How Mindfulness Increases Resilience
One of meditation’s biggest benefits is its ability to reduce stress.
It might be one of the popular reasons why people meditate, but it’s far from the only one. There’s a pretty long list of both physical and mental benefits that research has uncovered.
One of the skills practiced in meditation – mindfulness – now has one more benefit it can add to the pile. The benefit of resilience.
And it does more than boost your mental toughness. Researchers also found that resilience can explain some of the reasons why meditation, and mindfulness, is so beneficial.
Breathing is Good For Well-Being
A study out of India explored the relationship between meditation, resilience, and well-being. The research has been published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
To do this, the researchers Badri Bajaj and Neerja Pande took 327 undergraduates and had them complete a battery of surveys.
A number of questionnaires measured the students’ mindfulness, their ability to bounce back from hardships, their emotional states, and satisfaction with life.
After running a statistical analysis, the scientists found how mindfulness increases resilience. In their paper Badri and Neerja state that:
“individuals with higher mindfulness have greater resilience, thereby increasing their life satisfaction.”
Mindfulness Is Not Meditation
I feel it important to mention there’s a difference between mindfulness and meditation. For the study, the authors specifically measure “mindfulness”. Although mindfulness and meditation are related, there’s an important distinction that is often overlooked.
Mindfulness is a state of mind. It’s an awareness of the emotions and sensations that you are experiencing in the present moment. Mindfulness is practiced in many popular forms of meditation.
This is why people who meditate usually are more mindful.
However, this is not the only way that one can achieve mindfulness.
Tough It Out
Okay, so there’s more evidence that people who exhibit mindfulness are more resilient against life’s ups and downs.
The authors also took a new step with their research. They found that resilience can also predict other benefits. Resilience helps buffer against negative emotional states and, therefore, increase life satisfaction. So through mindfulness, people’s well-being is affected in a positive manner.
What’s happening exactly?
The authors believe it comes down to how mindful individuals handle situations. Mainly, that they are better able to deal with their emotions, cope with their thoughts, and adapt to life’s adversities.
People that have more mental grit are less likely to be overwhelmed and withdraw. They are also less likely to dwell on negative thoughts and emotions, or continuously focus on their setbacks.
So instead of obsessing about the things they cannot change – problems, failures, mistakes, and shortcomings – they pick themselves up.
Present and Future
Bajaj and Pande point out how the research can be applied:
“The findings provide support for universities to develop strategies that promote mindfulness. Mindfulness training could provide a practical means of enhancing resilience, and personality characteristics like optimism, zest, and patience.”
You might be fed up with the whole meditation craze. Or you could be a regular practitioner. But regardless of your personal feelings the benefits are both real and documented.
And here’s some advice that either camp can ascribe to:
In a world full of distractions, we shouldn’t forget how to live in the moment.