The roots of resilience are to be found in the felt sense of existing in the heart and mind of an empathic, attuned, self-possessed other. — DIANA FOSHA

Bouncing Back by Linda Graham

WHILE MINDFULNESS and observation-reflection create the self-awareness and expanded brain capacities that allow us to create the changes in our behaviors critical to resilience, the other essential catalyst for brain change — empathy — requires skillfully interacting with other people to generate the connection and self-acceptance we also need for resilience.
Research shows that five elements of that empathy are essential for maturing the prefrontal cortex in the first place and for continuing to strengthen it throughout our lives:
1. Resonance: picking up the “vibe” of other people

2. Attunement: feeling your way into another person’s experience and “feeling felt” by them

3. Empathy (as one part of the larger umbrella of empathy): making sense of your experience or another’s, conveying a shared understanding of the meaning of the experience, and sensing that any experience is completely understood and accepted

4. Compassion: literally “feeling with,” keeping the heart open and caring in the face of struggle or suffering

5. Acceptance: coming to terms with what is or has been, so that you can cope going forward.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Mindfulness can develop these skills as we are social beings starting with our original caregivers.

    PTSD sufferers have issues with resilience and at tuning to others. This is our work.

  2. Posted by jennifertemp on September 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Wonderful post. I have this book, and sadly have not spent much time reading it. It is now on my list of “to dos” today. I have found that empathy is sadly lacking in so many who are so self absorbed in today’s society. Listen, observe, show support/love But don’t be so absorbed in someones distress/situation that you lose yourself – identify. Those of us who were severely abused emotionally and/or physically as children seem to have either an over abundance of empathy, or none. I’m happy to say I ( and I believe you to) fall in to the former category.

  3. You must be present, here, now, in this moment to experience any of this from another mind, being felt, attunement, acceptance. Etc

    Life again and again only exists in this moment

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