Stop Doing Things That Make You More Vulnerable and Less Resilient

Are you doing things that impair your resilience? Here are some things that can reduce resilience.

  1. Don’t develop skills that enable you to sooth, calm, and comfort yourself. (Many, if not most, of our posts on this blog explain what those skills are and how to develop them.) The basic ones are very easy to learn.
  2. Don’t fail to apply your resilience skills when they are needed. (You know, “too busy”, “too tired”, “I’ll do this tomorrow”). Here are some methods that can help you to get past those excuses and really use the resilience skills that you have.
  3. Don’t underestimate the importance of other people to increasing your resilience (not to mention your health and your success!). For example, be aware of what you may lose by directing your anger and frustration toward supporters. Dumping your distress on supportive others may tempt them to give up or even direct spite at you. For your own sake, you should guide and encourage them. Let them know how they can help, and even give them pep talks.
  4. Don’t do things that increase your distress. For example, inwardly talking to yourself in ways that pump up your anger at people you see as having treated you unfairly. Or selling yourself on the idea that things that distress you make you a helpless victim, who lacks any control over her/his reactions.
  5. Don’t numb your distressed feelings with alcohol or other drugs without even trying to find ways to control your own reactions with skills instead of chemicals.
  6. Don’t allow your routine life to become chaotic without developing at least a few predictable routines. Simplifying your life makes it easier to cope with potentially distressing situations that inevitably come by.


In Contrast, Here Is How Resilient People See It and Do It.

  • I frequently take good care of, calm, and comfort myself.
  • My typical reaction to a bad situation is to think and do things that make me feel calmer and better.
  • I know some things I can do to make me feel better when I am upset, and I usually do those things when I am under stress.
  • I have many predictable routines in my life that give me comfort.
  • I know that people who try to help me through hard times need some encouragement, and I do my best to give it to them.
  • I often get to enjoy myself.
  • I have learned enough about self-calming and self-soothing to recover from challenges by the time I face the difficulties of the next day.

To use an already overused saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. If things have gotten out of control for you, you will have to take toddler steps toward shifting to a more resilient way of living. Why not work toward developing skills and routines that help make your life less stressful and more successful?

And for heaven’s sake don’t lead with your chin and do things that turn up the intensity of your stress.


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One Response to Stop Doing Things That Make You More Vulnerable and Less Resilient

  1. Christine Olmstead says:

    Well, “turning it up to eleven” may not yield the expected result.

    Saw this, thought it fit well with the things you have blogged.

    I learned about that “Chinese saying” they mention when I studied Karate, with a primer on the basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s more nuanced than the linked article make it sound. I learned the concept as the phrase, “Too much yin is yang.” In the context I learned it the suggestion was more like “moderation in all things.” The idea my teachers conveyed was indeed that extremes yield unexpected results, our systems are not linear. The saying as I learned it does convey the idea that you can “tip something completely over” and back around to a beginning, but that’s because there’s an understanding that everything in the body system is a sort of loop.

    I read this article and feel concern for the average reader to oversimplify the finding. I can just see the potential for ordinary folks to rush to a (still-linear) model of: “Oh! That means ‘If some’s good, more’s better!’ ” The idea begs misdirection, and a small voice inside me rushes to say “Wait, no, it’s not LIKE that!”