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Mental Resilience

Thinking about Resilience, mental resiliency, as we start the new school year and all that we have been through in the past year... What makes me, you, people resilient?

Hearing about how other people are resilient helps me, learning and having many ways for managing my stress and living my life in creative, compassionate, meaningful ways... Here are a few things I have learned and hope they may help you too 💜.

We all have and have had BIG FEELINGS and what are ways to manage them?

I am finding a need for MANY TOOLS in my Resilience toolbox :-)

Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Being resilient does not mean that people don't experience stress, emotional upheaval, and suffering. ... Resilient people tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems.

Some things we know about Mentally Resilient People:

That their dominant thoughts are positive and proactive. That their MINDSET & SELF TALK matter and make a difference in who they are and what they are becoming.

That they have a growth mindset and have dominant positive, proactive self talk or have taught themself to think this way.

There are 2 kinds of MINDSETS that Dr. Carol Dweck, Stanford Psychologist, has studied and written about in her book - Mindset

MINDSET CONCEPTS: are beliefs people have about their basic qualities, talents and personalities.

FIXED Mindset: Are stuck in their ways, they avoid pressure situations, they don't like to take on challenges, they like to stay within with what they believe are their true skills, talents and abilities.

GROWTH Mindset: Seek challenges, pursue through setbacks, seek feedback, love to learn from their experiences good or bad.

Some Basic Biology of the Brain

100 Billion Neurons in your Brain!

Growth Mindset starts in the Prefrontal Cortext and this kind of thinking turns on the reward center in the brain which releases Dopamine. The feel good chemical and makes us want to think like this and do this kind of thing and thinking again.


Fixed Mindset, also starts in the Prefrontal Cortext but this thinking part turns on the Insula, and does not turn on the reward center. Basically this kind of thinking leaves us stuck in the same place and feeling.

So, your MINDSET changes your Brain Chemistry.


Pressure is what we feel when something is important to us, when we need to perform or deliver something. We experience stress when we feel there are too many demands on us, when we feel overwhelmed and unable to respond appropriately or cope with whatever it is we're dealing with.

Pressure: We all experience life's pressures ~ experiences and events that are important to us and happen to us ...Life events happen, happening, it's out there, it is not in our control... Life Happens! :-)

And, what we tell ourself about events, experiences, life... IS in our control.

Stress: What the mind tells the body about the life event, experience, what is happening or happened or will happen... Stress is not inherently good or bad.

It is when you attach negative emotions to an event, experience, to life... that it is called STRESS.

And, what is Stressful is different for each person.

Huberman Lab on Stress:

When you attach negative emotions, feelings to an experience, events... and do this over and over again it is called Rumination.



Past Regret - Rumination/Negative - Future Anxiety

Looking at past events with regret and and why's, and what if's. Negative emotions causes a person to live in the past, and worry about the future... not able to live in the present. Going over and over with these feelings and unable to let them go.


Past Reflect - Reflection/Positive - Future Plan

Looking at something and reflecting on the past is very different from rumination.

Reflection may look like:

What can I learn from this event or experience?

What would I do the same or differently?

What did I learn from this that will help me now and can help me to plan for the future?

Makes a plan and is proactive in taking some actions that are positive for persons life.


How we talk to ourself matters! It can make a huge difference in the way we feel and does change our brain chemistry. This is something we can become aware of and change to help us.

What do you say to yourself? How do you talk to yourself?

Is your SELF TALK:




A few acronyms to help us...


An acronym for: Automatic Negative Thoughts

It is in your control to get rid of the ANTS!


And choose proactive and positive thoughts instead.


An acronym for: False Evidence Appearing Real

What we may think will happen is usually very different from what is in our head. About 90% of things we fear and that can become too BIG over time via rumination are not really true for us.

So how do we prove these FEARS wrong?

Asking questions.

Why not? vs. Wonder if?

Be Curious and Take action


Practicing this each day.

Think... Feel... and Take Positive Proactive Actions

We do this, step outside of our comfort zone, as musician in our daily practice, in playing for others, in taking auditions, in competing in competitions, in performing....
As Musicians we know about making CHOICES each day with our Practice! About creating and cultivating our Art and having Discipline, Dedication, Determination, Delight for ourself, our music, for others...


Let's live our life in ever widening circles of new and expanded zones of comfort... that give us full and resilient lives... that inspire others to live with compassion and courage too!

There are many tools, books, websites, podcasts people, HELP out there for EXPLORING this more and becoming more RESILIENT!



Making a short list everyday of 5 things I am grateful for...


Doing something for others, get our of your head and in your heart... it will makes you feel good too.


I have apps like Headspace and Waking Up and Chopra that I use.


I walk, lift weights, yoga and do HIT and new things like Qi Gong…

Mindful Breathing: Become aware of your breath... in through the nose and out through the mouth... Doing nothing but noticing for 1-5 minutes... Keep it simple... a practice you can do anytime...

Also, having a longer exhale than inhale will help to lower stress , heart rate and cortisol...

Mel Robbins: her books and podcast and quotes are about changing your daily habits and using positive proactive self talk...



I was inspired by this PBS show on Becoming Your Personal Best/ Mental Resilience a talk given my an Olympic Coach. Very clear explanations and examples!

I use a VARIETY of Books and Podcasts that are inspirational and motivational!!!

Would love to hear about your favorites and what is in your tool box too!

May your day and year be a resilient one!

` Jennifer

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