Building resilience is an ongoing process that takes practice, but the rewards of building your mental agility and resilience are lifelong. Resilience can improve the quality of life for you and your loved ones, helping you to grow and thrive. To get started on this journey of resilience, try some of the lifehacks below and make resilience practice a daily habit.
1. How many breaths do you take a day? A ton. The next time you’re fired up about something, just pause, and focus on your next breath.
2. On a 1-5 scale, rate how connected you feel to other people. If it is anything less than a 5, ask yourself what is one thing you can do to improve that connection. How about calling them right now?
3. Next time you say you’re angry, try to decipher if you actually feel angry or if you’re annoyed, resentful, frustrated, ashamed, feeling disrespected, or something else entirely.
4. Men cry an average of 1.9 times per month, and women 3.5. Tears release feel-good chemicals that relieve emotional and physical pain, and help you connect with others. It’s biology. So have a good cry (we suggest watching Old Yeller).
5. Recent setback at work? Embrace failure. A setback doesn’t have to mean the end of your career. Use the experience to come back stronger. What will you do differently next time?
6. Everything going well in your relationship? Great, keep it that way: reach out to a couple’s counselor and schedule one session.
7. Screwed something up today? Find someone who can help you fix it.
8. The effects of your most recent mistakes are temporary. Ask yourself, in five years how important will this one mistake be?
9. Do you have a problem you’ve been ignoring? Identify 2-3 things you can do to improve it.
10. Identify something you’re already good at, but want to take to the next level. Now make a clear detailed plan of how you will achieve that goal.
11. When you say you feel like S#&%, what does that really mean? Identify the source of your emotion to solve the problem.
a. Does it mean you are physically hurting?
b. Does it mean you are exhausted?
c. Does it mean you are sad?
d. Other/something else?
12. Ask yourself, when is the last time you had fun without alcohol? What were you doing? Go out and do that activity again.
13. Did you know excessive alcohol consumption lowers your testosterone? Replace one alcoholic drink today with a glass of water.
14. Leaking money fast? Track everything you spent money on this week to get an idea of where your money goes. Then, make a plan to cut back on one expense.
15. Did you know Gen. George S. Patton kept a journal? Today, write down what you are thinking and feeling. Writing it down gets it out of your head, distances you from the thought and helps you make sense of it.
16. Did you see something wrong in your unit, but kept quiet, and now it’s bothering you? Speak to your leadership about it today.
17. Why not you? Free yourself from confidence-eroding thoughts. If there is something you aren’t sure you can do, but wish you could, take a concrete step today to actually do it.
18. Recent break up? Think you’ll always be alone? Challenge that thought by saying, “I’m alone right now, but that won’t always be the case. Someone new will come along.”
19. Think you got a situation all figured out? Maybe you do, but you can’t know for sure. Today suspend your judgement on an issue and seek someone else’s input.
20. What is an aspect of someone else’s culture that you are not familiar with? Search for a video on YouTube that explains it. Watch the video.
21. The next time you assume something negative about somebody’s motive or intent, think of a positive motive that could justify that person’s behavior. Come up with a real example.
22. What’s one thing you don’t know much about? Ask for information from somebody who knows about it.
23. Do you see one of your Soldiers struggling? Offer to take them to get help, and stay by their side through the process.
24. Have one conversation today where you don’t think about what you will say next, but just listen to understand the other person’s point of view.
25. Plan an activity to bond with your team that doesn’t involve drinking.
26. What is a good man? Identify one characteristic of a good man you admire, and write that characteristic on a Post-It note. Put the note somewhere you will see it often and try to live it out daily.
27. Today call up someone you know and volunteer to help them out with a job, task, errand, etc.
28. If you’re not happy about having to do a task at work today, remind yourself of how that task is part of the bigger picture and why it matters.
29. Is your spouse or significant other feeling unhappy? It might be because you’re not communicating in their love language. Ask questions and find out what makes them feel loved. Ask yourself if you know your own love language.
30. Ask one of your kids three questions about their interests to get to know them better.
31. Angry? Pause, take a deep breath and ask yourself if your anger’s about to make you do or say something that’ll cause more trouble for you in the end. Thinking about the consequences is a strategy you can use to help you decide it’s just not worth it.
32. Sometimes feelings of shame can overwhelm us. Find someone you can trust and share your story. Let them know you don’t want them to fix your situation or change your emotion, just be with you in it.
33. It’s hard to accept feelings of humiliation, worthlessness or sadness. Today, practice mindful acceptance as an alternative to letting the emotion take you wherever it wants. Recognize each thought that’s causing that emotion, accept it, and let it go as you redirect your attention to your next breath.
34. Did your Soldier mess up? Are you ready to lash out? Ask yourself if what you’re about to do/say is in line with who you really want to be, and what you believe. Then consider offering your Soldier specific feedback they can use to change the ineffective behavior.
35. Feeling Angry? Ask yourself if you’re jumping to some conclusion that’s causing you to be aggressive without knowing the full story (e.g., I’m certain Joe did what he did because he has no respect for anyone else, when he actually did it because he’s got a newborn at home and he’s sleep-deprived).
36. Next time you’re feeling lonely, shift the focus away from you and onto someone in need. Find a person you can volunteer to help (with anything) and you’ll feel more connected (and less isolated) as a result.
37. Feeling isolated can contribute to depression. Find or create an opportunity to get out and spend time with others, regardless of whether you’re feeling lonely or not.
38. Impatient? Take a breath and tell yourself that this moment/feeling is in your life to provide you the opportunity to practice patience.
39. We tend to feel anxious because we’re worrying about things we can’t do anything about. Ask yourself what you CAN control in your current situation and focus on what you can do to change it for the better.
40. If you feel disrespected at work, remind yourself of who you are at your best (e.g., “I make a point of being kind to strangers”) as a strategy to get past the incident, and reestablish or maintain confidence in yourself.
41. Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or tired? Schedule and do something that refills your tank in the next week (e.g., hunting, riding your motorcycle, painting, taking pictures).
42. In the military, it can feel like you have no time to focus on staying healthy. Remember, everyone has the same amount of time in a day. Do an inventory of your time to figure out what you’re prioritizing that isn’t as important as your wellness (e.g., watching TV or watching videos on YouTube).
43. No time to exercise? Take a few seconds to visualize the person you’ll be in 10 years. Ask yourself what that person would want you to do now: stay on the couch binge-watching Netflix or get up and do something that’s good for you?
44. Insomnia not letting you sleep? Incorporate Deliberate Breathing as part of a pre-bed routine.
45. Strengthen your Family bond and get ripped by going to the gym together with your kids. Most gyms allow children on the floor with parental supervision.
46. Put the porn down. Why not FaceTime with your spouse instead?
47. Recent fight with your loved one? Try talking again, and show support by genuinely trying to understand their point of view.
48. Build connection with your loved one today by staying alert and responding to their bid for attention. Maybe they texted you an article, made a joke, or tagged you on Facebook? Stop what you are doing right now and comment or ask a question.
49. Repressing your emotions means you’ll be more likely to become easily agitated and irate. Why not talk about your feelings before they turn to anger?
50. To strengthen your relationship, try building friendship with your loved one by doing a fun activity together. Ask them for input on what activity to do.