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  • Writer's pictureChristine E. Agaibi

Escaping the Groundhog

This morning Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted that we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter.

For those that love winter sports, this may be welcomed news. But for many others heading south may be just the prescription needed!

For others, winter is symbolic of a bleak and dreary season, and like the 1993 movie named after this day, a perpetual cycle of rinse and repeat!

Everyone experiences threats to wellness at some point in life. For some it may be transient and for others it is chronic. So how do we get out of perpetual cycles that are not benefiting us? While perpetual cycles may feel familiar and thus comfortable, how do we plan for spring when stuck in a winter season?

Decades of resilience research tells us that resilience is not the denial of challenges and difficulties but the bouncing back from them. It is not a Pollyanna perspective that ignores reality. Instead, resilience is the ability to hold challenge AND growth simultaneously.

Fear or comfort or lack of growth sometimes holds in a perpetual pattern, like in Groundhog Day the movie. So then being resilient requires courage and action. So how can we act resiliently to break cycles and patterns that no longer serve a purpose nor bring us wellness?

Follow these steps to get started:

1. Acknowledge a difficultly or pattern exists. Face it. Talk about it. Do not run or hide from it. It will continue to resurface if it is not faced. That which we face (or at least acknowledge) we ultimately conquer.

2. Know that life is filled with challenges but do not see the problem as insurmountable or permanent. Follow 3 C’s. Challenge, Commitment, Control. See the problem as a challenge not as something causing despair. Be committed to work towards a solution. Control what you can and put your energy on what you can control. That doesn’t mean you can control everything so impact the places you can.

3. Set goals. Long term goals followed by smaller manageable goals that will get you to the bigger goal. Accomplishing small goals activates competence, confidence, increased self-esteem, and solutions. All of which are good for character and resilience-building.

4. Build healthy relationships. Toxic relationships are an antithesis of resilience. Resilience research tells us that even one healthy, consistent, and patient relationship in children contributes to their greater resilience. Healthy relationships are necessary ingredients for accountability, growth, and having a sense of stability and belonging. Being seen is one of the greatest gifts we can be given as humans. So seek out and cultivate empathetic, sacrificial, and meaningful relationships that help you to build. Having healthy relationship can offer support and lighten burdens.

5. Develop and maintain a repertoire of coping skills. Have a set of stress reduction skills, social skills, self-care activities, and behavioral changes that you turn to can help with coping with challenges. Not every skill will be useful in every scenario. So find several that work for you and utilize those with that help of a therapist.

6. Savor good moments and hold on to those in times of difficulty. Express positive emotions which research has shown helps to expand our mind and allows our mind to broaden and build into solutions. Engage in self-care then in altruism. This build character and resilience. Have gratitude which research has shown shifts our perspective from that which is negative to that which is going well. A change in perspective leads to resilience!

7. Most of all be persevering! Hardship changes us indeed. While hardship may shock us, change us, and even confuse us, it doesn’t have to define us. Instead it can mold us, shape us, and cause us to grow. Persevering allows us to be patient, hopeful, and faith-filled when life throws us a curve ball that causes us to sometimes scrap everything and start over. Perseverance means that I can reap the benefits of what challenges sow. Perseverance means to learn as I go towards a future that is more than this season or experience.

Resilience is a character-building, science-affirmed, faith-filled journey. It is holding on when I cannot see what’s ahead, pivoting, and taking one baby step at a time. It is trusting your abilities molded by lived experiences to take on this challenge and to see it through. It is breaking cycle whether they are personal or generational and walking into a growth-filled future.

For more tips on the science of resilience and how you can use it to flourish and thrive visit the site below…


“Resilience is not the absence of difficulty. Resilience is not denying or ignoring difficulty. Resilience is the ability to transform from difficulty. It is the ability to meet challenges head on and transcend difficulty and flourish beyond it.” ~CEA

How will you transcend challenges of the last few years in the new year?



Center for Authentic Resilient Empowerment


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