RESILIENCE - Chapter 8


In the last four chapters, we looked at how to build connection during times of loss, how to foster wellness during times of poor mental and physical health, how to think healthy thoughts during difficult and uncontrollable times, and how to find a purpose when you feel lost. The contents of these four chapters directly discuss the components of resilience. At this point, it is important to bring all the components together so that you can boost your resilience and overcome any adverse situation that comes your way. In other words, it’s time to discuss what you can do today in order to strengthen your mind so that you can bounce back from all of life’s challenges. Resilience Training We call learning how to boost resilience “resilience training.” Much like endurance training or weight training in the gym, resilience training will take a lot of time and effort to master, and you will always be able to get better. Additionally, resilience training is like other training in that it is holistic. In other words, it focuses on all four components of resilience: connection, wellness, healthy thinking, and meaning. Some days you may need to emphasize one component over another, but it is important to treat each component equally. Training Your Attention According to the Mayo Clinic, training your attention and awareness is the most important exercise of resilience training. The reason that training your attention is so important for resilience training is that being attentive will allow you to recognize your feelings, your thoughts, and the world around you. Attention training includes becoming more intentional and purposeful in your life. As previously stated, training your attention requires you to draw attention to your feelings and thoughts so that way you can interpret how you feel, strategize solutions, and connect meaning to the world around you. In addition to boosting resilience, training your focus also decreases stress, decreases anxiety, and boosts your quality of life. Additionally, training your attention requires you to utilize psychological, emotional, and physical resilience even when you are undergoing a minimal amount of stress. Here is how attention training relates to the three main types of resilience: Psychological Resilience: Training your attention requires psychological resilience because it requires you to focus your mind so that way it does not wander aimlessly. As you train your attention, you also train your psychological resilience. Emotional Resilience: A key aspect of training your attention is either being able to step aside from your emotions when they are unhealthy or acknowledging them when they are healthy. In other words, it forces you to discern between necessary and healthy thoughts and emotions and unnecessary thoughts and emotions. So, as you improve your attention, you also improve your emotional resilience. Physical Resilience: Whenever you train your attention, you force yourself and your body to remain still or focused on the task at hand. This improves your physical resilience because it makes you more in control of your physical motions. Here are some ways to train your attention: Break Tasks Into Manageable Chunks: One of the easiest ways to train your attention is to break up tasks, work, or the day into manageable chunks. Many studies have shown that it is easier to focus your attention if it has a set time. At work, for example, set breaks every 52 minutes. If 52 minutes sounds like a lot for you, start with 20 minutes, and work your way up. This will train your psychological and physical resilience. Be Mindful: Another way to train your attention is to be mindful. Mindfulness is basically having a moment where you focus on the exact moment at hand, nothing before or after. An easy way to practice mindfulness is with a daily meditation, studies have shown that just 10 to 20 minutes of motivation today can improve your focus. Mindfulness improves all aspects of resilience. Practice Attentive Listening: Attentive listening is when you listen to another person without interrupting, recapping, or using connection words. It requires you to stay engaged in your listening abilities. Attentive listening trains all three forms of resilience. Journaling At Night: Another way to train your attention is to journal at night. Journaling at night will give you the chance to focus purely on your thoughts and feelings at that moment. Try to stay in the moment as closely as possible. If you make this into a habit, journaling will also turn into a healthy coping mechanism that will make you more psychologically and emotionally resilient. By practicing some of these techniques every day, you will boost your mental dexterity and resilience even on days when things are going great