Resilience and Triggers

Hello! And Welcome Back to Motivated Mondays!

We're talking about Resilience. 

Let’s RECAP last week before we continue.

EVERYONE NEEDS RESILIENCE or the ability to positively adapt in moments of adversity (1), because adversity is all around us. It doesn’t matter if the challenge you face is large or small. The Ordinary Magic (2) of resilience helps with everything from the frustration of a delay on your daily commute to the death of a loved. While these adversities may not seem remotely comparable and certainly have major differences, they both call on the skills of resilience. 

I say SKILLS very purposefully, because research supports that you can develop resilience (3,4)!!! And that means resilience is a key tool to cultivate personal well-being (1).

Last week, we looked at three common myths (5) about RESILIENT PEOPLE and learned — 

  1. Resilient folks can and do show emotion. The ability to demonstrate and be agile with all emotional states — both positive and negative — is essential for resilience. 
  2. Resilient folks reach out for social support. You do not need to go it alone to be resilient.
  3. Resilient folks do not necessarily operate on a ‘fast’ timeline. It’s ok feel uncertain and process your reality before you move forward.

Some people THRIVE in moments of adversity (2). Think of resilience as the soil that helps you flourish. Resilience has enormous potential to enhance your life — be it at home, at work, in our relationships with others or in our relationship with ourself. Remember, resilience is by definition adaptive (6)!

And guess what else?!? Resilience CONSERVES ENERGY (1). 

Think about that… Would you like to have a little more energy in your life? Well, as it turns out, many of us waste energy resisting REALITY. Resilience helps us bring awareness to our reality. It means we understand what we can change and what we can’t. It means we work with and not against reality. It means we are emotionally agile and positively adapt to our ever changing worlds.

Are you ready to become more resilient?

GREAT! Then join me and declare to yourself (and whoever else you like!) that you believe that you can CREATE CHANGE and want to increase your personal resilience. Go on - say out loud!

Before we can get where we want to go, we have to understand where we are.

Step One: Understand Your Triggers

We glide through life easily on days without adversity, and then adversity hits, something TRIGGERS us, and our thoughts can take off like a steam train - building speed. Everyone has ‘hot buttons’ or triggers that get pushed from time to time. These personal triggers are based on individual experience and affect what we view as adversity in the first place. In other words, a situation that is challenging for one person is not necessarily challenging for another. Perhaps you’re triggered when technology fails, a train runs late, or your partner fails to clean the dishes - again.

What triggers you?

This week, I invite you to consider - What gets your goat? I mean really gets it. Make a list, and once you’ve identified some personal triggers - take a closer look. Do you see a larger theme?

Then look at your THINKING. Chances are good that when you have a trigger moment, it sets off a ticker-tape parade of thoughts in your mind or what I like to call ‘your inner monologue’.

As it turns out, what you THINK impacts your resilience. Our ticker-tape beliefs powerfully IMPACT how we feel and what we decide to do in moments of adversity (1). So, the next time you have a trigger moment, I challenge you to stop and listen to yourself. 

What does your ticker-tape say when you are triggered? 

Just take a moment to LISTEN to your thoughts. I mean really listen. Write down what you are thinking. Who cares if your thoughts make any sense! (Mine rarely do.) Just get them down on paper. And if you are having a hard time hearing to your ticker-tape parade, don’t worry! Just try again next time. It gets easier with TIME and awareness an important first step towards resilience.

So, let’s start today and bring AWARENESS to our TRIGGERS. 

I look forward to seeing you next week as we begin to examine our beliefs a little more closely.


Special thanks for the thinking and work of the following folks!


1. Reivich, K, Shatté, A. The resilience factor: 7 keys to finding your inner strength and overcoming life's hurdles. Random House Digital, Inc; 2003.

2. Masten, AS. Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist. 2001; 56(3): 227-238.

3. Alvord, MK, Grados, JJ. Enhancing resilience in children: A proactive approach. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 2005; 36(3), 238-245.

4. Masten, AS, Cutuli, JJ, Herbers, JE, Reed, MJ. Resilience in development. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (pp. 117-131). New York: Oxford University Press; 2009. 

5. Saltzberg, J. OnSite 2 Slides. Retrieved from; 2014, February 2.

6. Luthar, SS, Cicchetti, D, Becker, B. The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child development. 2000; 71(3), 543-562.