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Resilience is like a rubber band—no matter how often you stretch it, it will return to its original state.
It is this resilience that gives us the strength to bounce back from the setbacks and losses we experience in our lives. All of us want to be strong and resilient individuals but how many of us are willing to invest time and effort into it?
In the same way that physical exercise will help you build your muscles, practices such as meditation training will help to increase your mental strength and resilience.
How Meditation Training can Promote Resilience and Well-Being
1. Meditation training increases resilience to stress.
Whether you’re a student cramming for a test or a young corporate executive about to give her first presentation, the stress of the situation can be overwhelming. In fact, the stress can decrease your productivity because you are distracted with thoughts of all the worst-case scenarios.
The good news is that practicing meditation training on a regular basis will improve your ability to cope with such situations. A recent study found that mindfulness meditation training can help to increase resilience to stress.
Exams and presentations cause intense, short-term stress but challenges such as high credit card debt or the ill-health of a loved one can cause long-term stress. Long-term stress affects you mentally, emotionally, and physically and makes your soul tired and weary. You might feel that you’re too tired or stressed to meditate but that is precisely when you need it the most. Meditation training will reduce your overall stress levels so that you can work on finding solutions to these challenges.
2. Meditation training decreases fear-based responses.
Fear is one of our most basic emotions, and it can be mild, medium, or intense depending on your mental make-up and the situation. Fear helps to protect us as it alerts us to possible danger so that we are prepared to deal with it. However, if fear is not kept in check, it becomes our predominant response to any challenging situation.
Imagine that tomorrow morning when you walk in to work as usual, your boss tells you that you’re fired. What do you think your response would be? Do you think you would feel helpless and terrified or would you be able to view this development as a hurdle to overcome?
The old adage, “fear clouds the mind” perfectly explains how fear can leave us confused and disoriented and impacts our decision-making process. A fear-based survival framework is likely to create negative responses such as anger, blame, or even a panic attack (good news: you can get rid of panic attacks permanently).
Meditation training will help to decrease this fear-based response so that you stop focusing on the problem and instead search for viable solutions. This means that if you were fired, you would first look for short-term solutions to immediate financial issues (such as mortgage payments) and then focus on finding a new job.
3. Meditation training increases acceptance.
The word “acceptance” is generally associated with resigning ourselves to unpleasant situations. Although acceptance is often viewed as weak, it takes a great deal of strength to willingly let go of the illusion of control. In order to “accept what is,” you need to stop wishing that the past was different, as this is a futile and unproductive endeavor. Wishing that circumstances were different will not change anything and it will not allow you to focus on what you can do to change things.
Meditation training will help you accept “what is” when you’re faced with a challenging situation. This will allow you to focus on whether the situation can be resolved and what you can do to improve it. If, for some reason, you are unable to do anything to resolve the situation, meditation training will help you accept the situation with courage and strength. For instance, if someone close to you has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you will be able to accept it with fortitude and understanding.
4. Meditation training changes your self-talk.
From the time we are children, we are taught to be kind and compassionate to those around us. Unfortunately, we do not apply these principles to ourselves which is why we become consumed with negative self-talk. Self-talk can make or break you, which is why it is important to eliminate negative self-talk as soon as it starts. Meditation training helps to change your self-talk so that you can focus more on the positive and less on the negative.
It’s important to accept that you will make mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up about them. Meditation helps to clear your mind so that you can maintain balance in your life especially during stressful times. For instance, if you’ve just lost your job, you may start to question your abilities which will lead to feelings of inadequacy. As soon as those negative thoughts come, replace them with thoughts about the skills you’ve developed during your last job and how that will help you get a better job.
5. Meditation training can improve your work skills.
Meditation can not only help you wind down after a long workday but also increase your productivity at work. Researchers at the University of Washington found that mindfulness mediation training had a positive impact on the participants’ abilities when they were multitasking in high-stress situations. This means that regular meditation sessions can help you work smarter which will also improve your confidence in your own skills.
When things go wrong, we often wallow in self-pity which is destructive and sends us on a spiral of negative thoughts. This negativity affects every aspect of our lives and causes more problems.
Meditation helps you snap out of this vicious cycle so that you realize that you can overcome your problems. Meditation training will provide you with the tools to face life’s challenges but it is up to you to maintain those tools and use them regularly. Regular meditation will increase your resilience and help you bounce back from any problem. Nurture your resilient spirit so that no matter what life throws at you, you will always wake up with a smile.