Happiness Evangelist

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Mindfulness – The Key To Resilience

In our daily lives, we are faced with innumerable challenges – personal and professional.

We as a team have had challenging days and weeks – preparation for meetings, completion of assessments, loss of a colleague and so on.

How do we deal with these challenges?

Do we perceive these challenges as major setbacks or moments of growth?


How do we stay balanced?

How well do we recover?

How do we learn to increase our R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.E?

The World Happiness Report 2015 describes how well-being (happiness) is a skill and how it can be cultivated and trained by working on four areas: Positivity, Resilience, Generosity & Mindfulness.

Resilience can be explained as bounce-back-ability. The ability to get back up after adversity. The ability to look at crisis as an opportunity for self-reflection, learning and growing.

Is there an easy way to increase our Resilience? Apparently, there is.

And the answer is MINDFULNESS.

Resilience is mostly cultivated from within by how we perceive, and then, react to stressors.

A recent study  found that mindful people can cope with difficult thoughts and emotions better without being overwhelmed or shutting down. Pausing and observing the mind helps one to move forward.

Carley Hauck of Stanford University suggests a mindful practice that can help improve our resilience.

  1. “Come into a comfortable and supported seated posture.
  2. Begin to bring your awareness inside and slow down the rhythm of your breathing.
  3. Acknowledge any event that happened today or this week that was difficult.
  4. Bring your awareness to what happened, thoughts, feelings, and let your heart begin to open as you breathe in and out.
  5. Turn towards the moderate difficulty with compassion and acceptance.
  6. Repeat these phrases in whatever order or frequency that feels comfortable to you.

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.”

Often, when life is difficult, we can be overly critical and hard on ourselves, but compassion, not criticism, facilitates greater resilience.

With compassion, we can turn toward the difficult thoughts and emotions and then get back on track with our next wise move.


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Being Mindful – How Do We Rewire Our Brain?

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How does one rewire the brain so that mindfulness and compassion are automatic responses to stress.

We are born with specific physical parameters, but if we eat right, take care of ourselves, and work out, we can build muscle, flexibility, and endurance.

The same can be replicated for our minds – by working out our brain with mindfulness and other practices, we can boost concentration, flexibility, and intelligence, and build new neural pathways and networks.

Christopher Willard (author of the forthcoming book: Growing Up Mindful) suggests a simple basic mindfulness meditation:

  1. Adopt a comfortable posture that can be sustained for a time
  2. Set a timer for 3 minutes at first – later this can be increased.
  3. Bring your awareness to your breath. This can work as an anchor (Other anchors could be ambient sounds, counting, or even an image you find powerful or calming).  Just invite your mind to rest there.
  4. Soon, the mind starts to wander – this is normal – every time it wanders, gently guide your awareness back to your anchor.

This might seem very simple, but every aspect of this practice is building the muscles of our mind.

What happens each time we focus on or return to the anchor?

  • We build Concentration
  • We detach from our thought stream every time we return to the anchor. This is a practice of letting go In-the-moment.
  • Each time we are kind to ourselves when our mind wanders, instead of criticizing ourselves, we are exercising and strengthening our Self-compassion for challenging moments in our lives.
  • Each time we focus on the anchor, every time we notice our mind is wandering, that is the moment of Mindfulness—not a moment of failure.

This practice strengthens our neural connections and over time helps us build a map of our mind, notice our habitual thought patterns, and develop patience and compassion for ourselves and for others.

Will be happy to hear from you on your experience of the mindfulness meditation.