The Focus On You

Self-Care Is A Lifestyle

Part 1: How To Increase Your Resilience

Originally posted on April 1, 2015

For this 3-part series on resilience, I want to help you redefine resilience and identify areas of improvement. First, let’s start with a definition.

Resilience is our capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

It can be described as our level of “grit” or toughness. Having resilience doesn’t mean that you don’t feel trauma, sickness, sadness or stress.

A resilient person knows how to navigate their way successfully out of tough times. Click To Tweet

For the purpose of this series I want to describe resilience as “fitness”, which is a term used by Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D in his research with addicts and trauma survivors. For more information on Dr. Meichenbaum’s studies, you can find him at




Based on his research, increasing your “internal fitness” means bolstering one’s ability to bounce back from difficult times. In my opinion, this type of pro-active training is necessary for anyone, not just trauma survivors and addicts. It’s like keeping a spare tire in your car and an extra battery for your phone.


In Part 1 of this series I would like to focus on two domains of internal fitness: physical and social resilience. Read through some of the questions below to see where you rank and where you may need help.

Physical Resilience

  • On a scale of 1-10, how healthy are your eating patterns? Sleep schedule? Level of physical activity each week?
  • Have you been avoiding making changes in any of these areas? What are your barriers to change?
  • Do you engage in dangerous behaviors (sexual, financial, physically risky)?
  • Do you overuse alcohol and/or drugs? Do you rely on narcotic pain medication as your only form of pain management? Has someone close to you warned you about these behaviors?
  • Are you frequently complaining about a lack of energy?
  • Has it been over a year since a physical examination or blood work? Are you avoiding the doctor because of suspicions about your health?


Having physical resilience is an absolute necessity in times of crisis. We respond POORLY when we have inadequate sleep.

Recovering addicts are taught to monitor their level of being hungry, angry, lonely and tired (HALT) in order to prevent relapse risk. Humans can’t fully appreciate happy moments if they are too sleepy, running on empty or physically ill. Imagine how long it takes to bounce back from a crisis if your physical resilience is weak?

Social Resilience

  • Are you able to lean on others and accept help? Do you avoid asking for help?
  • Can you recognize the barriers to seeking help? Is your barrier your ATTITUDE?
  • Do you connect with healthy supports in your life?
  • Are you avoiding making connections with positive friends and family? Do you avoid people who seem to be happier than you?
  • Can you find a mentor to help in areas where you need professional guidance (personal trainer, running coach, spiritual mentor, business mentor)?
  • Do you honor ethnic or religious traditions? Are you connected to people from your ethnic background or religious beliefs?
  • Do you have healthy behaviors on social media? Are you bored with social media and want to learn about other forms of social interacting? (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc)

Most people tend to avoid socializing with others who are skinnier, healthier, happier and/or more financially secure. Reading about others’ good fortune on Facebook, for example, tends to worsen the self-comparison and encourages further isolation.

Break out of this behavior! Try something new!

Social fitness requires a little courage but nothing exciting comes from a comfort zone. We hire “professionals” for their knowledge with plumbing, landscaping or medical needs. There are “professionals” for learning social media (teens!), improving a business, losing weight, training for marathons, etc.

Use Facebook to search for coaches and specialized Facebook groups instead of self-comparison. Click To Tweet

Look up hashtags like #motivation, #instagood or #quotes on Instagram and find uplifting images. Follow me on Instagram and catch up on my  pictures and quotes that are motivating in all areas (fitness, health, business, self-care).

Twitter chats are also inspiring and can give you something to look forward to each week. I participate in the following inspirational chats: #Ambitionista, #fireandwindco, #HERmovement and #JustHaves. Research these hashtags on Twitter and join in!

Final Thought: What can you do this week to improve your physical and social resilience? Tell someone about your plans to help you stay accountable! 



  1. This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I totally agree that we have to get out of comfort zone before things really start to happen.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Yes! Our comfort zone can be dangerous!! Complacency can occur!!! I’ll be sharing more resilience tips this week as well.
      Have a fabulous week!

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