How to Be More Resilient

Cultivating Resilience

How mindfulness can help you become more resilient when you’re feeling down

“There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out.”

Sophie Kinsella, The Undomestic Goddess

What is resilience?

According to the all-knowing entity known as Mariem Webster Dictionary, resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

In the mindfulness sphere of things, resilience is the ability to get back up after experiencing adversity.

Contextualize that for me.

According to the 2015 World Happiness Report, resilience is one of the 4 parts of one’s overall well-being. The others are sustained positive emotion, empathy and pro-social behavior (generosity), and mindful attention. So, you need to be able to cultivate resilience to truly be well.

Contextualize that for me.

Right. According to a report by Badri Bajaj and Neerja Pande, mindful people are more resilient. They just are. They can better cope with difficult thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed. In short, they can pause and observe thought without getting wrapped up in them. This allows them to move forward more quickly. 

Difficult emotions such as fear or anger are not the enemy. It is our reactivity toward these difficult emotions that are most harmful. Normally, when we feel those kinds of emotions our fight or flight reaction is triggered.

For those who regularly practice mindfulness, that response is muted and they’re able to understand those emotions without reacting them. They pause and respond. 

Give me some concrete steps, please.

Meditate. Even just 5 minutes a day. Even just 1 minute at a time. 

Sit with your emotions without judging them. Understand your thoughts without reacting to them. 

Compassion meditation can be particularly helpful when cultivating resilience. You can use this meditation by Sharon Salzberg or simply repeat this to yourself as many time a day as necessary:

May I be kind to myself.
May I find peace and healing.
I am doing the best that I can in this moment.
May I accept and find ease with things just as they are.