How to become more resilient

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Find out what mindfulness is, how it can help you to build resilience and lower your stress levels, and different methods to practise mindfulness everyday.

Learn about mindfulness

Mindfulness involves paying attention, on purpose, with kindness. Think about it as the opposite of multi-tasking. Instead of switching between lots of things, you’re paying full attention to and being completely aware of what you’re doing from one moment to the next. Mindfulness can be seen as a way of life.

Mindfulness, including both formal and informal meditation, is linked to lower stress levels, more even moods, better memory and concentration and a stronger immune system.

Everyday mindfulness

How to use: This video explains what everyday mindfulness is, and how being aware of what is going on around you and inside of you can help make life more enjoyable and less stressful.

Formal mindfulness

This involves choosing something to pay attention to, for example your breath. Then, when you get distracted, you may notice where your attention went and bring it back to your breath (or whatever you had been focusing on before).

Distractions will happen; everybody gets distracted. The distractions might be thoughts, emotions or physical sensations in your body.

But noticing when you are distracted can be a good thing. It means you were paying attention! Gently and with kindness, you can then bring your attention back to your breath.

It is important not to be too hard on yourself. Mindfulness may sound simple but that doesn’t mean it is easy. Being kind to yourself is just as important as practising focusing your attention.

Mindfulness of thoughtsaudio

How to use: This audio meditation helps you slow down the thoughts in your mind and meditate on them. Use this practice when you are feeling distracted with too many thoughts in your mind. You may stand, sit or lie down to follow along. Try to find a comfortable position that will not require you to move around.

Informal mindfulness

This involves paying total attention to activities you do in your everyday life, like eating or brushing your teeth.

Consider informal mindfulness an open awareness of the thoughts, feelings, memories or physical sensations that come up while you’re doing everyday things. It is important to do this with kindness and allow yourself to notice whatever surfaces without criticizing yourself.

Everybody has judgments throughout the day, but try to notice them and be kind to yourself when they are there. Remember, having various thoughts, feelings or sensations doesn’t mean you have to act on them.

Take care of yourself

Create a list of things that help you feel relaxed and be sure to do them regularly. These can be things like meditating, taking a bath, taking deep breaths, listening to relaxing music or getting a massage. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it is something that you enjoy and that makes you feel calm.

Remember how you have coped in the past

When the going gets tough, remember the hurdles you have overcome or accomplishments you have already made. How did you do it? What skills and strategies helped you? Thinking back on how you have succeeded in the past can help you use the same skills in the future.

You are not your thoughts

How to use: This video explains some of the things you can try when you feel overwhelmed by your thoughts. After the video, take a few moments to observe your thoughts with curiosity, paying attention to how each one makes you feel. Paying attention to your thoughts and sorting through them takes practice and patience.

 

Practise daily gratitude

When people are feeling stressed out or struggling with physical, emotional or social issues, it can be hard to be thankful.

But try to pick a time of day and think of three things that you have been thankful or grateful for from the previous 24 hours. Be as detailed and specific as you can. You can pick something seemingly small, like finding money in an old coat pocket, catching the bus just in time or having someone hold a door for you.

Stay in touch with friends and take time to thank others

If you haven’t spoken to someone in a while, contact them. Take the time to think of someone who has been helpful to you every day and let them know. This can be in an email, a text or a chat in person. Staying connected with friends and showing them gratitude can do a lot to support your own resilience.

Remember that resilience is a way of life. Practising these skills and strategies is something you do every day, not just when you are feeling stressed or having a hard time. When you practise them on neutral or good days, you will find it easier to use them on the hard days.

Two wings to fly

How to use: This video explains the value of balancing mindfulness and compassion. Use it to help you respond to change and other unwanted experiences. Mindfulness helps you find opportunities to understand your situation more clearly. Compassion helps you respond with kindness and less judgment. After you watch the video, think about how you can practise mindfulness and show compassion towards yourself and others.

Last updated: March 22nd 2019