We learn as we grow, mature and adapt. When we are being our best selves, we develop and adhere to healthy patterns for coping with inevitable life challenges. If we develop the ability to handle barriers, setbacks, complications, and problems, ANYTHING becomes possible!

As much as we try to avoid falling, being hurt, failing, rejection …… all the negative aspects of being human, we are less likely to learn we CAN cope if we never struggle through impediments to a desired outcome. If we learn to give up, blame others, create unhealthy dependence on others, on substances, etc. then life becomes small or untenable.

RESILIENCE is needed when faced with obstacles. Learning healthy coping strategies are useful, but we also really need to acquire a mental strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other to boost our endurance, pliability and sturdy toughness. To truly gain this I-CAN stance, significant effort is required. Strength is built from the inside out, and not from external demands.

Here are a few tactics you might consider when trying to boost your mental strength, resilience and positive coping strategies.

1. Reach back in your mind and recall the multiple of times you have endured hardship. How did you cope? What were your ‘go to’ behaviors? Write them down under columns labeled constructive or destructive.

2. Consider your emotional and logical responses to stressful or even slightly challenging situations (from fatigue to betrayal, hunger to job loss). Again, place them in the appropriate column marked emotional or logical.

3. Take note and ask yourself about the trends among these responses, then take courage to hear the answer.

4. Live your life and behave within your values and ethics. To do so, you must first define them. Again, please take time to put pen to paper. I may be using different words for these concepts, but you know what they are!

5. Define your fears. Are they holding you back? If so, create a plan to tolerate or push past them. CHANGE is a constant in life —— choose the direction of yours. Picture in your mind the rewards and joys you will attain once you reach your goals.

6. Listen to the messages from your body. We cannot think our way through strong emotion. Our bodies cue us to heightened emotion, and we do not make good decisions when in an adrenal fight or flight state. Once you are aware of your body signals, it will become possible to use them to your advantage.

7. Accept yourself. We are all evolving which means we are all imperfect. Acknowledge that a full range of emotions sits inside us. We can be strong and also weak, happy and sad, organized and chaotic. When we fight or ignore those we find uncomfortable, they are heightened. Acknowledge, accept and adapt. You will discover your strength to tolerate ALL emotions.

8. Be an active learner. Grow your interests, give them your best energy or find new ones. This creates your best path forward.

9. Mental strength and resilience are diminished when you do not: sleep and eat well

work out to a sweat

connect positively to those you love

stimulate your mind

do what brings meaning to you

10. Gently acknowledge when you spend too much time looking forward or yearning backwards. Try to be RIGHT HERE / RIGHT NOW<——-It’s a lovely place to find yourself. Show kindness with deliberate, daily acts to yourself and to every person you meet, and you will not have to search for happiness. It will flow easily.

And finally, enhance each aspect of the five pillars of wellness in your life: PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, RELATIONAL INTELLECTUAL AND SPIRITUAL.