Resilience Articles & Speeches

“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo. Far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”

Psychology Articles on Resilience

After a two year hiatus, I am excited to share that I have returned to writing the PSYCH DRIVE column for The Drive Magazine.

Topics include mental health, motivation, wellness, stress, resilience, and positive psychology.

You can read my latest PSYCH DRIVE article below.

3 Ways to Bounce Forward

The Drive Magazine, Issue 137, Fall 2021

READ SEPT 2021 PSYCH DRIVE ARTICLE
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READ ALL PSYCH DRIVE ARTICLES TO DATE
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Psychology Talks on Resilience

In addition to writing for The Drive Magazine, I also offer virtual and in person keynotes and workshops on stress, resilience, and mental health.

A sampling of these psychology talks are shown below.

Resilience is the ability to use personal strengths and support systems to cope with pressure and difficulty.

Psychological life skills that can be learned and improved upon daily.

THRIVING UNDER PRESSURE TEDx Talk
Click Here

Choice and transformation go hand in hand.

“Empowerment is realizing you have a choice.”

My mission in life is to encourage people to own their choices – no matter how big or how small. In doing so, individuals will uncover the magnificent power that lives within them.

Embracing the power to choose one’s emotions, thoughts, and reactions to life’s circumstances is the key which unlocks personal freedom and empowerment.

Video ⇒ The Psychology of Change

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POWER OF CHOICE

Becoming aware of choice points, big and small, is the beginning of the path to transformation.

Choosing a path uniquely suited to you – is your way out of disenchantment and your way into a life of purpose, passion, and peace.

CHOOSE THE CHANGE

  1. Are you ready to claim your life as it is right now?
  2. Are you ready to let go of the past and live in the present?
  3. Are you ready to take back your power and the reins of your life?
  4. Are you ready to fully witness your life as it unfolds directly before you?
  5. Are you ready to choose the change in your life, instead of it choosing you?

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The choice is yours.

Coaching & Speaking Services
⇒ Click Here

Trust in the Divine Timing Of Your Life

FEAR MAKES BAD DECISIONS was the “hot topic” during coffee talk today.

Hot enough to write today’s blog post.

Blog discussions are the next best thing to sharing a cup of coffee after all.

I hope this message speaks directly to your heart.

And reminds you that the still small voice within you always knows what to do.

The key is to get quiet enough to listen.

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

When it comes to decision-making we might not be able to change the PRESSURE from the OUTSIDE.

But we can always change it from the INSIDE.

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How?

Take your time.

Do not be pressured. Do not be rushed.

Take your own sweet time. Literally.

Slow down.

Each decision, each choice, is yours to make.

Big and small equally.

Take a breath.

Take a 48 hour pause.

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Decisions made from fear often falter.

Decisions made from love prosper.

Trust and Believe.

Trust that no matter what happens.

Today. Tomorrow. Two years from now.

Believe that what is meant to be will be.

Trust in the Divine Timing Of Your Life

See the light in others and treat them as if that’s all you see.

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Your strengths light my way. ✨

The field of positive psychology has been a blessing for me, both personally and professionally.

By focusing on strengths first, I buffer myself against the  vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue often associated with the practice of psychology. And in turn, my positive approach heightens the resilience and stress hardiness in others. (Boomerang effect!)

Everywhere I go, I’m on the lookout for genius. And I don’t mean genius in the general sense. I mean strengths, assets, gifts, capabilities, multiple intelligences that are unique to each person. (Einstein’s quote below captures it perfectly.)

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For not only is strengths finding essential for illuminating the abundance in others, it is essential for harnessing the bounty in ourselves.

As each time we witness the light shining brightly in another, we see their radiance reflected back in ourselves.

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Reflection Questions

Identify 2-5 strengths that you witnessed in others today. Describe how seeing the strengths in others brought out the strengths in you.

  1. Today I discovered my brother’s ___________.  This illuminated my:
  2. Today I noticed my colleague’s  ____________.  This bolstered my:
  3. Today I uncovered my neighbour’s  __________.  This reinforced my:

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Related Post: Positive Psychology on Campus.

If you need help with finding the good in others especially the challenging people in your life click on this this link to a great article in Psychology Today.

Lay down your burdens.

No more futile tests.

No more unrelenting trials.

No more self inflicted tribulations.

Lay down your burdens.

Let. Them. Go.

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Take a breath. Take a rest.

You have strengthened from your burdens.

You have overcome great obstacles.

You have developed. You have grown.

You have earned your freedom ten times over.

Trust your wisdom. Trust your wings.

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 This is your time to fly.

Who are you?

Self-awareness is the starting point for personal success. Until you know who you are, how will you know what truly motivates you?

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Reawaken your passion for life by reflecting on “Who you are“.

  • How would you describe yourself in one word?
  • What are 3 of your strengths?
  • What are 3 of your challenges?
  • When do you feel most alive?
  • What is your favourite movie? Book?
  • What is your dream job?
  • What is your dream place to live?
  • If you could have 5 minutes alone with anyone (dead or alive) who would that be? What would you ask them?
  • Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors?
  • What is (was) your favourite subject in school?
  • If you could own any car, what would it be?
  • What character trait is most important to you?
  • What makes your heart sing?
  • Do you prefer spending time alone or with people?
  • What is your favourite ice cream?
  • Are you a morning or a night person?
  • What is your favourite song? Band?
  • Finally… How do you define yourself at the very core of your existence?

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FEAR: Face Everything And Rise

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FEAR ->Forget Everything And Run.

Each time we feel threatened (threat is the fundamental definition of stress) our first instinct is to “fight or flight“. PUFF UP or Shrink.

This perpetual “fight or flight” response loop eventually creates a host of secondary problems, above and beyond, the original stressor (or oppressor).

It does not matter how we attempt to “control” a stressful situation – physically, verbally, or by running away from it.

Eventually, a repetitivefight or flight” response cycle will take a significant physical and psychological toll.

IS THERE A BETTER WAY ?

FEAR ->Face Everything And Rise.

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Strengths First. 

The acronym Face Everything And Rise reminds us that the many strengths within us will always be greater than the perceived threats (stress) outside of us.

The key is to first discover and then embrace, each and every one of our divine gifts. Within us. And all around us.

Stand Your Sacred Ground.

The mantra Stand Your Sacred Ground inspires us to stand still, take a deep breath, and trust that being yourself is enough.

Simply holding your own ground is enough.

No fight. No flight. No Fear. Only love.

Curing the disease to please. One no at a time.

“You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.”

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The Beauty of NO.

When you learn to say no to something you no longer want to do, to people you no longer want to spend time with, to projects you no longer have time for, your world does not get smaller.

Your World Gets BIGGER.

Each time you have the strength to say no to takers who drain your time, your energy, your resources, your patience – you create more space for each authentic, heartfelt, luminescent, unconditional, absolute YES!

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More Room for YES.

Each time you have the courage to say no to people pleasing – you create more time (for the people, projects, and places that truly matter), more truth (about who you really are, and what you really want to do), more opportunities (to make a meaningful difference in this world), more freedom (to follow your dreams, your destiny, your calling), and ultimately, more genuine happiness to share with this great big, beautiful world.

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This is your world. This is your life. This is your time to shine!

Your strengths light my way.

“See the light in others and treat them as if that’s all you see.”

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The field of positive psychology has been a blessing for me, both personally and professionally.

By focusing on strengths first, I buffer myself against the  vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue often associated with the practice of psychology. And in turn, my positive approach heightens the resilience and stress hardiness in others. (Boomerang effect!)

Everywhere I go, I’m on the lookout for genius. And I don’t mean genius in the general sense. I mean strengths, assets, gifts, capabilities, multiple intelligences that are unique to each person. (Einstein’s quote below captures it perfectly.)

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For not only is strengths finding essential for illuminating the abundance in others, it is essential for harnessing the bounty in ourselves.

As each time we witness the light shining brightly in another, we see their radiance reflected back in ourselves.

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Reflection Questions

Identify 2-5 strengths that you witnessed in others today. Describe how seeing the strengths in others brought out the strengths in you.

  1. Today I discovered my sister’s ___________.  This illuminated my:
  2. Today I noticed my manager’s  ____________.  This bolstered my:
  3. Today I uncovered my student’s  __________.  This reinforced my:

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Related Post: Positive Psychology on Campus.

If you need help with finding the good in others especially the challenging people in your life click on this this link to a great article in Psychology Today.

Blaming keeps us stuck.

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When something goes wrong, how do you respond?

Externalize the problem and blame someone else for it.

OR

Take responsibility for the problem and search for a solution.

It is only when we acknowledge our contribution to life circumstances that we have the power to change for the better.

Click here to learn more about Locus of Control.

Failure is the opportunity to begin again.

Ask someone how they feel about failure in the midst of it; life as they know it is over. 

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Ask someone how they feel about failure one year later; life as they know it has been transformed. 🦋 

5 Ways to Feel Strong in the Midst of Failure:

  1. Take a long deep breath. Be still. Don’t Rush.
  2. Find a safe place to challenge your fears & beliefs.
  3. Rest. Take a long walk. Eat a nourishing meal.
  4. Learn something new. Have Fun! Self-Discover.
  5. Imagine. Envision. Explore & Begin Again!

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Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

The healing power of imagination.

What images give you a sense of safety and protection in the midst of fearful thoughts?

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 I imagine angels in the sky and lions at my feet. You: What images shift you from fear to safety?

Related Research ⇒ The Effects of Guided Imagery on Anxiety

I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.

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Strength is hard won. No one can buy it for you. Give it to you. Leave it for you in their will. Strength is built from challenge, from difficulty, from overcoming.

When you deprive someone of life’s ordinary trials and tribulations by rescuing them each time they fall, you deprive them of their strength, their resilience, their ability to save themselves.

The next time you’re tempted to save someone from hardship (out of guilt or for any other reason), let this moment be your wake up call.

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You are not a bad person for keeping your distance when someone suffers through heartaches, school difficulties, job challenges, financial woes.

Quite the opposite. When you hold yourself back from rescuing people from life’s normal ups and downs, you allow them the opportunity to build strength. Something that can never be taken away.

Strength is my armour.

Hard won. Forever mine.

Today, I am thankful for every hardship, for every challenge, for every hard fought battle. Why? For they have chiseled in me, an inner strength that rises up – every single time I meet a new difficulty.

In this video I share how the compassion fatigue I experienced early in my career led to my current work in positive psychology, stress resilience, and thriving under pressure (topic of my TEDx Talk).

Your Turn

Which challenges created your greatest strengths?

Which difficulties paved the way for unexpected opportunities?

What’s your why?

Shifting from Extrinsic to Intrinsic Motivation

We live in a world that rewards frivolous behaviour with fame and fortune, so it is no wonder that some students expect their motivation to come from the outside, in the same way that reality show contestants expect to win a million dollars, simply by “showing up”.

How can we change this? What impact can we have on millennial, tech savvy students expecting instant gratification in our classrooms?

We start by reminding students (and ourselves) that motivation begins on the inside. We show students why external motivators will never sustain them. The overjustification effect is just one example of this fact.

Better yet, we tap into students’ own life experiences to ignite long-term commitment and motivation. Students often forget the feelings of joy and anticipation they felt when they first opened their acceptance letters to school.

In the midst of going to class, applying for OSAP, juggling family, work, and school demands, and paying bills, students often forget why they applied to their programs in the first place.

There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why. William Barclay

Sometimes, igniting motivation is as simple as asking students “Why?” they are at college in the first place. Why?” exercises help students get to the heart of what motivates them, guides them, keeps them going. From early morning classes to late night study sessions to unexpected academic costs to making it through final exams.

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 How I incorporate “Why?” exercises into lectures:

  1. I ask students to relax, sit back, close their eyes, and take a deep breath.
  2. Next, I ask them to visualize the day they applied to college and ultimately received their acceptance letters.
  3. Finally, students are asked “Why?” they wanted to go to college in the first place – what’s their ultimate mission and motivation for getting a diploma in their chosen field.

Student answers to this simple, yet complex question of “Why?” is so varied, so unique to each student. Yet, each answer is united by the same ideal, the same belief: Hope

Students are searching for something better, to change for the better, to make the world better. They want to save lives as nurses, to design hybrid cars as engineering technologists, to help children who are abused as child & youth care workers, to inspire their own children by being college educated, to be independent and self-sufficient, to do what they love, and most of all, students yearn to make a difference in this world.

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Sustaining Motivation and Commitment

Once written down, I encourage students to carry their answers (in one word, if possible) in their wallets, post them on the bathroom mirror, on their phones, in their cars, and look to their “Why?” every time they need inspiration.

Their answers remind them “Why?” they choose to study for midterms, “Why?” they choose to write research papers, “Why?” they choose to attend class rather than do something that brings instant gratification.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. Nietzsche

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I believe so strongly in using “Why?” exercises that I incorporated them into my psychology textbook.

Intrinsic motivation can be taught in so many ways. During “Why?” Exercises, students teach me. They teach me that hope is enough to sustain us through the hard times. Hope is enough to push us through life’s challenges. And the most important lesson of all is that hope mixed with drive, self-determination, and hard work changes lives for the better.

Students are my reason why.

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“Why?” do you do what you do?

Happiness in One Word

 

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At the beginning of my Is Happiness a Choice? presentation I ask the audience to write down the one word that best describes what has brought them the most happiness in the past 12 months.

How would you answer this question?

In one word, what best describes the people, places, or things, that have brought you the most happiness in the past 12 months? Big or small.

What makes life worth living?

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I’m pictured here with St. Clair College graduates Olivia Bauer and Sarah Ryrie.

My One Word = Students.

The one thing that brings me the most joy, meaning, and contentment is the opportunity to work with Canada’s future, our students. It’s the one place that I believe I’m making the most difference in this world.

Wake Up Call.

Every time I get a little down, frustrated, and/or disappointed (basically anytime I’m feeling powerless or stuck) by the circumstances of life (we all have ups and downs, positive psychologists included), I bring myself back to the “One Word” that best describes how blessed I am to be alive.

And some days my one word = Chocolate

May the one word you write down be a beautiful reminder of all the light that shines in your life, even on the darkest of days. And please don’t forget to share your one word for happiness. Your one word may be someone else’s wake up call to joy. ⏰✨

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