How to build the mindset muscle-Resilience when you are overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or have lost belief in yourself.

How Does One Build The Mindset Muscle-Resilience?

As I reflect upon my childhood, I remember having to do so many things without the support of my parents. 

If I wanted or needed to do it, I just had to figure a way to do it, without relying on them.

That is not to say that they were not good parents but times were different then.  

These days, parents are constantly running their children from one activity to another, and kids get chauffeured to school, with few exceptions who walk or catch the bus.

 In fact, there are Walk to School programs to encourage children to walk to school.  How many people worry about rain in case they get a little bet wet? 

 I do realise that it is a different world today and, with distances being covered and safety issues, parents want to make sure their children get to school safely. 

The point is not really about walking in the rain or the heat- it is about persevering and pushing through things, without making excuses or giving up.

My memories:

Walking to school through two suburbs in the fierce heat or the pounding rain as a young child.

Walking to the church by myself on Saturday morning- again through 2 suburbs-so I could get to the 7 am confessional.

Catching a bus in the morning to the pools in summer, making sure I had some food and drink for the day, and often having to walk an hour home in the blistering heat because the bus driver didn’t feel like making the stop! (starting from 8 years old)

Having to do my own homework and reading activities as parents, in those days, were not expected to help.

Working in my dad’s shops at an early age, during busy periods.

Preparing for exams but still having to honour all other family and personal expectations. 

Having a part-time job at 14, and having to walk half an hour in the dark on wintery
Saturday mornings to catch a train to where I worked. 

Walking to my basketball matches on Saturday afternoons, at 9 to 11 years of age, then home again, by myself.

   When I saw a difficult educational task that an older student was doing, I would say to myself “That’s okay- I will be older and then I will understand.”

Being the interpreter for my parents and one of my aunties and uncles from a young age.

Having an asthmatic baby and having sleepless nights, then going to work.

Working full time and taking my four children to their after school activities, doing school work most nights after they went to bed, and then sewing their costumes until 3 am before concerts and then work again in the morning.

    Most people have daily challenges and busy periods that come in waves throughout the year.

The reason I mentioned the above is that I realise that I have learnt to push myself to achieve my goal. 

Sometimes I felt as if my bones were exhausted but I learnt to take each day at a time.

So those experiences are very personal to me and shaped the person I am.  

It has helped me through a very challenging time when I found out what it was like to want to give up and  I experienced an extreme low, which was out of character for me.

Somehow, I got through it as, even though I found it difficult, I still turned up for work and asked for help in the right channels, to build my resilience again. 

Resilience is the factor which helped me on my journey. 

Strategies to build resilience


What has helped me during my studies and working online is to break a task into small, manageable steps and focus on only one step at a time. 

This also helps you to prioritise what needs to be done, and in what order.

So it actually clarifies the task mentally for you, which in turn makes you understand what you are doing and gives you momentum.


I read that the saddest things in life is to feel that no one cares about you and not be able to share meaningful experiences with those who have the same values.

 A handful of caring people who listen to you can be the difference between a person giving up or deciding to push through a very difficult time.

These are the people you let into what is happening in your life. They teach you the difference between positive support and negative judgement. 

It can be surprising where that support comes from! 



You can choose your reactions to any situation and, if you stay connected to your meaningful communities, you will find that different people have different reactions to the same situations.

When I was concerned about a family member's perceptions and behaviour, I visited a trusted doctor to discuss what I was seeing and hearing.

It was valuable as he verified what I had been thinking: that the person had an undiagnosed social disorder. 

Then, you need to be pro-active and protect yourself as sometimes you can trust family values and compassion but not everyone thinks like you do. 

Don't disregard your gut feeling and professional advice! 

Remove yourself from situations where one can manipulate situations and bring you down. 

Look for ways to change negative situations into positive situations. 

The challenges in front of us can teach us to improve ourselves, if we choose to learn from the experience.

On a personal note, my life changed drastically a couple of years ago, when the workplace I had spent my life working at, got rid of all senior personnel who were well respected in their profession.

They had a need to cut costs because of a variety of decisions they had made throughout the years as they had not made necessary changes earlier. 

They were then forced into making financial decisions that hurt of a lot of loyal, highly experienced staff.

It was a blow but it taught me so much.

 I do not think I would have learnt how to build websites, learn internet marketing, blog and make friends from all over the world, if the changes to my career had not happened. 

And my teaching career has flourished!



I have worked in the Autism area for many years and we had to actively teach our students strategies for emotional control so they could cope better with their world, which could often be distressing or confronting for them. 

 Under the guidance of the Occupational Therapists, each student had a calming strategy suited to their level of functioning.

Lack of emotional control affects our body’s functioning in a negative way, as well as impacting on those around us. 

Yoga can help us to focus on our breathing and take the focus of whatever is upsetting us. 

The focus on our breathing will control those hormones which build up with anxiety and damage our body.

  A simple technique with the children I taught, was to breathe in and then out to the count of five. 

We also taught them to recognise their symptoms so they could use the technique independently, such as an awareness of their heart racing, flushed face, etc. 

This is a simplistic account of the more in-depth strategy we employed with children. 

For adults, if you don’t do Yoga, you can do a breathing exercise by choosing a number e.g. 3, then breathe in to the count of 3 seconds, then out for the same time and repeat for 3 minutes. 

You can increase the number you wish to count to. 

This is a method also taught to those in dangerous situations eg.those in combat, such as SEALS, so don't dismiss its effectiveness. 

You may be interested in this post What are the symptoms of unwellness , especially the Self-Care section.  


When I was involved in Party Plan, as a part-time income, we were taught to put pictures on our fridge of goals we wanted to attain. 

Most people would put up pictures of holidays, cars, houses and other items they wished to buy. So the focus was always monetary based.

However, I use this strategy now and I use it in two ways.

 Firstly, I imagine what success looks like to me and, secondly, I think about the consequences of failure. 

Both these imaginings keep me on track with my goals. 

I may feel dispirited on a particular day but I never give up as I have a great imagination and just could not bear the consequences of failure!

Through webinars, I learnt to have a long term goal and use this as a starting point.

 For example, if you have a financial goal for the year, you then use the first strategy mentioned above to break it down into smaller, achievable steps. 

You break that yearly goal down to a monthly and weekly goal and, from there, you can work out how many customers and sales you need to attain your yearly goal.

You can apply the visualisation strategies to other areas of your life e.g. to keep you on track with your studies, a blog, or program to become a successful sports player. 

  It is also important to use this strategy of visualisation often – so daydream often!!!!


There has been a great emphasis on showing gratitude on Social Media this past year. 

Lots of great posts are appearing which talk about being grateful for things, such as being alive, having a roof over your head, someone who cares for you, daily food etc. 

 My post  Does gratitude contribute to wellness? goes more into depth on this topic.

Sometimes, it is hard to be positive when you have had something happen during your day which upsets you. 

It can override all the positive things that may have happened throughout your day as it has an intensity to it which overrides all else.  

To develop a more positive mindset and feel better, it helps to get into the habit of reflecting upon your day and thinking of at least 3 things that made you feel better. 

It can be as simple as someone sharing a joke with you, or a stranger smiling and saying ‘hello’. 

 Some people are advocating the use of a Gratitude Diary to get into the habit of thinking about the positive things that happened each day, rather than focusing on one negative thing and letting the bad reflections build up during the week.  

If  you want to test your resilience, take this quiz

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  1. Fantastic post! It's so important to be resilient and these are wonderful tips. :) Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thanks Malissa- I am now old enough to use reflection upon my past to understand life.

  3. Resilient is a word I'd use to describe myself, great post!



How Does One Build The Mindset Muscle-Resilience? As I reflect upon my childhood, I remember having to do so many things withou...

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