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Part 3: How To Increase Your Resilience

Originally posted on April 15, 2015

How internally fit do you feel after Part 1 and 2 of this series????!!!!!! Let’s recap!

Part 1 of this 3-part series identified ways to address physical and social resilience.

In Part 2, emotional and cognitive resilience were discussed. These 4 areas of resilience, or internal fitness, were part of Dr. Donald Meichenbaum’s research, which focused on military members and trauma survivors.

Trauma can be defined as an event that causes one to feel unsafe. Car accidents, burglaries, surgeries, and natural disasters can leave trauma scars that last for years. I wrote a post earlier this year entitled “Coping with PTSD”, which looked closer at post-traumatic stress and effective coping skills.

 To close out this series let’s identify ways to improve your spiritual and behavioral resilience!


Spiritual Resilience

  • Have you lost hope? Are there spiritual tools you would be willing to use to help you regain hope?
  • Is there a spiritual advisor that you can talk to or reach out to?
  • Are you willing to engage in spiritual or religious groups? Do you know someone who is already connected with a group?
  • Have spiritual tools helped you in the past? Proverbs? Psalms? Readings? Can you use those again?
  • In what ways could spiritual music help you? Energy? Positivity? Regaining Hope? Comfort?
  • Are there individuals in your life that challenge your spiritual values or bring “negative” vibes into your life? How can you set a boundary with them?


Some tools that can help people with increasing spiritual resilience are books, journals,music or wearing jewelry that reflects your spiritual beliefs (cross, bracelet, necklace). Recovering addicts may wear a necklace signifying their affiliation in 12-Step programs and many use keychains or “chips” that are tangible symbols of their commitment to their sobriety. When my sense of faith was shaken after the tragic deaths in Newtown in 2012, I wore a bracelet with a cross to give me a sense of safety and comfort.

Some people feel they need to get closer to nature, gardening, being near the ocean, etc. Spirituality has many pathways. Find what works for you.


Behavioral Resilience

  • Can my goals become more manageable? Can they be broken down into sub-tasks?
  • Do I need to avoid certain people, places or things that negatively affect my behavior?
  • How much negativity do I hear or see throughout the day? Think of TV, news, radio, Facebook, social media, chatter at work, chatter at the kids’ school.
  • Can I identify any friends or family who are engaging in positive behaviors? Think of fitness, spiritual activities, outdoor activities, healthy habits. Can I confide in them or become involved with their activities?
  • Do I need to renegotiate my role at home or at work? Can I delegate some responsibilities, even for a week or weekend?
  • Can I incorporate some behaviors that help me relax? Reading, gardening, walking, volunteer opportunities, creative outlets, etc

Our thoughts and emotions affect our behaviors. Period.

This is why babies cry. Our behaviors can affect our values, our interactions with others and our productivity.

I have previously written about cleaning up our daily environment. In a post entitled,  “Taking Out The Trash”, I highlighted areas in our life that create toxic energy, if left unchecked. Facebook and other social media can be a gift and a curse. Recent studies point to Facebook being linked to depression. Personally, these sites provide encouragement and motivation for me because I CHOOSE to follow others who are on the same path.

If you know someone who posts positive messages or has a positive energy, ask them what helps them stay behaviorally fit! As a first-time parent did you ask other parents about words of advice? College students may ask graduates for advice on how to survive post-grad. Bloggers look to other bloggers and social media managers for guidance on their projects.

If you are too shy to ask for help, use the cheapest and easiest method available – pen and paper! Make an inventory of your behaviors.

 How Do You Spend Your Time???

Once you evaluate how you spend your time make yourself accountable. Tell others about it. Tell them what will now be of importance to you.

Is Sunday designated for church and downtime?

Do you need to clean up your social media pages?

Do negative people need to stop calling you about their problems? Tell them!!


Question: How is your internal fitness feeling after this series about resilience?

Let me know what is working for you!

 Please use the share buttons below or at the top of this post!





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.


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