Staying Resilient by Staying Mindful

Daily life has morphed into a stream of terms like WFH (Work From Home), HBL (Home-Based Learning), SHN (Stay Home Notice), and Zoom. Limited by the social distancing measures that brought them into our lives, how can we continue to flourish?

Think Ahead

Your earlier plans—like going on your graduation trip or bonding with family before applying for a much-coveted job—may have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It must feel very distressing to meet with a major crisis at such a crucial juncture in your life.

Nonetheless, you can still make broad plans for the future – by keeping your mind firmly on the present.

For a start, how about responding to the NUS Resilience and Growth (R&G) Innovation Challenge? The host of unprecedented challenges from the global health crisis are likely to persist beyond the current situation. The NUS challenge encourages you to create innovative approaches to address these problems and shape a better future for everyone. You can be part of the future, now!

Stay Mindful

Anchor your attention in the present, even though you may feel unhappy, dissatisfied and anxious about the future. The T.I.E. framework may help you view challenges or setbacks in an optimistic manner:

Temporary (T): Setbacks are not an indication of your success over the long term.
Isolated (I): Setbacks are contained to a specific context and event.
Effort (E): Setbacks may be overcome with continued Effort.

In fact, creating a bank of ‘resilience stories’ may be to your advantage—employers love hearing about these!


Growth is possible even in times of a pandemic. Move ahead of the game and emerge happier and more fulfilled by using the time now to reflect, recharge, and reorientate.

Psychologists encourage cultivating a rich and meaningful life through PERMA+. This recommendation is drawn from the theoretical model for happiness designed by Dr Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology:

Positive Emotion (P): Cultivate emotions such as joy, contentment, and gratitude, and view events from a constructive perspective
Engagement (E): Remain in the present by doing what you love
Relationships (R): Build strong and meaningful relationships with the key persons in your life
Meaning (M): Find fulfillment by connecting to the larger purpose of your work
Accomplishments (A): Make realistic goals and celebrate achievements, big and small
+ Take care of your physical health with good-quality sleep and good nutrition

Finally, look for the silver linings amidst the crisis. Have you become closer to your family through spending more time with them? Have you acquired new digital skills from being online more frequently? Have you found the time to cultivate a new hobby?

Recognise that while you may be hurting right now, you are growing at the same time.

Stay safe and healthy!

By Joanne Chua, Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the Department of Psychology, NUS. Joanne instructs on the Roots & Wings 2.0 programme and the Master of Psychology (Clinical) programme.

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