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1. Identify How You Feel Stress In Your Body

   1. Are there places in your body that feel tense or painful

   2. Are there habits that you lean into when you feel stressed

   3. Is there anything you can invest in to improve your physical health; exercise, eating healthy, better sleep?



 2. Thinking traps reflexive ways of thinking that we develop over time.  Thinking traps are errors in logic or sometimes called cognitive distortions.  In other words, the way we are looking at the world is inaccurate. Eventually, these reflexive ways of thinking become habits.  Once these ways of thinking become habits it can be very difficult to see a situation accurately.

We may not be able to control the events that happen to us but we can control our interpretation of these events. Controlling the interpretation of these events can lead to greater resiliency.

According to Karen Reivich PhD., Penn State, five examples of thinking traps are

  1. Mind Reading - With mind reading instead of asking, you think you already know what is going on inside someone else’s mind.

  2. Me -  You believe you are the sole cause of every setback and problem

  3. Them - You believe other people are the sole cause of every setback or problem

  4. Catastrophizing - You ruminate about the worst-case scenario.

  5. Helpless - You believe the negative event is going to cover all areas of your life and you have no control over it


Karen Reivich PhD., of Penn State, suggests the following exercise


Make a list of 5 counterproductive thoughts you might have in a given situation. For each counterproductive thought, use one of the strategies listed to generate a Real-time Resilience response. The sentence starters can help you to formulate the response. They are:

  • Evidence: That’s not true because…..

  • Reframe A more helpful way to see this is……

  • Plan: If x happens, I will y…….


This exercise can be valuable if done after a stressful event or even in anticipation of a stressful event. Before a stressful event, you can prepare the resiliency skill you might need and practice it.


3. Managing Anxiety with Deliberate Breathing and Mindfulness


Deliberate breathing

  1. Become aware of how you are breathing - notice if you are breathing from your lungs or belly

  2. Breathe from your belly - you want your belly to expand like a balloon, you can put your hand on your belly as you learn this.  Lots of people use a five-second count when doing this. You inhale counting 1,2,3,4,5. Exhale 1,2,3,4,5

  3. Focus on the sensation of the breath going in and out of your body for the next two minutes

  4. Take a minute and notice what changed.  Are you feeling calmer?


Mindfulness - Paying attention to what is happening in this particular moment. If you practice mindfulness regularly it can change how you engage with the world.


  1. Notice your anxiety or worry. Acknowledge it.

  2. Redirect your attention to the present moment.

  3. Take in the information that is coming from your senses, feel the ground beneath your feet, touch something. .


4. Broaden and build Positive Emotions. You want to do more than just manage negative emotions. Building positive emotion can actually change your physiology.  Positive emotions help keep you more mentally agile and help you be more creative.

Common positive emotions are love, gratitude, interest, contentment, peace, hopefulness, pride, joy, serene, amused, altruistic, and inspired.


5. Leverage Character Strengths

  1. Discover your signature strengths by taking the character strength survey at the Values In Action website

  2. Try to use at least one of these character strengths every day to help create the life you want.


When you are using a signature strength you should feel energized, that also can help you identify your signature character strength.

6. Make an inspirational Playlist

7. Retrieve a positive memory   Close your eyes, and really live that memory.  How were you did you feel?

8. Make a plan ahead of time  If you know ahead of time that a situation is going to be stressful or cause you anxiety have a strategy for how you will handle it.  Decide beforehand you will limit the amount of time you spend doing something.  This may turn a negative situation into a positive one.  Have an exit.  This may give you comfort in the situation.

9. Stop what you are doing a feel how your body is doing.  If you feel tight or tense, take a break, step outside, notice nature, put on some music, walk around.

Dog Walker at the Park
Wild Flowers
Running Athletic Women
Woman Sleeping

Resiliency Tool Kit

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