“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we may fall

Oliver Goldsmith
Kumarakom, Kerala

Have you noticed that resilience is the word of the moment?

You only need to read any article on mindfulness or managing stress to find the focus is on resilience.

While resilience was once an adjective often used to describe children, it seems now that we all need to be more resilient.

What is Resilience?

  • Emotional resilience refers to one’s ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises.
  • The more resilient we are, the more likely we are able bounce back from negative experiences.
  • To remain calm when we are surrounded by stressors.
  • An inner force or motivation that enables us to get through the downsides of life.
Road from Orchha, Madhya Pradesh

Why is it so Important?

Living in such challenging times, we need helpful strategies which will sustain and support us throughout each day.

We need activities which will help us to strengthen emotionally, physically and spiritually.

How can we build Resilience?

  • Yoga is great for building stress resilience as it teaches your brain how to flexibly adapt to change.
  • It provides the novelty of new poses which requires your brain to leave its comfort zone and to problem solve. This creates new connections in the brain that make it more adaptable to change.
  • Repetition makes those new connections stronger so the more you practice the poses, the stronger and more flexible your mental “muscle” gets.
  • While fast strenuous yoga is good for cardiovascular workouts, slow mindful yoga improves mental health and can reduce physical pain.
  • Facing challenges and flowing with what is, rather than trying to force what isn’t, trains your nervous system to adapt to stressors and to develop greater patience.
  • Meditation helps you to build resilience. Your ability to notice what feels good by being mindful will assist you to deal with what doesn’t feel good.
Indian children in Rajasthan

The Resilience Project

While volunteering in the north of India, Hugh van Cuylenburg observed that although the people there had little to call their own, he was blown away by how happy they were.

His students seemed to be in great spirits every day. Despite lacking basic resources in their school, he found the kids to be happy, caring and selfless.

Obviously, they weren’t impervious to sadness, trauma and loss, but they had certain ways of dealing with their daily hardships. One of the options at their school was daily meditation.

In comparison, he wondered why we in Australia, such a privileged country, have school children suffering from anxiety and depression.

Kumarakom, Kerala

Finding Happiness Through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness

In his book, Hugh van Cuylenburg named three principles the Indian students practised each day that were the key to their resilient world view and happy disposition:

Gratitude – the ability to pay attention to what you have instead of what you don’t have

Empathy – the ability to feel what another person is feeling

Mindfulness – the ability to focus on the present moment.

  • Many psychologists now believe that we can, in effect, retrain our brains so we feel happier on a day-to-day basis.
  • One technique is to write down three things that went well each day, along with an explanation for why each good thing happened.
  • Another is to start each day with statements of gratitude for what we have in our life.
  • Focus on self-compassion and send out loving kindness to others. It has a positive effect on our brains sending more blood and oxygen, strengthening the circuitry.

Hugh shares his highly effective well-being strategies in a program for businesses, schools and sports clubs in Australia providing practical mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness.

If you are wanting resilience workshops and courses there are many on the internet that will teach you how to deal with stress or adversity.

But if you are not into workshops just tune into your own heart and try giving meditation a go.

Om shanti


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  1. Christine eyres on August 9, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Great post – thanks Moira

    • Moira on August 10, 2020 at 7:29 am

      Hi Christine

      Thanks for your comment. I had no sooner posted it yesterday when I heard Dan Andrews say “We all need to more resilient”. Poor Dan. He has an unenviable job!


  2. Aggie on August 9, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Very refreshing to revisit Resilience. Thank you Moira. I hope it is still being taught in schools. (It used to be a cornerstone in our R.E curriculum)

    • Moira on August 10, 2020 at 7:27 am

      Hi Aggie

      I’m pleased that resilience was taught as part of R.E. It’s such a useful tool to give children to help them cope with whatever they have to face.


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