Mindfulness for Resilience

This article originally appeared in the first newsletter of the Wellbeing World Virtual Expo 2021.

Resilience is often defined as the ability to bounce back into shape after difficult life events. But what if mindfulness could help you to consider fewer life events as difficult?

Let’s consider that something happens to you. You have a physical response to that – a rush of adrenalin, a tightening of the muscles, a thought that labels it as ‘difficult’ and something to struggle against. This is all part of what can be considered in Buddhist imagery the first arrow fired that causes you to suffer.

Don’t fire a second arrow!

How do you respond to that first arrow? With a sense of outrage that you have been hit, or a refusal to accept it happened and a fight to reject it? This is a very natural human response that’s part of our innate survival instinct, but it can be like firing a second arrow into the same wound – our thoughts and actions make it worse rather than better.

In many circumstances the way that we respond to life means that we become caught in a whirl of emotion that prevents us from seeing things clearly, from being able to gain the insight we need in order to respond rather than react, hence missing the opportunity to transform life events into something that feels more positive. We are so busy clinging on to what we think we have lost, that we’re unable to move forwards and build something even better.

There are so many aspects of mindfulness that help us to transform this attitude towards life: being able to take a breath and allow emotions to rise and fall away without stoking them up, to look at thoughts rather than experience life from within them, acceptance – which is an active not a passive state – an appreciation of impermanence, a flexibility and creativity in thinking, the ability to flow with life, and a calm inner strength to draw on whenever you need it.

There is a wonderful old story from China that demonstrates this, retold in ‘The Art of Living’ by Thich Nhat Hanh:

Mr.Ly was a villager whose livelihood depended upon his horse. One day his horse ran away, and all his neighbours took pity on him: “How unlucky you are!” they said. “What misfortune!” However Mr.Ly was not anxious. “We’ll see,” he said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later his horse returned, bringing several wild horses back with it. Mr.Ly and his family were suddenly very wealthy. “How lucky you are!” exclaimed the other villagers. “We’ll see,” replied Mr.Ly. “We’ll see.”

Then one day his only son was training one of the new wild horses when he fell off and broke his leg. “What misfortune!” declared the neighbours again. “We’ll see,” replied Mr.Ly. “We’ll see.”

A few weeks later the Imperial Army passed through the village, to conscript all able-bodied young men into the military. They didn’t take away Mr.Ly’s son, who was still recovering from his broken leg. “How lucky you are!” exclaimed the other villagers again. “We’ll see,” replied Mr.Ly. “We’ll see.”


Mindfulness for Resilience quote

About Katie Sheen

Katie Sheen is a Mindfulness Teacher and Speaker based in Manchester, UK, who specialises in Mindfulness for Anxiety. She offers weekly Mindfulness for Anxiety classes on Zoom as well as regular Be Calm, Be Happy 8 weeks’ mindfulness courses in the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Katie also offers 1:1 Mindfulness Support, and bespoke Mindfulness events for charities, corporates and conferences. 

Her website offers you a range of free mindfulness resources, including a 1-hour Mindfulness for Anxiety course hosted on the Udemy educational platform that is now being enjoyed by people in 109 countries across the globe. You can discover more on her website at soulnutrition.org

WHAT IS THE WELLBEING WORLD VIRTUAL EXPO?

“The Wellbeing Virtual Expo is a pioneering virtual Expo and symposium designed to replicate a real conference and exhibition event, complete with reception zone, networking lounge, exhibition halls and auditorium.”

“It will feature a variety of stands where exhibitors can showcase products and services to both a consumer and trade audience. Online visitors (buyers and consumers) will be able to view video, read and download literature and chat with exhibitors in real time. The trade audience will be able to view keynote presentations and network with other visiting delegates at the Symposium in the virtual auditorium.”

WHEN WILL IT TAKE PLACE AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?

“The Wellbeing Virtual Expo is a two-week live event scheduled for January 18-22 2020 and a month-long follow up showcase. After the live event, all exhibitor stands will remain open and active for 30 days and will be available online 24 hours per day. Visitors to the event will still be able to access material and downloads and exhibitors can continue to receive visitor analytics across the entire period.”

WHAT’S THE TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM?

The inaugural Wellbeing World Virtual Expo is being driven by a long-established 5-star rated virtual event platform. The well-proven technology allows the events owner (leading London-based events and publishing company Moodie Davitt Virtual Expo Company) to leverage flexible virtual space to customise exhibitor booths, offer on-demand content, provide chat forums and generate optimal prospect engagement.

DO I NEED TO DOWNLOAD OR INSTALL ANY SOFTWARE TO BE ABLE TO ATTEND THIS EVENT?

No. You do not need to download or install any software to participate in our event. You only need to have access to the Internet.

AS A TRADE OR CONSUMER VISITOR WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE WELLBEING WORLD VIRTUAL EXPO?

Well, firstly, you won’t need to spend a cent getting there. No travel, no hotels, no entertainment (though we think you’ll find it fun), no taxis. No stress, and no lost time on trains, taxis, flights. Oh, and entry is free!

FREE? REALLY?

Yes, the only charge is for sponsors and exhibitors and even their rates are highly accessible. You’ll be able to visit every exhibitor’s stand; click on promotional material and videos to view their latest products; and even enter a chat room during entire live show.

HOW DO I REGISTER FOR THIS FREE EVENT?

Simply click here to be taken to the dedicated website and complete the pre-registration form, indicating whether you’d like public or health & wellbeing professional access.

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