Building resilience, managing stress

A 4 week mindfulness course

Building resilience and inner strength is essential. It helps us to manage stress and reactivity, create solutions when faced with difficulties, look after ourselves, and take better care of our families, friends and the wider community.

WEEK 1   |   WEEK 2   |   WEEK 3   |   WEEK 4

Week 1

 

Working with anxiety and stress

  • Anxiety and fear
  • What does stress do in the body?
  • How do we experience stress
  • Creating resources to work with anxiety and fear
  • Tips for resources to meet stress and build resilience

Tips

  • Pause to be mindful. Be aware of what is happening around you and inside you. Stay present. 
  • Acknowledge feelings as they are there
  • Calm the body – take 3 breaths where the exhale is longer than the inhale
  • Notice that you’re basically alright right now
  • Eat well 
  • Stay active 
  • When you go out, stay grounded
  • Develop agency: learn more about what you feel threatened by, so that you have a balance picture. 
  • Stay connected with social interactions that are meaningful: a small and stable circle of friends 
  • Feel that others care about you. 
  • Have positive social interactions in a wide circle: like smiling at a stranger in the street

Resources

Why should you want to exclude any anxiety, any grief, any melancholy from your life, since you do not know what these conditions are accomplishing in you.

From Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

Week 2

 

Mindfulness, self-compassion, self-care

  • What is self-compassion
  • Mindfulness, kindness, common humanity
  • Why practice self-compassion
  • Tips for inner resources and self care

Tips

  • Pause to ask yourself: What’s the kindest thing I could do for myself right now?
  • Be aware of what wears you down, take it seriously and do what is in your own power to reduce it.
  • Tune into your breathing and a sense of mindful presence when going about your work or talking to others.
  • Use a soothing touch: offer yourself a hug, place a hand on your heart, etc.
  • In the first and last 30 mins of your day disconnect from email, social media, and news. 
  • Bring to mind that feeling of being on your own side.
  • Whenever you feel stuck or powerless, look for something – no matter how small – that you can usefully do to feel more active and potent. 
  • Appreciating something that is already pleasant.
  • Choose to see what’s joyful and uplifting – right here, right now, regardless of conditions and circumstances.

Resources

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt, containing a tornado.
Dam a stream and it will create a new channel.
Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground.
The only safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear, fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of the heart, or sadness veils your vision with despair, practice becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your known way of being, the whole world is revealed to your new eyes

Allow, Danna Faulds

Week 3

 

Connection

  • Our basic needs: safety, satisfaction and connection
  • The science of connection: empathy and the mirror neuron system
  • Gratitude
  • Tips to increase a sense of connection

Tips

  • Make time to connect with other people regularly 
  • Ask people for support to empower them to help you and have a positive influence on you. 
  • Support others. Standing up for others is healing for ourselves.
  • Tell someone you care about them or appreciate their work. Thank them. 
  • Think of 3 new things that you’re grateful for, every day. 

Resources

If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone. If you see a wise person who steers you away from the wrong path, follow them. The company of the wise is joyful, like reunion with one’s family. Therefore, live among the wise, who are understanding, patient, responsible and noble. Keep their company like the moon moving among the stars.

Dhammapada

Week 4

 

Developing resilience – savouring the good

  • Working with environment, body and mind
  • Savouring the positive
  • The neuroscience of absorbing positive experiences
  • Tips to grow a resilient core

Tips

  • Stay active (whatever kind of exercise or activity).
  • Keep the brain active – keep learning, practice mindfulness, stay connected, be generous.
  • Get proper rest – sleep as much as you need to.
  • Use the beginning and the end of each day to replenish yourself. 
  • Listen to your needs: What is the kindest thing I can do to myself?
  • Doing positive things every day or having positive interactions creates trait resilience. 
  • Pursue your aims and your relationships with courage, generosity, compassion and forgiveness. 
  • Keep practicing!

Resources

Grant me the serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish one from the other.

The Serenity Prayer (excerpt), Reinhold Niebuhr