Resilience and Renewal

Resilience is defined as “the ability of an object to spring back into shape.” Our resilience is what enables us to bounce back—to thrive in a life of uncertainty and relentless demands.

The good news about resilience is that it can be learned and developed. Building resilience is a conscious process that is important for battling the chronic stress, exhaustion and non-stop pace of life.

Take a look at the following two lists:

1. Prioritize healthy relationships with family and friends
2. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems
3. Accept that change is part of living
4. Move toward your goals
5. Take decisive actions
6. Look for opportunities for selfdiscovery
7. Nurture a positive view of yourself
8. Keep things in perspective
9. Maintain a hopeful outlook
10. Take care of yourself

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

The list on the top outlines the top 10 factors related to resilience as identified by the American Psychological Association. The list on the bottom contains the top 5 regrets of the dying outlined in a recent book by palliative care nurse, Bonnie Ware. See any overlaps?

The point is, resilience is not just about how well we handle day-to-day challenges or major adversities. It’s about how we experience the quality of our lives.

Richard Davidson, author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain, partnered with mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, to investigate the impact of mindfulness meditation on employees in a high-pressure biotech startup. After practicing daily for 8 weeks, employees felt more resilient and reported that they felt more connected with what they enjoy about their work.


  • Find a quiet, private place free of distraction
  • Sit comfortably, with your back straight but muscles relaxed
  • Focus your awareness on your breath, paying attention to the sensations of the inhalation and exhalation
  • Note any thoughts as distraction—release them non-judgmentally and return your attention to your breath
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