and stop fighting reality.
  • Openness: You're progressively open to viewing even the most difficult situations as opportunities for growth. You trust that they have something to teach you, and you expect to learn.
  • Creativity: You draw on your power to visualize and create the results you desire. At the same time, in the spirit of acceptance, you are not attached or fixated upon your own expectations. 5 Ways To Unleash Your Creativity

Living resiliently is more than just "bouncing back". It is about shifting our perceptions, changing our responses, and learning something new. For example, a resilient response to losing our job might re-contextualize and reframe the situation in any of the following ways:

"I'm going to breathe deeply and take things one step at a time."

"I may not like it, but this is the way it is. My first step will be to file for unemployment."

"I'm not going to play 'the blame game'. It's not my boss' fault or mine."

"I'm sure that there's a lesson or two for me to learn from all this."

"It would be easy to get 'just another job'. I'm going to find one that I'm truly passionate about."

In Conclusion:

Living resiliently represents a whole new way of being and doing. In this way, resilience isn't just for the hard times...it's for all times. Empowering us to live, love, and work adventurously in the face of change, it builds a well from which we can draw for the rest of our lives.

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Dr. Lynda Klau

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