There is much you can do to gain or strengthen your resilience. Here at Forge, we’d like to help you with that. The following exercises will help you on your journey to resilience.


Mindfulness Practice

Taking time during your day to ground yourself and be fully present with the moment is a great strategy to calm your mind. Take five minutes to do this exercise. It can be done indoors or outdoors.

• Take the time to take in your surroundings
• Name what you see
• Notice the sounds, smells and colours around you.
• Focus on an object nearby and take the time to look at it and describe it to yourself (shape, size, colour, texture etc)

Become grounded in the present by noticing your body. Being aware of your body will anchor you in the Now.

• Start by feeling your feet on the ground. Make sure you have equal weight on both feet.
• Scan your body from head to toe. Notice the temperature of your body
• With your two hands gently tap your head, shoulders, torso, stomach, back, legs, and your feet.
• Imagine a soothing energy traveling up and down your body
• Take deep breaths and stretch by reaching to the sky

While your mind has the ability to create all sorts of thoughts, it does not mean you should believe them. Our mind is rich with ideas and stories about the events and people in our life. By becoming aware of the quality of our thoughts, we can change our emotional reactions to events and people.

• Notice your thoughts
• Name all the feelings these thoughts are evoking
• Name the feelings that are under those feelings
• Experiment with telling yourself that your thoughts are just thoughts and not necessarily the truth
• What other perspective is there to this situation?
• If you were to tell the same story with compassion for the other person involved, how does that transform the story?
• Start watching your thoughts as if they were images on a TV screen. Once they have occurred, let them go

This exercise is particularly helpful for those who have had little experience with reaching their goals or who put others ahead of themselves.

• Identify and write down what you want.
• if your mind focuses on what you don’t want, write it down on a separate piece of paper, and then ask yourself, if I don’t want X, what do I want instead. Take the time to listen to yourself. Be open to your desires without judgement.
• Keep writing about what you want.
• Allow the picture to become clearer by writing about what you want in details.
• Once you have developed a clear picture of what you want, identify one step that is achievable that you are willing to take toward getting what you want.
• Once you have completed this action, identify the next small step
• Every day return to your vision and identify the next step to take

Once upon a time, a friend told me that if I noticed strengths in others, it was likely because I had that strength myself.

• Make a list of all your favorite people (friends, relatives, mentors, public figures etc)
• List their strengths and attributes (ex. Courage, loyalty, generosity, etc)
• Write down examples of when you acted from those strengths and attributes yourself
• Choose one strength a day to act from

Practicing gratitude is a wonderful strategy to live in abundance and positivity.

• Keep a gratitude journal
• On a daily basis, identify 5 things you are grateful for
• Write about how each item contributes to your wellbeing
• Identify things that bring predictability to your day ( a sun rise, a routine, etc)
• On a tough day, go back and read about your past gratitude. Use them to ground yourself

Whatever is happening in your life, it is yours to manage. Learning to take responsibility for our life is a great way to feel empowered. While you may not like the current situation you are facing, you are likely able to influence the outcome.

• Identify the challenge at hand
• Take responsibility for your role in creating this situation
• Identify what is out of your control, let it go
• Identify all that is in your control and make a list of action to positively impact the situation
• Take an action daily to move the situation in the desire direction

Assessing Feelings

Most of us are not very skilled at identifying our feelings. We usually stopped at sad, angry or fearful. Learning to discern the nuances between different feelings will assist you to start creating more effective coping strategies.

• Go through this feeling list on a daily basis
• Note which feelings are predominant
• Identify a strategy to shift to a more positive emotion

Learning to discern your feelings is a valuable skill to acquire. When your feelings are intense, it is likely that you will recognize the most evident feelings such as angry or sad. Unbundling your feelings means noticing what feelings lie beneath the primary emotion. Imagine distinguishing feeling angry from feeling rejected. Both are likely going to create a powerful reaction, yet the ability to recognize the feeling of rejection will assist you in finding a coping strategy. Learning to sort out your feelings will provide valuable information to help you free yourself from the grip of the emotion and add richness to your emotional resilience.

• Describe the event that upset you
• List all the emotions you feel
• Ask yourself what other emotion lies behind those I have already listed
• Explore strategies to sooth yourself now that you have identified the emotions that are unsettling you.
• Celebrate your ability to manage your emotions.

You have likely been triggered if you react to a situation with an emotional reaction that is out of proportion to the event. …where a small thing someone else does or says leads to a BIG reaction on our part. This is a trigger.

We are triggered when a situation reminds us of an emotional bruise. This situation is likely going to activate a feeling that is particularly painful for you to experience. That feeling will lead to you feeling disarmed and overwhelmed. Whether it is shame, anger, fear, rejection or other feelings, these triggered feelings likely are linked to previous painful experiences in your life.

Triggers often lead to explosion or implosion. Typically, implosion looks like one is shutting down, running away, escaping through the use of drugs or alcohol or depression. For others it leads to explosion or using anger to take control of others in the situation.

The key to dealing with triggers is to avoid imploding or exploding by turning on your internal emotional cooling system. Your emotions are heating up and building an internal air conditioner is a necessity. Learning to regulate your emotions like we regulate the heat in our house is a crucial skill to master for both children and adult. Knowing what triggers you, can help you identify the times when we need to turn our AC on.

• Describe the event that upset you
• List all the emotions you feel
• Ask yourself what other emotion lies behind those I have already listed
• Ask yourself when in the past have I felt the same powerful emotion
• Remind yourself that while you may have been to young or too vulnerable to deal with the event in the past, you are a stronger person now and this event does not have to overwhelm you
• Remind yourself that whomever or whatever triggered you in the present is different from the initial source of hurt and treat them separately.
• Explore strategies to sooth yourself now that you have identified the emotions that are unsettling you.
• Make a plan to address the triggering situation with the intention to create a positive and respectful outcome for everyone.
• Celebrate your ability to manage your emotions.

We all have an “Inner Chatter Box”. Have you ever noticed that you keep carrying on in your own mind about one thing or another? Your mind is likely as busy as a major intersection at rush hour. Managing your “Inner Chatter Box” is recognizing that you are responsible for the traffic flow of your thoughts.

If your thoughts take you on dark and depressing roads or get you on the fast and furious highway of anger and contempt, remind yourself that you have the power of slowing them down or turning them off. Your thoughts are like a car, you need to remain in control of how fast they go and to keep them on a straight path. Otherwise, it is disastrous for you and those around you.

• Create a quiet moment and become an observer of your own mind
• Notice the various conversations that are going on
• Ask yourself how beneficial is it for you to carry on with this inner dialogue
• Choose which pattern of thoughts you will turn off or reinforce

Anger is an emotion to inform you that in some ways you have felt threatened. Learning to identify the emotion and the root cause will help you find new strategies to deal with the situation.

• Once you notice anger has been triggered, take a moment to sit down and breath.
• Quiet down your inner warrior
• Focus on slowing your thoughts and reaction rather than on the external cause of the emotion
• Take responsibility for your feelings to avoid falling in the blaming trap
• Stand in the other person’s shoes and explore their perspective
• Give up on your need to win or your fantasies of revenge
• Commit to creating a collaborative solution with those involve

Sharing your emotions is an effective way to diffuse them. Be mindful that it is crucial you set up the scene for an optimal reception. The most effective approach is face to face (not text or email).

• Ask someone to sit with you and to listen without giving you any feedback
• Describe the situation that upset you (not you always an you never)
• Express what emotions were evoked, make sure to unbundle them
• Respectfully ask for what you need from the other person (make sure your request is realistic and specific)
• Be generous and offer what you can do for the person if they were open to meet your needs/request

Anxiety is triggered when your brain tells you to fear something. The focus of the fear may be a person, a thing or a situation. With anxiety, people often end up worrying that something May one day occur with no real evidence in the present that this eventuality will materialize. To decrease your anxiety, practice the following:

• Write down what is feared and on your mind
• Ask yourself how many times in your entire life have you worried about this specific thing, write down how many time.
• Identify how many times your fear has materialized in relation to how often you have worried about it. Ex. I worry about making a fool of myself at a meeting. I have worried about this at least 100 times. In retrospect, I have never made a fool of myself at meeting.
• Challenge yourself with the evidence. If the evidence points out to the fact that you keep worrying about something that has never occurred or is very unlikely to occur, where is the evidence you need to continue entertaining this thought?
• Commit to letting go of thoughts that are not grounded in evidence

Shame is different than guilt. Shame is feeling negative about yourself while guilt is feeling bad about your action. Being aware of past situations which evoked shame, embarrassment, humiliation etc, is an effective way to learn about your potential triggers. To diffuse shame, experiment with the following practice

• Think of a past event that triggered shame
• Describe the event from the perspective you had when the event occurred
• Imagine yourself as a wise observer of this event and describe the event from that new perspective. Use empathy and compassion when telling the story about yourself going though the event.
• Notice what changes when you use a more grounded part of yourself to revisit the event.

Building a Positive Orientation

Every day, we have the opportunity to bring joy, vitality and energy to our life. Experiment with the following practice:

• Think about three energizing and inspiring moments in your life
• Describe what made the experience so positive for you
• Seek to create small event in your delay life that evoke the positive state of mind you identified.

Holding a positive core image of your self is crucial to increase emotional resilience. To acknowledge your talents and to value your skills is not bragging, it is giving credit where it is due. Your positive core image is how you think of yourself both during good and bad times. To increase your positive core image, experiment with the following practices.

• Make a list of all your talents and skills
• Make a list of your personal attributes and strengths
• Ask your loved ones for one thing they value about you
• Keep reading this list and own it with pride
• Remind yourself that even on a bad day or in the face of failure, you have not lost any of your gifts

Remember that feeling good is contagious and when you look for the positive in others, they also see the positive in you. This practice will help you focus on what you hear, see and appreciate from others. Appreciation is best received when it is specific and genuine.

• Listen carefully to how a person express themselves
• Watch for the way they behave or conduct themselves
• Think about how they impact you positively
• When expressing appreciation, focus on one particular aspect eg. “I am really impressed with how patient you remained when the sales clerk was curt with you. You continued to treat her with a lot of respect. It even helped me stay calm and positive about this situation.”

Acknowledging and honoring ourselves is the first step in building a positive attitude. Positivity does not start with what others do to make you feel better. It starts with what you do for yourself. At the end of the day, make it a practice to acknowledge all you have accomplished. This will cultivate your sense of success and close your day on a positive note.

• Identify how you have been of service to someone else
• Congratulate yourself on a job well done
• Celebrate that you have done a job that you had avoided
• Acknowledge how you have been loving
• Notice how you have taken charge of your day

Your negative energy impacts you and others. While it may give you a brief moment of relief to act out or vent your negative thoughts and feelings, it is toxic for you and all of those around you.

• Practice being aware of your mood and thoughts.
• Take the time to sooth yourself by removing yourself from the upsetting situation
• Notice when you are in complaining mode and focus on creating solutions
• Chose to delay your input in a conversation if you are about to criticize, blame or complain.

Learning to listen to your body is crucial to your well being and your self-concept. When you take recognize and attend to your physiological need, you are acknowledging yourself as a valuable human being.

• On a regular basis, listen to your body and pay attention to the cues it is giving you.
• Notice tension and stiffness in your muscles, notice hunger and thirst, notice fatigue etc.
• When you detect a need, address it. Being attuned to your body will allow you to work at a healthy pace and make you more productive.

Life is full of good and bad times, or success and failures and of learning opportunities. Hopefully you celebrated and high fived yourself the last time you did something right. Even more important is to learn to learn to deal with the times things did not work out so well. Reframe failure as being part of a learning curve and an opportunity to discover something about yourself and the situation at hand.

• Identify what was done well
• List what you learned so far about the situation/ problem
• Write down what occurred that you did not expect
• Identify new strategies to reach the desired outcome
• Explore if you need to learn more about a specific subject prior to doing a new attempt.

Smiling will directly impact your state of mind. Start the day by smiling to yourself. Greet others with a smile. Think of things that warm your heart and will keep you smiling. When speaking on the phone, use a mirror and make sure you keep smiling. Your positivity will soar!
Practice being mindful of what you like about others around you. Your reaction to even the most difficult interaction can be moderated by focusing on the strengths you see in the other person. Practice appreciating the good about them. Separate the problem from the person.

Self Awareness

Being able to notice and name your emotions will help you be less impacted by them. Being able to recognize your feelings will give you a chance to manage them more effectively.

• Identify your predominant mood
• Reflect on the thoughts that feed the mood
• Become open to the possibility that your mood and thoughts are just mental events that you can choose to disengage from.
• Choose to let go and create a more positive story.

When things go wrong, it is common to blame others. Take the time to review any events that did not go well and ask yourself? How did I contribute to this situation derailing? What I am willing to do to correct it?

Once you take responsibility for the role you play, you will also be able to find how you can improve the outcome. Being responsible will empower you.

The most effective strategies to increase your self-confidence is to acknowledge yourself.

• Take time to identify your values
• List your personal strengths
• Acknowledge the energy you are putting into people and things
• Identify one thing you did well daily

Learning to let go and share responsibility will free you to spend your energy on more exciting or interesting things. Asking others to help you can also lead to strengthening your relationship. Most people like to help and support those they care about.

• Practice asking for help
• Let people know what you need and give them the flexibility to achieve the outcome their own way
• Be open that the outcome may not be exactly what you would have done and be opened for a slight variation of it
• Make a point of using the time your freed to do something that is meaningful to you.

People try to manage time and find it very challenging. Instead, try managing your energy.

• Begin your day with attending to the tasks that will take more of your energy
• Save smaller and less demanding tasks for the time of day when your energy wanes
• Notice what drains your energy and attend to it as soon as possible
• Ask for support when attending to energy drainers
• Take energy refueling breaks: go for a walk or have a nutritious meal
• Reward yourself after completing an energy draining project

Notice how you think about yourself. Notice the positive and the negative.

We often worry about what others think about us and this outward focus will lead you to feeling constantly judged and inadequate. Take the time to write down your strengths and things you can improve upon. Set yourself a goal and start keeping track of your success.

In what type of relationship do you feel empowered? And disempowered?

What pattern do you notice?

What are the choices you can make and actions you can take to feel grounded again?

When was the last time you joined a toddler or a puppy on a walk? Each new patch of grass is a new world do discover. Every blade of grass, bugs, leaves and rocks are worthy of attention and of curiosity. They actually turn a mundane experience into a moment to revel in.

Experiment with doing something you have done a hundred times and ask yourself, ‘What is new to be discovered about this activity?’ Do it as if it were the first time. Have fun rediscovering your world.

Notice the positive and the negative.

We often worry about what others think about us and this outward focus will lead you to feel constantly judged and inadequate. Take the time to write down your strengths and things you can improve upon. Set yourself a goal and start keeping track of your success.

Learning to identify your wants is a crucial skill. Start by asking yourself what you want for yourself on a daily basis. Notice how your mind may tend to phrase your request in the negative ie. “what I want is for YXZ to stop”. Reframe your wants by stating them in the positive ie. “I want to start doing ABC”.

Make a list of small wants that are easy to make happen. As you become more confident in making your wants happen, raise the bar.

When you meet other people’s needs and wants, make sure you leave room for your wants to still be met.

Tuning into other’s feelings and needs is often easier than it is to tune into ourselves.

Listening with empathy involves hearing the story someone is sharing and tuning into the feeling they are expressing verbally or non-verbally.

When you are upset, listen to the story you are telling yourself. Identify the initial reaction and feelings you had. Deepen this awareness by asking yourself ” and what else do I feel?” also notice what is going on in your body. Name it. For example – tense, tired, agitated.

Take the time to validate your emotional and physical experience and respond kindly to yourself.

Learning to Have Fun

Learning to enjoy your own company is a crucial skill to develop at any age. Make a list of things you enjoy. If you believe it would be strange to do it on your own and that people will be watching you, remind yourself that they have better things to do than keep track of you. What if they thought you were brave for doing things by yourself?

Commit one hour a week to doing something fun and enjoyable by yourself.

Fun is a great healer. Think of 10 things that are a source of fun.

For example, watching a comedy show, going out with a friend, joining a sport team, dancing etc. Make a list of fun things and on a challenging day, do as many of those fun things possible to re-calibrate your mood.

Find ways to make yourself laugh. Laughter is contagious. It has the unbelievable ability to build your immune system. The more you laugh the lighter you feel and the lighter those around you feel.

Look for the small things in life that are funny. Learn and share funny stories and jokes, ask people to send you their funny stories, look for the humour in things.

Thought Management

Write down your negative thoughts and beliefs. Identify how or what situation led you to believe what you are believing. Take the time to evaluate the evidence that supports and negates that belief.

Ask yourself, what is a more rational way to think about this?

Many think that taking care of their needs before attending to other people’s needs is selfish. The diminutive “ish” means to be like, ex. girl”ish”, imp”ish”. So if you are self”ish”, you are acting like yourself. What if that meant that you are true and genuinely doing what is right for you when you are self”ish”.

Experiment prioritizing your needs and see how it replenishes you.


People often want to manage their time. However, I encourage you to manage your energy.

Notice when you are feeling depleted and tired. Notice how your body and mind are impacted by the low levels of energy. Allow yourself to rest and breathe for a moment.

Validate all your efforts and kindly give yourself permission to catch your breath and replenish your energy. Notice what activities are energy draining and those that are replenishing.

Include the practice of replenishing activities in your daily schedule.


We all carry a story about our life. It is your choice if you end up victorious or victimized.

Write about an event in your life where you felt victimized. Pay particular attention to the quality of thoughts you have about it. Are you the victorious or the victimized?

Take the time to re-write the story so you have reframed your experience. While the outcome does not change, your reframe will highlight how you conquered the challenge.

Self Soothing

Notice any feelings you might have. Notice what thoughts feed that feeling. Choose to disengage from the thought. Watch the feelings as if you were an observer. Ask yourself how you will attend to the feeling without letting it highjack you.

Write down the feeling and make a list of things you can do to sooth the feeling.

Build a repertoire of self-soothing strategies that support you in a positive manner and are of no negative consequence to your relationships.

Review the past few months and note the soothing strategies you used. Which strategies left you feeling successful, energized, proud and protected those you care about? Make a list of those strategies and make a point to go back to it when you need to cope with a difficult situation. For example: listen to music, play a musical instrument, go for a walk or run, watch a comedy show, call a supportive friend, participate in a group activity, write a caring note to someone you love, make a list of gratitudes etc.

Intense emotions come from a part of your brain that has the power to highjack you and take over. When you feel some force is taking over and you are about to blow up, tell yourself to “STOP”.

That part of your brain cares about no one and has no problem hurting people. Before lashing out, take a time out. Remove yourself from the upsetting situation. Remind yourself that the person you are about to attack is human just like you.

Take the time to write down your concerns and to find a constructive solution before going back to the conversation.

To sooth yourself, get out of your head. Sit quietly and notice where the tension is in your body. Focus on your breath. Breathing deeply and slowly into each body part that holds tension will allow positive energy to flow again. With each breath, imagine a cleansing wave that takes the tension away.

Stress Management

Stress is part of life. It is a state of mind that lets you know you are facing a demanding situation. To decrease stress, break down a task or event into a series of small steps. Notice all the steps that are familiar and that you have experience with. Create a plan to address the parts that are unfamiliar.
Have you ever noticed that you are stressed over things you cannot control? When faced with a new situation, examine what parts of the situation you really have control over. Make active decisions on how to handle those parts. When it comes to the parts that you cannot control, seek support from people who may be able to assist you (a professional) by either giving you comfort or advice on how to manage the situation. At times, you might just have to accept that you don’t have control over something.


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