A serious loss, illness or accident are stressful outer circumstances that can cause anxiety, worry, fear, or depression. Resilience is an inner quality that enables you to recover quickly from such shocks and challenges.
Just as you have to work on building a strong, yet flexible spine, resilience is a trait that you must develop on your own.
Building resilience to life’s unexpected (and inevitable) knocks makes as much sense as planning for your financial security to tide you through future seen, and unforeseen circumstances.
You must have a healthy balance in your emotional bank account. And, you have to build it before calamity strikes.
The way to do this is to develop a positive mind.
Cultivate a positive mind
The mind has a tendency to think negatively when faced with a situation that can have a potentially undesirable outcome.
It’s important to be alert and nip the very first negative thought that creeps into your mind. Don’t allow it to grow by feeding it with more thoughts that match the feeling of that thought.
You can stamp out negative thoughts by replacing them with positive ones. For example, you could affirm, I am safe, All is well, or I am always guided and protected.
If you can do this, you’ll avoid slipping into unnecessary worry and fear.
Sometimes, the mind behaves like a little child. You can divert its attention away from thinking negatively by placing it on your work or other things.
Another simple way to maintain a positive mind is to smile. A smile can sometimes dilute the stress that you may be feeling. I know it sounds overly simple, but you must try it yourself. After all, your face reflects your thoughts and so keeping a smile can impact your mental mood.
Of course, you can’t hold a smile on your face all the time, but you can make an effort to maintain a cheerful mind by holding an inner smile. This is a subtle discipline that is more powerful and requires mindfulness and practice.
You can read more about staying positive in 4 Tips for a Positive Mind.
Here are other ways you can maintain a positive mind and build resilience . . .
Be in spiritual company every day
There is a Sanskrit word called satsang which means “to be in the company of the truth.” From a spiritual perspective, the truth refers to our inherent spiritual nature.
Our spiritual essence is the real source of all happiness and peace. Realising it in an inner intuitive experience during deep meditation will put an end to all our suffering and bring us the highest happiness and fulfillment in life. Preparing our minds for this grand realisation is what spiritual growth is all about.
To be in satsang is to expose yourself to people, places, situations, and words that remind you of your innate spiritual nature and purpose.
You can do this by feeding your mind a regular diet of inspirational or spiritual material. You can listen to talks given by spiritual teachers, meet with other like-minded people to discuss spirituality, or read spiritual books, magazines, and articles on your own.
Everything that you take in through satsang positively influences the quality of your mind. It instills it with higher ideals and noble emotions that help to keep you inspired and on path. This is vital because we spend most, if not all of our focus on worldly concerns.
Lifting the mind through satsang will help you see things from the wisdom of a higher perspective. Although life’s circumstances won’t change when you partake of satsang, it will certainly change how you view and deal with people and challenging circumstances.
You may enjoy reading this article on the transformative effects of satsang: The Squirrel who Became a Prince.
Make time for daily reflection and meditation
Taking in spiritual ideas through satsang is important; but the ideas can quickly evaporate from your mind if you don’t take some time to reflect on them.
Dedicate a space and time specially for daily reflection on spiritual truths and meditation.
Early in the morning, before getting into your daily work routine is the best time for spiritual practices. This infuses your mind with positive vibrations that will colour how you view and respond to the rest of your day.
Reading and reflecting on spiritual wisdom quiets and uplifts the mind. Then, as your mind becomes quiet through this practice, you can naturally flow into meditation.
From the standpoint of building resilience and inner peace, the greatest benefit of meditation is that it helps to cultivate a healthy mental distance from your usual concerns. This enables you to view people and situations with greater clarity and enhances your relationships and experiences in life.
To learn the basics of meditation, read Meditation Basics.
The world appears as you choose to see it. Life can seem overwhelming when all you see is what is going wrong around you.
Expressing gratitude for what you have and the good in any situation helps you to see things in a more positive way. So, focus on being grateful and the positives will grow. What’s more, what looks bleak may very well be a great blessing in disguise.
You may be inspired by Oprah Winfrey and two others in this article on gratitude and acceptance: How to accept and celebrate what is.
The universe is only concerned with your soul’s evolution. Even the greatest tragedy fulfils the higher purpose of helping you grow and evolve spiritually.
Developing resilience involves having faith that everything happens for your highest and best good. See the blessings in every situation and affirm “This too shall pass.”
I once read an article by spiritual master, Swami Jyotirmayananda. In it, he described how a swan plays about in the lake but when it’s time to fly, it easily shakes off the water and soars into the sky.
The swan is a beautiful metaphor of being able to shake off negativities and rise above hardships.
Your mind can be your greatest enemy or your best friend. It has to be constantly nurtured to be positive to ensure a firm faith and resilience to bounce back quickly in the face of adversity.
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Thank you for your newsletters. I may not read all of them. However, I do check in from time to time to hear your inspiring words. Keep up the great work you are doing.
Thanks Janet! I appreciate your kind and encouraging words!