Meditation and Resilience: Novices vs. Veterans

In the video (and transcript) linked below, author and psychologist Daniel Goleman, Ph.D. discusses evidence which shows that meditation changes the brain to enhance powers of attention and build resilience. He also explains that these benefits increase as the one who meditates gains experience. So if you’re just starting out, stick with it!

https://bigthink.com/videos/daniel-goleman-mind-fitness-how-meditation-boosts-your-focus-resilience-and-brain

Mind and Microbiome

We all know about the risks involved with exposure to outdoor environments (a 2017 Consumer Reports article tells how to minimize them) but many of us are probably unaware of some of the benefits. It’s been 30 years since a British scientist first proposed that lack of exposure to microorganisms as children was leading to weak immune systems in modern people. It was controversial but scientific studies have indicated that there’s something to the idea, and now there’s evidence concerning the mechanism by which the “farm effect” influences mental well-being. It seems that this is another way that getting in touch with the natural world can help build resilience. See the article linked below for more about the recently reported research.

https://psychcentral.com/news/2019/05/30/digging-for-answers-to-stress-anxiety-in-dirt/147380.html/

Counsellors’ Exchange

It shouldn’t be surprising that there appears to be keen interest in resilience among lawyers. The profession is very demanding and the stakes can be high; it’s a recipe for stress. Jeena Cho is an attorney who specializes in helping her peers understand how to be resilient, and her efforts include creating a well-established podcast, The Resilient Lawyer. In the episode linked below, she actually interviews another attorney (Laura Mahr) who provides services along the same lines. They’re both clearly well versed in the topic of resilience and it’s worth a listen (or read of the transcript) whether you practice law or not.

https://jeenacho.com/2018/04/02/rl-83-laura-mahr-neuroscience-and-mindfulness-becoming-more-resilient/

Improving Resilience in the Workplace

As noted in a study described in a previous post, we have a better chance of being resilient when we we’re surrounded by supportive communities and family. We might expect that this effect would naturally exist in the workplace as well. The American Psychiatric Association’s Center for Workplace Mental Health promulgates resources regarding a variety of relevant topics, including resilience. Visit the following page to find a description of how resilience impacts the workplace, tips for employers, a few case studies, and more:

http://workplacementalhealth.org/Mental-Health-Topics/Resilience

Bouncing Back with Nature

Have you ever felt stressed and decided that a walk in nature might be helpful? If so, it’s likely that your walk provided some relief. A recently published scientific study supports this idea and says that being immersed in nature for 20 minutes lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Longer immersion times result in further reductions of cortisol but after 30 minutes the effect becomes less pronounced. The scientists published their study in an open access journal called Frontiers in Psychology and there’s also a descriptive post on the journal’s blog here:

https://blog.frontiersin.org/2019/04/09/20-minute-nature-pill-relieves-stress/

A Famous Poet’s Poem Concerning Gratitude

George Herbert

Experts agree that gratitude is key to resilience. Here’s a poem about being grateful to God by the masterful poet George Herbert, which Ralph Waldo Emerson included in Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.



            Gratefulness 

You that have giv'n so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart.
See how your beggar works on thee
By art.

He makes your gifts occasion more,
And says, If he in this be crossed,
All you have giv'n him heretofore
Is lost.

But you did reckon, when at first
Your word our hearts and hands did crave,
What it would come to at the worst
To save.

Perpetual knockings at your door,
Tears sullying your transparent rooms,
Gift upon gift, much would have more,
And comes.

This notwithstanding, you still went on,
And did allow us all our noise:
Nay, you have made a sigh and groan
Your joys.

Not that you have not still above
Much better tunes, than groans can make;
But that these country-airs your love
Did take.

Wherefore I cry, and cry again;
And in no quiet can you be,
Till I a thankful heart obtain
Of thee:

Not thankful, when it pleases me;
As if your blessings had spare days:
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Your praise.

13 Business and Career Coaches’ Recommended Strategies

Business leaders might face some kinds of challenges that other people don’t, but the fact is that they’re only human; the strategies they use to be resilient can work for anyone. That’s why I’ve chosen an article intended for them as today’s featured resource. See if there’s something new that will work for you among the advice provided in it by 13 coaches:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/04/05/develop-your-resilience-with-these-13-leadership-strategies/

Mental Toughness Tips

Dr. Sean Richardson‘s current title is Chief Scientist at High Performance People in Sydney, which describes its vision as “Democratizing high performance learning in Australia and beyond.” A few years before assuming that role, though, he gave a speech that should serve to motivate anyone who wants to build resilience. Watch and listen to him talk about keys to mental toughness in the video below:

Pressure Makes Diamonds

I began my last post by acknowledging that we obviously wouldn’t seek tragedy in order to build resilience. However, there does exist a school of thought which says that putting ourselves in situations that test us to a lesser extent can help to build resilience. For more on this see the following article, written by veteran Navy SEAL Brent Gleeson, who now focuses on helping business leaders and organizations optimize their performance.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2019/03/20/how-mentally-tough-leaders-use-stress-to-succeed/

Good Advice

Ok, you’re not going to seek tragedy in order to become more resilient. However, today’s featured article contains general information from various psychologists that can benefit everyone regardless of whether tragedy has struck. Within it, I found particularly noteworthy a recommended practice for minorities that we should all consider applying: asking whether issues that arise in an interaction are really about ourselves or about the other person. The article is located at the following URL:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20180822/can-tragedy-teach-resilience-and-can-it-last