“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.” – The Dalai Lama
We’ve all faced tough personal situations like having a new baby, a loved one’s passing, or even broken plumbing.
Inflexible work environments often exacerbate these situations, leaving us feeling drained and undervalued.
What can we do as individuals when we find ourselves in a fix?
How do we train our mind, body, and spirit to adapt, get stronger, and become more resilient?
I have discovered that thriving under stress begins with a mindset of confidence and compassion.
Gratitude as a Daily Ritual
In typical Indian tradition, I grew up in a joint family with my parents and extended family.
Every evening, my grandmother would ask each of us to mention one thing that we were thankful for.
While verbalizing gratitude was uncomfortable, it helped me feel more connected with my family right after.
As I grow older, I practice this more often. Giving thanks for everyday things keeps things in perspective and builds a strong foundation.
Cultivating Confidence Through Gratitude & Positive Affirmations
Confidence helps us express ourselves, ask tough questions, and take on new challenges.
Over time, it helps us become well-connected, successful leaders of organizations. We all have an energy center for confidence called the Muladhara.
Muladhara combines two Sanskrit words: Mula meaning “root” and Adhara meaning “platform” or “support”.
This Confidence Center governs our sense of safety and security. It represents our roots and internal support system.
It’s a gauge for our historical feelings of security and current levels of trust. Positive affirmations and expressions of gratitude can balance and boost this energy center.
Meditation 1: The Confidence Meditation
Whenever I find myself withdrawing, losing focus or worrying about things out of my control, I practice the Confidence Meditation.
Firstly, I tap into an early childhood memory to feel more secure.
Secondly, I find a comfortable position to remain in for about five minutes.
Thirdly, I use a variation of this meditation:
- Starting in a comfortable position, I breathe deeply for 1-3 minutes. I feel the air energize and anchor my connection with the ground.
- Visualizing a bright red cube right above the tailbone, I deepen my breath and sit up a little straighter.
- Deliberating on patience, stability, and security, I meditate on this positive affirmation:
Today, I’m thankful for my ancestors. I welcome all the trials and tribulations that have brought me this far in life. I’m exactly where I need to be. I’m thankful for nature, for life, for food and the safety of my surroundings.
- Continuing to breathe deeply for a few more minutes, I transition back to my surroundings.
A weekly practice of this meditation often starts a flywheel of confidence and success.
I even mix things up by trying a simple Child’s pose, sitting in a chair vs. cross-legged, or wearing red clothing.
Building Compassion Through Empathy & Kindness
As with anything, true empathy for me began at home.
When my daughter was little, I remember reading that it’s easy to misconstrue toddler tantrums. So I learned to see things from her point of view.
I started to listen and become more patient. This, in turn, helped her become more cooperative as she felt understood and loved.
Now, I extend this empathy to business relationships by asking questions, listening actively, and finding similarities.
Compassion takes this one step further: it combines empathy with kindness.
The Loving Kindness meditation is a great exercise in compassion. It activates the heart and solar plexus energy centers. Based on ancient Tibetan wisdom, it aids compassionate thoughts and actions.
Meditation 2: The Loving-Kindness Meditation
Despite teaching yoga, I often find myself strapped for time when it comes to self-care.
This is my go-to meditation when I need to achieve quick harmony of mind, body, and breath.
Practicing this meditation, either alone or in groups, always brings an immediate feeling of warmth and collective harmony:
- Taking a comfortable posture, I focus my attention between my heart and the solar plexus.
- Breathing from that area, I practice a state of gentle self-inquiry without judgment. What is my state of mind? What tasks are top of mind?
- Gently, casting thoughts aside, I notice any areas of tightness or numbness in the body; any self-judgment or self-criticism.
- Once again, focusing on the heart center, I sink into a brief meditation:
May I be safe and free from physical harm. May I be protected from danger.
May I be free of mental suffering. May I be happy and strong.
May my relationships be healthy and fulfilling.
May I find happiness, joy, and love.
- Next, I repeat the phrases for someone that I love: “May they be safe and free from physical harm…”
- Next, I move on to a neutral person. I notice the differences in my body and breathe as my thoughts move from person to person.
- Finally, I repeat the phrases for someone I dislike.
It’s noteworthy that Loving Kindness emphasizes self-compassion as the first step before loving others.
Still, it’s impossible to love everyone – in such cases, I choose to define better boundaries or walk away while wishing that person well.
Quoting the Dalai Lama once again, a single positive thought can transform any day.
So when I find myself getting stressed by a deadline, I weave in these meditations in the morning or at night.
Above all, I make it a habit to express direct and personal gratitude to the ones that matter most.