Recently, I came across a fantastic article about one of my favorite topics, resiliency, written by Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan. For creatives, this is essential for sustainability in an ever-changing industry, but almost every industry nowadays requires some form of resiliency or grit. How you exercise and cultivate that in your life may surprise you.
For many, the process of resiliency usually involves a false definition of enduring, or pushing through to acquire more skills or achievements, but what many people aren’t keen to is that recharging and giving the brain ample time to recover, is the very thing that allows you to push harder.
Recent research has shown that we can spend more time collectively on our phones and computers throughout the day than we do at night with sleep, so it’s no wonder that we constantly feel compelled to obtain more, to do more or achieve more.
The very lack of a recovery period is dramatically holding back our collective ability to be resilient and successful. Research has found that there is a direct correlation between lack of recovery and increased incidence of health and safety problems. And lack of recovery — whether by disrupting sleep with thoughts of work or having continuous cognitive arousal by watching our phones — is costing our companies $62 billion a year (that’s billion, not million) in lost productivity.
62 billion??? That’s insane…
But as meditators we’re already ahead of the game with a very simple practice that allows the body to rest 3-5 times deeper than sleep. Once the mind and body begin to de-excite, something called the relaxation response is triggered, firing off levels of Dopamine and Seratonin in the system, which allows for old stresses to be dissolved and performance to be increased.
We can’t stop thoughts completely during meditation (thoughts are not the enemy, effort is!), but we begin to access the space between thoughts during meditation. This allows us to access fulfillment where it lies, which is inside, so that we can deliver that to others during waking state. This also allows us to pull back the lens so that we can see where we may need to push harder in certain areas and pull back in others. As the article points out, resilience is about how you recharge, not how you endure.
In her excellent book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington wrote...
“We sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity, but ironically our loss of sleep, despite the extra hours we spend at work, adds up to 11 days of lost productivity per year per worker, or about $2,280.”
BAM! That’s a lot of lost productivity and finances.
But there’s a saying in the text of BhagavadGita which states, “yogastha kuru karmani,”which translates to “established in oneness, perform action.” This is Krishna’s guidance to Arjuna, which is still timely advice for modern times today. You don’t have to be a fancy scholar of classic Indian texts to comprehend how dependent we’ve become on cellphones, or how the multiple demands we face on a daily bases can test that notion of resiliency. When we meditate, we not only are recharging, which is the foundation of resiliency, but we get to move forward with our demands in a reflective way with intention and purpose.
Where are you pushing in certain areas in your life, muscling through experiences, and where can you connect with more ease and grace?