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If you’re like many people I know, you’re feeling a bit worn out and beat down. Maybe you’re feeling isolated or overwhelmed by work or life commitments. Maybe you’re sick and tired of cold weather. Or maybe you’re simply weary from the long pandemic and the unusual route our lives have taken over the past year. Whatever the case, now is the time to turn inward for a time and work on building up your resilience.

Building resilience takes time and effort. It’s an ongoing process–something you’ll have to chip away at throughout your life. But the effort is worth it. Your resilience will help you weather life’s storms and prepare you to overcome the everyday annoyances (flat tires, illnesses, burnt dinners, missed deadlines) that we often encounter.

How can you build your resilience and strengthen your mental fortitude? Try one or a few of these four methods:

1. Imagine yourself on the other side

If you’re staring down a particularly troubling problem OR even if you’re feeling less than your best, try thinking about the future. Take a few minutes to sit quietly and imagine life AFTER you’ve overcome your problems. How do you feel? What does life look like? What are you doing?

Thinking about a bright future does two things:

1) It opens you to the possibility that things CAN and WILL get better. This puts you in a better place, mentally and emotionally.

2) It gets you into problem-solving mode. Instead of dwelling on your current woes, you’ll be thinking ahead, which can help you begin to brainstorm how to get to your desired state.

2. Pay attention to your thoughts

You are what you think. If you’re constantly down on yourself, pessimistic, and hopeless, those thoughts will become reality. Thoughts are powerful. They frame our entire existence and carry us from day to day. If you are constantly thinking you can’t do something, you probably won’t do it. It’s really that simple.

Start paying attention to what goes through your mind. If you catch yourself thinking negatively about something, pause and take a step back. How can you reframe that thought? What narrative can you tell yourself instead? What silver lining or bit of hope can you focus on instead of negative aspects? Tuning in and challenging your pessimistic thoughts can set you up to be more resilient and able to roll with the punches.

For more advice on overcoming negative self-talk, please CLICK to read my past blog post on the subject.

3. Practice good self-care

When you’re feeling downtrodden, it could be that you simply need to take some meaningful time for yourself to rejuvenate and reinvigorate. Taking a break (even a short one) can renew your confidence, energize you, and prepare you to face the challenges that lie ahead. If you’d like a few self-care ideas, click HERE.

4. Reach out to others

You don’t have to build resilience on your own. In fact, it’s healthy to reach out to others when you’re feeling low and lean on them for a little support. Seek out those who are caring and compassionate, good listeners, and empathetic. At times, all you really need is a listening ear–someone to help you process difficult moments. Of course, it’s not fair to take, take, take and never give back. Be there for others when they need you, too. The best relationships are reciprocal, and chances are, you’ll find satisfaction in helping others on their journeys as well.

It’s best to reach out to multiple people (or even support groups or a counselor), so you’re not fully reliant on one person. This can be your web–a network of individuals who can catch you when you fall and help you bounce back.

You ARE a resilient person and you CAN make it through difficult times. Make a concerted effort to practice self-reflection, take good care of yourself, and reach out to others when you need a little extra support. You’ve got this.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Image by RÜŞTÜ BOZKUŞ from Pixabay

There are times in life when we feel lower than low. These are the times when your car fails, your plumbing breaks, you get sick, and your boss hands you a bunch of extra work…all in the same week. Or, you might be trying to cope with a traumatic event or a soured relationship. Regardless, life has a way of turning belly-up when you least expect it.

During such troubled times, how on earth can you find inner peace?

1. Remove yourself from the situation

Literally stepping away from the situation gone-wrong (whether it be a tense meeting, a failed dinner recipe, or a laptop with a mind of its own) can help give you space and perspective. Granted, you can’t step away from every situation immediately, but when you can, relocate to somewhere peaceful so you can clear your head. There’s nothing like a little space to give you perspective and time to think things through.

2. Let go

For the things you can’t control (and that includes many things in life), practice letting go. Your frustration over crummy weather, a traffic jam, or a client’s decision to take their business elsewhere won’t get you anywhere. Instead, learn from the situation and move on.

3. Practice gratitude

When things are going awry, it’s often useful to focus on the good things in your life. No matter how bad things get, there will always be one or two things (at the very least!) that are going well. Focus on the positive—your talents and abilities, the healthy relationships in your life, the roof over your head—and let those things carry you through the day.

4. Free write

Journaling or free writing can help you work through your problems and, perhaps, find a solution. At the very least, these activities will help you vent. Find a quiet space, grab a notebook, and go to town. The act of writing is a healthy release, and can help you work through your troubles in a constructive way.

5. Calm your mind

Let your mind release and let go of all that tension you’re carrying on your shoulders! Practice meditation (several different apps, such as Headspace or Calm can help you get started), focus on taking deep breaths, or do something a little more active, like going on a walk or practicing yoga.

6. Treat yourself

If things are really tough, make a point of treating yourself. Schedule a spa day or massage, get a new haircut, or plan a weekend getaway. Even taking yourself out for a nice meal will help. If you have the time, and a little cash to spare, you might even plan a bigger trip for yourself. Studies have found that simply planning a vacation can elevate your mood.

7. See yourself on the other side

Even though things are tough right now, things can and will get better. Picture yourself on the other side of your troubles. Imagine that future you—the one who made it past all your current hardships, and emerged wiser, stronger, and ready to step forward into a brighter world.

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A couple weeks ago, I spent 15 days in Poland, volunteering for World Youth Day. I took away many incredible lessons, including one that I wrote about last week. This week, I’d like to write about one particular take-away that can be applied to life, in general. That lesson has to do with resilience.

While I was in Poland, the weather was hot and humid. During these muggy days, the group I was with walked anywhere from 5 to 10+ miles on any given day, often in full sunlight. We walked the streets of Krakow, Zakopane, and Warsaw. We walked a 10 mile-long pilgrimage trail to see Pope Frances, and then walked back! We walked to bus stops, on country paths, to dinner…you name it!

Even though some days were physically taxing (especially the pilgrimage to see the Pope; the road was not only long, but packed with thousands of other people!), I didn’t hear a single complaint. Instead, we soldiered on and those who were feeling fine helped those who were having a hard time. I saw some people carrying multiple backpacks in order to give their fellow pilgrims a hand.

It was an astonishing example of resilience.

As I watched all the dedicated people walking down the pilgrim trail, it reminded me that, when inspired, you can do nearly anything. If something means a lot to you—whether in your personal or professional life—you will do whatever it takes to claim it or hold onto it. That’s the nature of resilience—it comes from within.

Next time you feel your resolve faltering, get inspired! Remember why what you’re doing matters. Remind yourself that you are strong and you can push through anything. And, when you do persevere, don’t forget to reward yourself!

And if you’re truly having trouble finding your motivation? That might be an indication that a major life change is in order. But, before making any drastic leaps, try finding a spark of inspiration and calling upon your inner resilience. Your mind is a powerful machine and the more you convince yourself that you CAN do something, the more likely that you’ll actually be able to do it.

March on!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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