Hope For The Journey

8 Tips To Build
Resilience After

Our country has experienced so many unspeakable tragedies as of late. In May, several Americans were gunned down by a white supremacist while grocery shopping in Buffalo, and just ten days later, the lives of nineteen children and two teachers were taken in a Uvalde elementary school classroom. Understandably, we have been shaken. Men and women of color are on high alert just existing in their communities. Families are scared to send their children to school. Our nation mourns the loss of lives as well as the loss of a felt sense of safety and even a sense of hope.

While the nation surges with differing opinions on how to protect our communities, our neighborhoods, our schools, and our lives, it is important to focus on protecting our mental health. In times like these, it is easy to become overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and despair. 

While these feelings are completely normal, feelings are meant to be felt and moved through so that they can naturally resolve. When we are unable to process through our emotions, they get stuck; they become toxic and can lead to dysfunctional behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts.

What is Resilience and Why is it Important? 

Resilience is our ability to bounce back from adversity. When life hands us lemons, resilience is “making lemonade.” We face difficulties every day like illnesses, financial hardships, breakups, abuse, and terrorist attacks. Being resilient means that we have the physical, mental, and emotional toughness to cope with and work through hardships. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t affected by these hard times and that we have stress-free lives. 

To understand why resilience is important, let’s think about what would happen without it. Imagine being unable to move through life’s peaks and valleys. Without strengths and skills to pull from, you’d only be able to exist in the deepest parts of the valleys with no way out. 

In this situation, you may turn to substances, gambling, impulsive spending, or other risky behaviors to alleviate the depression, anxiety, and hopelessness you might feel. These may bring short-term relief but lead to long-term problems like addiction and debt. You would likely lose your relationships, lose your job, drop out of school, or get in trouble with the law. 

Resilience is a necessity in being human and being alive because we can’t stay stuck in the valleys. We deserve to stand on the peaks too.

How to Build Your Resilience

As our country experiences crisis after crisis, resilience is an important trait to have. It’s not a trait that we have or we don’t have; it’s like a muscle. We have to continuously build upon our resilience muscles which we do all the time as we overcome day-to-day pressures.

The factors that contribute to our resilience come from our nature and nurture, our internal strengths (coping skills, self-esteem, compassion, communication, emotional intelligence), and external strengths (support systems, community resources, relationships). However, past traumas can set us up to have a resilience shortage. Luckily, even the weakest muscles can grow stronger if we put in the work. Here are eight ways you can protect your emotional well-being, and strengthen your resilience.

Resilience After Crisis Tip #1: Adjust Your Thought


After a hate crime or a mass shooting, our thoughts can understandably become distorted by the traumatic event. A cognitive distortion is a thought that feels true and might even have some truth to it, but isn’t the whole truth or isn’t helpful. For example, after watching news coverage of yet another tragedy, it might be easy to think, “Nowhere is safe.” Though this thought is true, it’s not quite accurate, and it’s definitely not helpful.  We’ve learned from Covid that even breathing isn’t completely safe. We might inhale a microscopic droplet that contains a virus that could kill us. 

If a thought isn’t true and helpful, adjust it. “Nowhere is safe,” can shift to, “I will take necessary precautions.” Not only is the adjusted thought less alarming, but it also paves the way for action to be taken.

Resilience After Crises Tip #2: Focus On What You CAN Control


There are things in every single situation that we can control and things we can’t. The Circle of Control can help us categorize what we can control, what we can only influence, and what we have no control over.

The innermost circle is what we can control. These are things like our attitudes, mindsets, beliefs, actions, reactions, choices, words, ideas, and thoughts.

The middle circle is what we can influence but not completely control. These are things like other people’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, choices, actions, and ideas. These can also be things like policies in our workplaces or schools, our schedules, and our health.

The outermost circle is things that can certainly concern us, but that we have no control over like our past decisions, the weather, traffic, global conflicts, pandemics, the economy, and mass shootings. 

If we focus on what we can control and influence, we can take an active role in addressing those things instead of feeling helpless.

Resilience After Crises Tip #3: Turn Off the News

Did you know that the average lifespan of an emotion is only 90 seconds? Emotions will swell up and naturally resolve unless we interrupt that process and stir the emotion back up. Reading or watching the news, talking with our friends and family, and ruminating about a traumatic event serve as a restart button in our brains that fuel our emotions. Our emotions then lead to those pesky cognitive distortions. 

That is not to say that we should avoid or ignore difficult things, but trying to handle them when they are still raw and unprocessed will only exacerbate our overwhelming thoughts and feelings. 

Resilience After Crises Tip #4: Connect

When we’re stuck in our feelings after a catastrophe it’s easy to isolate and cut ourselves off from the people and things in our lives that bring us joy. Sometimes this is out of guilt; we feel like we don’t deserve happiness, or friends and families when other people have lost theirs. Sometimes distancing ourselves from loved ones feels safer than potentially losing them, but don’t do it! Remember that our relationships and communities make up some of those external protective factors that determine our resilience. Following a crisis is a great time to connect with your family and friends. Allow yourself to feel grateful that you have them. You can also seek out resources in your community like support groups or therapy services.

Resilience After Crises Tip #5: Accept Your Feelings


Hurt people hurt people,and right now, we’re all hurting. If we want less violence and hatred in the world, we have to start with our own grim feelings. While these feelings are normal and valid, our responses to them can lead to inner strength and a calm, objective mind, or they can fester. Our ability to be in tune with our emotions and meet them with curiosity and compassion instead of fear and avoidance is a way to strengthen our emotional well-being. We need to allow ourselves to acknowledge and accept our feelings, and remember that our feelings won’t last forever.

Resilience After Crises Tip #6: Self-care, Self-care, and SELF-CARE


We’ve all heard the importance of putting time and care into ourselves and our well-being, and it’s a huge factor in being resilient. Self-care doesn’t have to be regularly getting facials and massages or going on shopping sprees, (although it can be). Things like eating healthy(-ish), getting enough sleep, talking to friends, staying hydrated, laughing, practicing mindfulness, and snuggling with our pets are ways we can take care of ourselves every single day. Facing life’s challenges is so much harder when our brains and bodies are on the struggle bus so we have to take some time to think about what brings us joy and commit to doing more of those things, especially after a tragic event.

Resilience After Crises Tip #7: Be Patient With Yourself

Everyone handles crises differently and on their own timeline. There are no rules for how we respond to tough situations or how long it takes to “get over it.” If we can learn to be patient with our processes and allow ourselves the space we need to triumph over adversity, we’re on the right track to being kind to ourselves.


Resilience After Crises Tip #8: Seek Help

Building up our overall resilience might require some outside help. If you’ve directly or indirectly experienced a traumatic event and you’re noticing any of the following, there are resources available to you:


  • Thoughts of suicide or of not wanting to go on
  • Marked changes in your mood
  • Uncontrollable worry
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Disconnection
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Any other significant shift in your ability to handle your daily responsibilities

Taking Action

Unlike crises, resilience doesn’t happen overnight. There are opportunities every day to develop it. Adjusting our distorted thoughts, focusing on what we can control, turning off the news, connecting with our support systems, accepting our feelings, taking care of ourselves, being patient with ourselves, and seeking help when necessary are all ways that we can become more resilient.


Develop Your Resilience in Round Rock, TX or Austin, TX

Building your resilience and learning to overcome life’s nonsense is much easier said than done. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to support you in learning the skills to help you better cope with the issues you face. You deserve to feel hope again and prioritize yourself. To start therapy with Hope For the Journey, please follow these simple steps:

1. Contact Hope for the Journey

2. Meet with a caring therapist

3. Start receiving the support you and your teen deserve.

Other Services Offered At Hope For The Journey

Depression treatment isn’t the only service we offer. Our team is happy to offer a number of services from our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices. Mental health services include therapy for anxiety and depression, domestic violence, sexual assault, PTSD, and EMDR. Our team also provides support for family members of all ages with counseling for teens and young adults, children and tweens, couples, men, and parents/partners. Contact us today to learn more about our team and community involvement!


Covey, S. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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