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Part 2: How To Increase Your Resilience

Originally posted on April 8, 2015

This post is Part 2 of a 3-Part series on resilience, which focused on physical and social resilience. Read Part 1 of this series  here if you need to catch up!

Remember that resilience is our ability to bounce back from illness, tough times or stress. I felt it was necessary to revamp this post in preparation for your holiday season.

Let’s look at two  ways to build resilience or internal “fitness.” Read through these questions and see if anything screams out at you.


Emotional Resilience

  • Could you name 3 things that would lift your mood in a pinch? (Aside from mood-altering drugs or drinks)
  • Do you hide your true feelings behind sarcasm?
  • Do you give yourself permission to be human? To cry, grieve, feel angry? Do you make excuses that crying would scare the kids?
  • Is your self-talk helpful or hurtful?
  • Have you avoided journaling or other creative outlets because you don’t feel inspired? (If you need journaling ideas please refer to my post with journal prompts)
  • When was the last time you vented or confided in someone you trust? Or do you vent on Facebook?
  • When was the last time you carved out time for pleasurable activities for yourself, A.K.A., “me time?”

Crying out on Facebook or other social media sites, either vaguely or directly, is not always the healthiest way of managing emotions. We are ALL guilty of venting or complaining on social media from time to time. When was the last time you actually talked to someone on the phone or face-to-face about your concerns?

Poor emotional resilience bleeds into other areas of our life. Click To Tweet

Have a talk with someone you trust before your boss, spouse or family member points out that you need help. Kids feed off of negative emotions so if you’re a parent doing it all by yourself, you’re at risk for traumatizing your children with your reactions. Children learn how to cope and deal with failure by watching their parents.

Cognitive Resilience

  • Is your thinking too rigid? (It’s my way or the highway, Black-n-White thinking)
  • Are your expectations for yourself or others unrealistic? Is this a setup for failure?
  • Do you know HOW to be optimistic? Do you have a role model for optimism?
  • Are you honoring your values daily? (God, family, health, e.g.)
  • What has helped you weather storms effectively in the past?
  • Would affirmations help? Are you willing to feed yourself positive affirmations daily?
  • Is there a book that can help you with your weak areas? Spiritual book? Inspirational story? Ask others for recommendations.


The majority of the clients I have served in the past have stayed trapped in their problems because of thinking errors. Stubbornness, old patterns of thinking, giving up easily, taking things personal and not asking for help are all thinking errors.

They are people’s defense mechanisms and they don’t always work.


Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.


Could you identify ways you have weathered storms in the past? Did your faith help? Did you have someone to help with babysitting, giving you alone time or a friend to discuss your fears with?


Reach out. No one knows what we need until we ask.


Final Thought: Do you know someone who has cognitive or emotional resilience? Ask them how they do it. I’m sure they would be willing to share their secrets with you.


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! 


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