Resilience and mindfulness


Resilience is often referred to as adaptability or psychical resistance. It describes the process of a human reaction to a change in the environment. A relevant factor of this process is the trigger. This can be, for example, a trauma or a stroke of fate. Another factor is our own resources, which strengthen our resilience. These include, for example, one's own self-esteem, a positive attitude and a supportive social environment. The consequences that we draw from the situation for ourselves are also relevant. For example, if we change our living conditions, our behaviour or our attitude, this also changes our perception.

Resilience is a relatively new construct in research. It is assigned to neuroticism , which is one of the five main dimensions of personality and describes emotional lability. For this reason, there are many models that try to explain the construct. A popular model is the seven aspects of resilience.

These seven aspects are:

  • optimism
  • acceptance
  • solution orientation
  • self-awareness
  • to take responsibility
  • network orientation
  • future orientation

In practice, resilience trainers often align appropriate exercises with these pillars. According to researchers, resilience as a trait is partly innate, but the ability can still be trained. Here are some tips on how to strengthen your resilience:


1. Take responsibility for yourself

Have you ever heard the term “learned helplessness”? What psychologists mean by this is that sometimes, because of unpleasant experiences, people adopt the attitude that they cannot manage their own lives. They position themselves in a victim role, from which they usually cannot escape with their own strength. However, it is important to keep reminding ourselves that only we ourselves are responsible for our lives and therefore have to take responsibility for our actions and thoughts and also have to be aware of our options.


2. Practice self-awareness and acceptance

Mental illnesses are favoured by dysfunctional thought patterns. It is therefore important to encounter our inner being. To reflect on your own values, beliefs, and trained ways of thinking and to actively deal with yourself. We often lack a realistic view of our own personality. Our view is often distorted by expectations and high demands that we place on ourselves. If we don't live up to these exaggerated claims, we also have destructive thoughts. Have you ever observed how you talk to yourself in such situations? We call ourselves failures or worse. Would you say something like that to someone important to you? No? Then don't say it to yourself either. Self-acceptance is therefore an important building block of resilience. A positive side effect: If you like yourself, you will also appear more likeable to others.

So, it is important that we like ourselves and are mindful of our needs. In addition to self-acceptance, the acceptance of the environment is also a factor influencing our resilience. Are we willing to accept unchangeable circumstances, and do we have the ability to adapt to new situations? Can we differentiate between what we can actively influence with our behaviour and what cannot be changed? Accepting what cannot be changed frees us from our compulsions and inner conflicts.


3. Make valuable connections

We have already learned that social contacts are important for mental well-being (read more). Valuable social contacts are also beneficial for your resilience, since strengthening the relationship level also strengthens resilience.


4. Work on your attitude

That doesn't mean you should start glossing over problems or always look at things through rose-tinted glasses. Rather, a healthy, optimistic attitude helps you to balance negative and positive perspectives. Practicing gratitude can help break through negative thought patterns where we only focus on the bad. Finding something to be grateful for, even in supposedly negative situations, can quickly shift focus.

When dealing with problems and crises, solution-oriented thinking and acting supports you immensely. You can train yourself to do this by setting goals that are positive and specific, but also easy to achieve and realistic. These goals then give you a clear framework for action that you can stick to. This can help you to make the situation controllable and to achieve your goals with small steps. If you adopt a solution-oriented way of thinking in your attitude, it will make it easier for you to access your own resources even in stressful situations.


Mindfulness in everyday life can help us perceive our well-being and counteract negative tendencies. Mindfulness is about living in the here and now and reducing stress. Small changes in everyday life can make a big difference. You don't necessarily have to meditate or practice yoga for this. Here are 10 tips on how you can easily integrate mindfulness into your everyday life:


1. Take a deep breath

Breathing happens (in a healthy state) automatically. Luckily. Our body has automated this vital function. This relieves us of great cognitive effort, but also means that we only breathe very shallowly (especially in stressful situations). Always try to remind yourself of that. Take deep conscious breaths in between.


2. Break out of routines

Our everyday life often looks the same. That is why we often no longer perceive it consciously. It can help to incorporate small changes into everyday life to escape the routine.


3. Train the senses - use all 5 senses

Try to consciously perceive what it smells like right now. Or how the contact of your body with the chair (or sofa, bed, ...) feels in this moment. Consciously using all senses helps us to practice mindfulness. As a result, in the future we will not only be able to better perceive our surroundings, but also our own condition.


4. Eliminate distractions

Some people may be constantly looking at their cell phones, some people let incoming new tasks distract them from the current one. We all love to be distracted. Here it can help to reflect on what exactly distracts us (e.g. the mobile phone, e-mails) and to switch off these distractions.


5. Do what leads to well-being

Sounds banal, and actually it is. In our everyday life, we are usually simply programmed to function. Unfortunately, taking time for what is good for us is often neglected. It quickly pays off because we are more balanced and relaxed.


6. Clean up

Cleaning up might not be the most pleasant task on this list, but it does have a positive effect. Did you know that the condition of your home allows limited conclusions to be drawn about your mental well-being? Of course, there are more factors. But tidying up has been shown to reduce stress, and a tidy home boosts our well-being immensely.


7. Avoid multitasking

If you also clean the apartment and make phone calls while you are cooking, your attention will be divided, your stress level will increase, and you will hardly be able to pay attention to your own well-being. Instead, try to focus on one thing and consciously experience it with all your senses.


8. Be thankful (find a positive thought)

As mentioned above, gratitude can help us free our mental focus from a negative spiral. This requires active thinking and encourages our mindful perception.


9. Eat mindfully

Even when we eat, our multitasking often doesn't stop. We eat quickly while walking, in front of the computer at work or in front of the television. Then the plate is empty without us consciously noticing our meal. It is better to sit down consciously and notice what you are eating. This also causes us to really feel full and eat less.


10. Go for a walk for a few minutes (while being aware of nature)

This point is often mentioned and is still relevant. A wide variety of new sensory impressions await us in nature. Consciously perceiving and carefully observing them stimulates our brain and releases endorphins.


Mindfulness strengthens resilience, reduces stress more easily, the brain can work more intensively, and we are more concentrated in our work. If you find it difficult to think about it in everyday life, you might find it helpful to download an app that sends you little reminders. The good thing is that mindfulness is like a muscle. The more often you practice, the easier it will be for you and at some point, you will subconsciously cope with your everyday life much more mindfully.