To start with, pick a challenge in your life and the need that is at stake.
For example, your challenge may be external like dealing with a stressful job or conflict in any of your relationship. After you have identified the challenge you want to face, pick any of the 12 resources above that can help you in dealing with the challenge.
Ask yourself whether this mental resilience is helpful to you, whether it helps you to stay peaceful and loving while dealing with the challenge.
Recall for similar experiences in the past and ask what could have been helpful or what experiences you still want in order to hone this mental resilience more.
Rick Hanson created the HEAL (stands for Have a beneficial experience, Enrich it, Absorb it, Link it) framework that aids in the cultivation of this resource as a durable strength hardwired into your brain.
Look into your previous experiences and pick one where the resource is being used.
For example, the experience of listening carefully to someone where you feel deeply connected to them. This works out your need for intimacy. Keep rehearsing this in your mind, including the bodily sensations you felt.
Do this many times of the day even for a minute or less. The more you do this, the more you evoke the positive experience in the present moment until you come to a point where you can relax at will.
You can enrich an experience in 5 ways.
– Lengthen it.
Stay with it for five, ten, or more seconds. The longer that neurons fire together, the more they tend to wire together. Concentrate and try to avoid distractions. If your mind wanders, see to it that you come back to it.
– Intensify it.
Open to it and let it be big in your mind. Turn up the volume by breathing more fully or getting a little excited.
– Expand it.
Notice other elements of the experience. For example, if you’re having a useful thought, look for related sensations or emotions.
– Freshen it.
Look for what’s interesting or surprising about an experience. Imagine that you are having it for the very first time.
– Value it.
Be aware of why the experience is important to you, why it matters, and how it could help you.
Though very much helpful, you don’t have to use all these methods. You can use one or two of them for a few seconds or a minute, then move on to the next.
You can absorb the experience in 3 ways:
– Intend to receive it.
Consciously choose to take in the experience.
– Sense it sinking into you.
You could imagine that the experience is like a warm, soothing balm or a jewel being placed in the treasure chest of your heart. Give over to it, allowing it to become a part of you.
– Reward yourself.
Tune into whatever is pleasurable, reassuring, helpful, or hopeful about the experience. This increases the activity of two neurotransmitter systems — dopamine and norepinephrine — that will flag the experience as a keeper for long-term storage.
Linking involves being aware of both the ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ material at the same time. The negative may stand for the feeling of being unwanted as a child while the positive brings the feeling of being well-appreciated by your co-workers.
Because the brain naturally associates things together, focusing more on the positive material helps in replacing the negative material.
Life is a journey that is constantly focused on our need for safety, satisfaction, or connection.
When you have developed the necessary inner resources required in the fulfillment of each of this need, reinforcing them in your nervous system, no loneliness, disappointment, or resentment can defeat you.
No matter how strong the obstacles are, your peace, contentment, and love within will see you through.