Mindfulness: How meditation can build mental resilience
Meditation can teach you to roll with the punches and build mental resilience. Here's how
If there's one thing we've all needed in 2020, it's resilience. This year has thrown up tough challenges for so many people, it can feel very overwhelming at times. However, the practice of being resilient to stress – staying calm not just under pressure, but being able to roll with the long-term waves of anxiety – is an enormous benefit in these turbulent times.
Meditation can help. A study conducted by researchers from the National University of Natural Sciences in Seoul, South Korea, looked at the practice of meditation and its effects on stress resilience.
Published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the study's participants underwent a four-day meditation course before being measured on their reactions to stress. The results were very encouraging.
The study found "meditation causes an immediate enhancement in resilience that is sustained. Since resilience is known to be associated with the preventative effect of various psychiatric disorders, the improvement in stress-related neural mechanisms may be beneficial to individuals at high clinical risk."
The study found meditation actually increased the "resting-state functional connectivity" between parts of our brains, a process which stops us overreacting to stress. Those benefits remained even three months after the meditation course ended.
To get the benefit of this preventative effect, it's good to know meditation is free and easy to access for everyone. To get started, our beginner's guide to meditation can take you through the benefits of mindfulness, some pitfalls to watch out for and guide you through your first session with the help of a meditation expert.
There are also lots of free guided meditation sessions available online to follow along to at home, like the one below:
Liked this? More therapeutic Wellness Week content below:
- 'I tried light therapy and this is what happened'
- Why 'scentscaping' can help you to successfully meditate
- Light therapy: everything you need to know, including does it work?
Wellness Week on Fit&Well
Wellness Week is brought to you in association with Wiggle. Each day this week, we'll help you accelerate your wellness journey by making improvements across areas including fitness, diet and nutrition, mindfulness and more.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
Short on time? Try this strength-boosting five-minute workout from Les Mills instead—no equipment necessary
Workout This short routine can help boost your fitness, increase your heart rate, and work your muscles in a pinch
By Harry Bullmore • Published
This 30-minute dumbbell workout builds stronger arms and boosts your metabolism
Workout Develop functional strength to help out with everyday tasks and raise your heart rate with this upper body routine
By Lois Mackenzie • Published