Inner Reflections
October 9, 2023


For a healthy mind, resiliency is key. We’re sharing the transcript of Christine’s wisdom talk where she defines the meaning of true resiliency and offer suggestions on how to build it into your daily life!

What words come to mind when you think of the word resiliency? Strength, bravery, determination, surmounting challenges. It can be a pretty daunting word when we look at the other words that surround it. Sometimes you might even think that resiliency means just putting aside all emotion, putting aside all thoughts, and just plowing forward, and just ignoring all thought and emotion. But true resiliency actually really comes from an investigation of our internal selves. It really becomes an internal investigation. It can really start with looking at our awareness and looking at our thoughts, emotions, feelings, our biases, and being able to stop and observe those things as well. As we start to do this process of becoming aware, we might notice that we have a lot of thoughts that occur in our minds. It’s said that we have upwards of 60 to 80 thousand thoughts per day. And for most of us, 80 to 90 percent of those thoughts are negative. So as we dive into yoga practices of meditation and this inward inquiry, we really start to see a lot of our internal selves.

Viktor Frankl is famous for saying that between a stimulus and a response is a space. In that space, our ability to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Creating the space between our thoughts, our feelings, and emotions can feel daunting, but it can also be illustrated by being in the middle of a storm versus watching a storm. You can picture yourself perhaps outside your home, stuck in a rainstorm. Perhaps you’ve forgotten your key and you can’t get in. You can feel the cold of the wind, the rain pounding down on you, and you’re really getting soaked to the bone as you’re stuck outside. Now imagine that experience of the storm if you’re inside your home, looking outside a window, looking at the rain falling down, looking as the wind sweeps the vegetation. Creating this space between our thoughts, feelings, and emotions so that we can observe them, can be the difference between looking at them from inside our home versus being caught outside in the middle of them.

Now, also, being in our thoughts and our emotions, we want to be sure that we’re giving ourselves time to be able to have a state of inward inquiry. To almost sit down with our thoughts and emotions as if they were friends, getting curious about them, seeing where they are. This process of awareness and observation really needs to be taken in with self-compassion so that you can really step into action with intention. There’s three beautiful practices that you can really take to be able to build this resiliency. Just like we do physical exercise to make our bodies and our muscles stronger, there’s practices that we can do to build this inward resiliency. One practice you may already be familiar with is meditation. And particularly in meditation, there’s a practice of mental noting. This practice is really sitting, noticing what thoughts are coming up, and putting a label on them. It’s a process and a sense of naming it to tame it. In naming our thoughts, we’re able to perhaps form them into a bubble, form them into a cloud, be able to see them as separate from ourselves, as if they were clouds floating in the sky of our awareness. If you go for a daily meditation practice, this can be a really beautiful way to be able to build this resiliency muscle.

A second practice that can be very helpful for resiliency is stepping into gratitude. We talked about those 60 to 80 thousand thoughts we have in a day and how, on average, most of those thoughts can be negative. Placing our minds into the state of gratitude can be incredibly healing to be able to bring up positive thoughts instead of negative thoughts. There’s a beautiful practice called Three Good Things that’s come out of Harvard and University of Berkeley. In this Three Good Things practice, you just set aside time each day to note down three good things that happened during your day. Writing down as much detail as you can of the event, noting down how it made you feel at the time and how it made you feel later on. Practicing this for a week at a time, setting aside that daily time can truly hit the reset button on our brain to really be able to cultivate a more positive mindset.

And the third practice that we can step into is one of expressive journaling. Oftentimes when we step into this space of awareness and observation of our internal landscape, we can start to notice a lot of repetitive thoughts. And so in a sense, having this little bit of a mind dump onto paper can help us to retexture or to see different patterns and stories that we have in our minds. Dan Siegel is famous for saying that the mind is like Teflon for positive and like Velcro for the negative. And so it really takes an intentional practice to really be able to step into this state of gratitude, to be able to let go of negative thought patterns. The practice of expressive journaling is really that brain dump of being able to put things down on paper. It’s a practice that I came across in a book by David Hanscom called Back in Control. And it deals with patients and folks dealing with a lot of chronic pain in their lives. So to be able to put these things down on paper, write them out in as much detail. And especially if they’re repetitive and negative thoughts, there’s power in tearing up that piece of paper and throwing it away.

All these practices really allow us to step into this place of neuroplasticity in our brains to be able to rewire all the connections. So pick one of these practices for yourself. Pick one to do for the next week. Build that resiliency muscle, just like you do your physical practices for your physical body. Do meditation, these other practices to really build that resiliency muscle of your mind.

Wisdom Talk Inner Dimension TV