10 Powerful Lessons From Linda Graham’s Book – Resilience

10 Powerful Lessons From Linda Graham Book – Resilience

Recently I read the book 'Resilience' by Linda Graham and I wanted to share the top 10 inspiring lessons and insights from her book.

I hope you will find these quotes inspiring and insightful.

#1. To reinforce new learning and unlearn unhelpful patterns, start by taking tiny steps and making small changes

Linda Graham

"When we are trying to undo the effects of negative, harmful, or traumatic experiences, little and often is the way to go, working with one small part of the memory at a time.

We take baby steps so that the brain doesn’t get overwhelmed or re-traumatized.

This practice of little and often not only allows us to learn and reinforce new learning most effectively; it also helps us unlearn unhelpful patterns and lay down new ones most effectively.

- Linda Graham

#2. When you choose to relate to the inner critic as just another part of yourself, it will settle down to being listened to

Linda Graham

"Arguing with your inner critic, trying to persuade it of your worth, doesn’t work well. There will always be some imperfection it can pounce on to prove you wrong. (And your goal, in any event, is to accept your imperfections as part of your particular flavor of being human.) And you can’t ignore the inner critic.

It will never go away on its own, because it thinks its self-imposed job is essential to your survival. Trying to ignore it takes an enormous and exhausting amount of psychological energy.

What works is to retire it, to rewire your view of it, to shift your perspective — the gold standard of response flexibility — and to relate to it as one part of your larger self.

You can work with any grain of truth in the inner critic’s message as you would work with negative emotions, saying, "Thank you for the signal to pay attention to something important. I trust that I will. Now please go back to your room.”

When you choose to relate to the inner critic as just another part of yourself, it will settle down to being listened to, and you can settle down to listening without being derailed.

- Linda Graham

#3. Acceptance will help you let go of how things have been or need to be

Linda Graham

"Accepting the reality that underlies all reality — that everything changes, nothing is fixed or permanent — helps you let go of how things have been or need to be. You can tolerate how things are and trust your capacities of response flexibility to change them if need be.

- Linda Graham

#4. Cultivate a 'growth mindset'

Linda Graham

"In her book Mindset, the psychologist Carol Dweck describes two opposite mindsets that greatly predict the likelihood of our accomplishing our goals: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

In a fixed mindset, we are likely to believe that our success is predetermined: if we’re smart or talented, we ’ll succeed easily, and if not, it isn’t worth trying because we’ll never succeed. 

A fixed mindset makes it difficult to take in any feedback about how we might do better. When we experience a failure or a setback, we ’re likely to give up and not bother. We may even blame others or circumstances for our lack of success. This fixed mindset leads to avoiding challenges rather than risking failure.

In a growth mindset, we are likely to believe that success depends more on effort than on talent or intelligence. If we keep trying and work hard, we’ll learn, improve through practice, and eventually succeed.

People with a growth mindset don’t blame anyone else when they encounter a setback. They seek out feedback; they are more likely to seek out new challenges and less likely to give up when things get hard or go wrong. 

As you can imagine, the growth mindset fosters response flexibility and resilience; the fixed mindset derails them.

- Linda Graham

#5. Multitasking takes a serious mental toll

Linda Graham

"No matter how fond or proud you are of your capacities for multitasking, over time juggling many tasks at once is costly to the brain’s functioning and efficiency.

The truth is, the brain does only one thing at a time. It can shift focus from one thing to another very quickly, but it is not evolutionarily adapted for rapid and sustained shifting of attention. Every shift takes metabolic energy.

As you switch from a job related task to sending a tweet to answering a question from your child to responding to a friend’s email, over time your focused attention gets scattered and fragmented.

After sixty to ninety minutes in multitasking mode, your brain’s performance suffers, and you make more mistakes.

As your brain goes into fatigue or brain fog, the CEO of resilience, the prefrontal cortex, can’t function as clearly or creatively anymore; it begins to have trouble focusing for three to four minutes on a project, let alone three to four hours.

- Linda Graham

#6. Mindful empathy can help strengthen your resilience

Linda Graham

"Focusing on positive and prosocial emotions is not meant to bypass or suppress dark, difficult, afflictive emotions. Your experiences of angst, pain, and despair are very real.

By persevering in your practices of mindful empathy, you learn to acknowledge, hold, and process those emotions.

You deliberately cultivate positive, prosocial emotions as a way to broaden your habitual modes of thinking or acting, and to build enduring, resilient resources for coping. These include increasing social bonds and social support and deepening insights that help place events in a broader context. 

You strengthen your capacity to cope, find a way through, and come out the other side. 

- Linda Graham

#7. When venturing into something new, it's natural to feel discomfort but this feeling of unease is a sign that you're about to grow

Linda Graham

"Whenever you’re about to venture into something new — moving across the country, getting married again, starting a new job, finally fixing the leaky shower head — you may feel a hesitancy, a withdrawing — a somatic feeling of “Uh-oh! Strange territory! Don’t know if I should be doing this!” — even though, consciously, you might very well want to forge ahead.

Your resilience goes on hold. You can interpret this feeling of unease as anxiety, which can automatically lead to refusing or deferring new challenges. It feels like a risk to try something new.

You can choose to “feel the fear and do it anyway,” as Susan Jeffers suggests. You can reinterpret the signal anxiety as a sign that you’re about to grow, as the meditation teacher Jack Kornfield suggests. Or you can rewire anxiety into action, as was the practice of Eleanor Roosevelt, doing “one thing every day which scares you.”

- Linda Graham

#8. Forgiveness is essential to see our pain as part of the universal pain of all human beings

Linda Graham

"Forgiveness does not mean condoning, pardoning, forgetting, false reconciliation, appeasement, or sentimentality. It is a practice, daily and lifelong, of cultivating the inner secure base that allows us to see our pain as part of the universal pain of all human beings, to reset our moral compass, and to remain compassionate even in the face of injustice, betrayal, and harm.

- Linda Graham

#9. Being mindful creates awareness of your choices which in turn helps you respond flexibly to whatever is happening

Linda Graham

"Many people think of mindfulness as a kind of thinking or cognition. That’s not exactly it.

Mindful awareness is about being with rather than thinking about: it entails knowing what you are experiencing while you are experiencing it. This awareness and reflection about experience (and your reactions to your experience) creates choice points in your brain.

When you are aware of your choices, you can respond flexibly to whatever is happening, moment by moment.

When you become present to what is happening, you step out of denial, out of distraction, out of dissociation. You show up, pay attention, and engage with your experience in the present moment.

- Linda Graham

#10. You can observe what’s happening — and your reactions to what’s happening — without believing that this is who you are or that this is permanently true

Linda Graham

"You can observe what’s happening — and your reactions to what’s happening — without believing that this is who you are or that this is permanently true.

Rather than identifying yourself as an angry person and believing that you are angry all the time, you can observe, “I’m feeling very angry right now,” or even “The anger is pretty strong right now.”

This disentangling and observation enable you to create choice points in the brain rather than simply acting (or reacting) automatically as you have acted before.

- Linda Graham

Excerpted from the book Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster. Copyright ©2018 by Linda Graham. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Resilience Powerful Practices For Bouncing Back Cover

Bonus: Enjoy Linda Graham's video on her book 'Resilience'.

About Linda Graham

Linda Graham

Linda Graham became a licensed marriage and family therapist in 1995, specializing in helping people reverse the impact of stress and trauma, manage anxiety, depression, loneliness and shame, shift out of reactivity, contraction and smallifying to more openness, trust and conscious, compassionate connection, cultivate the mindful awareness that shifts perspectives, discerns options, and makes wise choices, turn regrettable moments into teachable moments, recover a sense of resilience, centeredness and wholeness, and move into thriving and flourishing.

Her first book, Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being (New World Library, 2013) integrated the paradigms and practices of modern neuroscience, Western relational psychology and Eastern contemplative practices to help readers shift out of old patterns of response to life events – neural “swamp” or neural “cement” – to more flexible, adaptive coping strategies that lead to more authentic resilience and well-being.

To learn more, visit her website www.lindagraham-mft.net.

Now it's your turn, what are your favorite lessons from Resilience and why. Share them in the comments below.

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