The Power Of Journaling: Resilience

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Journaling

The last 10 weeks have been horrible. I have had shingles, which have, thankfully, almost gone. At first, it knocked me out, and I was too tired to even be frustrated; I just slept a lot.

Anyone who knows about shingles knows that it can be triggered by stress, and for me, it was this and a few things that came to bite me on the bum. I’m pretty open-minded and realise that any illness is a message to reassess. They say that the Western man’s meditation is an illness. Ho hum.

How we choose to heal and if we choose to listen to our bodies says a lot about who we are. My choice is to listen and respond in an emotionally intelligent way.

Resilience is not just about bouncing back from adversity; it’s about growing and thriving despite life’s inevitable challenges. It involves the capacity to maintain or regain psychological well-being in the face of challenge, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.

This might include serious health problems, workplace and financial stressors, or family and relationship issues. Developing resilience can provide a protective layer that helps manage life’s ups and downs, allowing a person to approach difficulties with a clearer perspective and strengthened emotional resources.

The recent experience with shingles has been a test of my resilience. As the illness knocked me out, I had to dig deep into my emotional and mental reserves to navigate through the fatigue and frustration. This period of illness forced me to reassess my stressors and prioritise my health, serving as a stark reminder of the importance of resilience.

Resilience is not just about enduring hardship but also about using these experiences as opportunities for growth and self-improvement. My journey through these ten challenging weeks has highlighted the necessity of maintaining psychological well-being amidst adversity. By choosing to listen to my body and respond with emotional intelligence, I have been able to not just recover but also strengthen my capacity to handle future stressors. Journaling always helps, but I have added some other mindful practices, too. And the yoga mat is down in my office for some stretching between working.

As always, resilience has given me the opportunity to approach this health challenge with a clearer perspective. In the spaces, the idea for The Healing Book Project came. It was like all of the parts of me came together in one neat package. That would never have happened if I hadn’t taken time for self-care.


7 Resilience Affirmations

  • I am resilient. Each challenge I face makes me stronger and more capable.
  • I rise above adversity and thrive.
  • Challenges are opportunities for growth.
  • I have the strength to overcome any obstacle.
  • Every setback is a setup for a comeback.
  • I am flexible and adapt easily to change.
  • I trust in my ability to navigate through tough times.

Exploring Resilience Affirmations

Let’s say you have chosen the affirmation – “I am resilient. Each challenge I face makes me stronger and more capable,” but it brings up a strange sensation of not being 100% true. Ask yourself why. Connect with your heart, turn it into a question, and explore it in your journal. What may come up is that an old script has emerged, and you are struggling with accepting certain aspects of your past or how they influence your ability to be resilient today.

Perhaps you chose “I rise above adversity and thrive,” and you hear yourself say, do I really feel this way? Write in your journal – how do I see adversity affecting who I am today? After exploring this, you can choose one thing you will do today to honour your resilience while allowing yourself to grow. This might be as simple as reflecting on past challenges and how you overcame them or practising a resilience-building activity like mindfulness or physical exercise.

Consider the affirmation – “Challenges are opportunities for growth.” This may guide you to explore something you have previously overlooked. Ask yourself, what challenges have I not fully acknowledged? How have they shaped me? You might be questioning, do I truly see every challenge as valuable? If not, why not? Reflect on whether you need support to explore these feelings further. If yes, seek out someone who can help you navigate these insights.

Incorporate the affirmation – “I have the strength to overcome any obstacle.” Reflect on what this means to you. How does your inner strength influence your actions and decisions today? Write about the times when you drew on your strength to navigate difficult situations and how these experiences have reinforced your resilience.

Each affirmation is your heart and soul, asking you to explore what comes up for you and find ways to change how you see or feel about this aspect of yourself. You could also discuss this with a friend, counsellor, or therapist. Asking for help when building resilience is very important.

Journaling Prompts

  • Reflect on a time when you faced a significant challenge. What insights did you gain about your personal strength during this time?
  • Describe your typical emotional response to unexpected difficulties. What coping mechanisms have been most effective for you?
  • Consider someone you regard as highly resilient. What specific qualities do they exhibit that you can emulate?
  • Identify a current situation that demands resilience from you. What strategies can you employ to manage it effectively?
  • Recall an instance where your reaction to a setback wasn’t what you hoped. What lessons did you learn from this experience?
  • What daily practices can you adopt to help develop a resilient mindset?
  • Write about overcoming a fear. Detail the steps you took and how you felt throughout the process.
  • Visualise yourself in the future, having successfully applied resilience to today’s challenges. What does your life look like?
  • Create three personal affirmations that reinforce your resilience.
  • Develop a plan of action to enhance your resilience. What are three practical steps you can take this week to start?

Writing Exercise: Strengthening Resilience Through Reflection

Spend 15 minutes writing about a specific challenge you are currently facing or have faced in the past. Focus on the emotions, thoughts, and actions involved in navigating this challenge. Pay particular attention to the ways in which you demonstrated resilience, and reflect on how this experience has contributed to your growth and personal development. Conclude by identifying one new strategy you can use to enhance your resilience in the future.

5 Tips for Developing Resilience

Cultivate a Positive Mindset

Practice gratitude by listing three things you’re thankful for each day. This habit can shift your focus from negative to positive aspects of your life, fostering a more resilient outlook. Take a look at The Gratitude Habit which shares a different way to practice gratitude. There’s 30 prompts, mandalas (for the 5 minute mindful mandala), space to mind map and journal.

Build Strong Relationships

Connect with supportive friends, family, or colleagues. Strong relationships provide emotional support, practical advice, and a sense of belonging, which are crucial during tough times.

Maintain Physical Health

Engage in regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, and ensure you get enough sleep. Physical well-being directly impacts mental resilience, giving you the energy and clarity to face challenges head-on. I had no choice but to walk my three dogs each day, but I am glad that I did. The fresh air and being in nature were wonderful.

Develop Problem-Solving Skills

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” — Confucius

Approach problems with a solution-oriented mindset. Break down challenges into manageable steps, prioritise tasks, and focus on what you can control, which can reduce feelings of overwhelm and helplessness. This is when I wrote on my whiteboard – what does success look like for [month] and put achievable things down.

Practice Self-Compassion

Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially when things go wrong. Acknowledge your efforts and achievements, forgive yourself for mistakes, and recognise that setbacks are a natural part of growth and learning. This I did. Lots of self-care and time out.

Let me know how you get on with these. Join me on Facebook.

Are you looking to get more out of your journaling and healing? The Healing Book Project is a sanctuary for women to heal their stories through my writing-to-heal process. The project will also support these women to write a book to heal and inspire others.

Let your journal be a mirror reflecting your true self, unfiltered and raw, capturing the essence of your journey through life.

Dale Darley