Defining Resilience: Step 1 – Focus on the Positives

A sneak peak at a portion of my upcoming Hope for Healing newsletter scheduled for delivery July 1st. Subscribe at Hope for Healing newsletter or on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com. Thanks!
Defining Resilience
Step 1: Focus on the Positives
 

Before diving into step 1, a reminder about resilience: it is defined as the ability to overcome adverse conditions; with healthy bonding relationships, guidance, support, and compassion as the catalysts. Basically, it entails having the capacity to bounce back from stressful or overwhelming experiences.

What are some steps we can take to ensure we are building resilience in our lives?

  1. Focus on the positives. 
  2. Seek out and nurture supportive relationships.
  3. Utilize self-care strategies. 
  4. Take action steps to create positive change.
  5. Work on healthy habit formation. 
  6. Find a guiding hand to hold.
  7. Learn to become our own hero. 
  8. Be gentle with ourselves.

Today we will cover Step 1: Focus on the positives.

I love when my memories pop up on Facebook. I can glance back at my life over the past nine years, since joining that social media platform, and re-live the joys. Sure there is an occasional post where I set a gripe free, but it’s mostly happy-sunshine stuff.

However, it has not always been that way. This glitter-shitter stuff took a lot of effort. I had to completely revamp my habits in some areas. Here are eight suggestions to incorporate into your own life:

  • Surround yourself with positive energy: I made a concerted effort to remove toxic people from my life, or at least, how much exposure I had to their toxicity. Those energy vampires are draining. Emotionally, spiritually, even physically.
  • Create positive affirmations: I made mine using a Word doc, incorporating heart shapes into the doc, then filling the heart with nature photos I’ve snapped. Here is one of many I’ve created:
  • Practice mindfulness: This is a way to be present with all of your blessings in the present moment. Let your past worries go. Do not focus on future “what ifs”. Just be here. In this moment. With everything peaceful in the moment. I like to practice mine in nature settings as I find tranquility in that space.
  • Re-direct your negative thoughts: I will purposefully stop myself mid-thought and say, “Nope. Let’s think about this in a positive way, T.” Example: my eighty-two year old mom was taking F.O.R.E.V.E.R. strolling through the grocery store. My own to-do list was nagging at me and I found myself becoming impatient with her. I stopped myself right there in the condiments aisle and just looked at her little hand reaching for the hot sauce. I smiled in the moment, knowing I am blessed to still have her with me.
  • Smile: It sounds simple enough. But, seriously. It requires effort sometimes. I try to remind myself to connect with others through a smile. It truly is amazing how people respond. Sometimes they actually look surprised to see someone smiling at them! But, almost always, they smile back.
  • Look for the light in the darkness: This can seem an impossible task. Especially if you are hurting or struggling. But, I promise, you will help yourself recover your footing if you find that light, that thing, whatever it is in your dark moment. Focus on it, treasure it, remind yourself of it as often as needed. Purposefully seek out a positive force, solution, or beacon.
  • Share the positivity: Put your happiness out into the world. I keep a happy thoughts journal. I also share my joys on social media. I write about things that make my heart happy. I try to offer positive solutions to others. Through radiating joy, I bring more joy into my life.
  • Give of yourself: I ran into a teacher I used to work with while pumping gas earlier today. She made my heart smile when she said, “It’s not been the same since you left. We miss you. The kids really need you.” She was talking about the job I had as a mental health specialist working in various school settings. Helping those kiddos, offering them coping skills and a chance to talk about their struggles, sharing my positive energy, helped bring positivity into my life. I knew I was making a difference in their lives. I still do this though our therapy dog services, meeting with kids to discuss anxiety and the important role of therapy animals in healing.
Coming up next month: Step 2: Seek out and nurture supportive relationships.

Funks & Punks

I’ve been in an on-again-off-again relationship with a case of the funks for the past few weeks. So, of course, the universe throws a reminder onto my Facebook feed. A friend confessed her woes on a Mom group page and a slew of other moms joined in to concur . . . there is quite a bit of treading going on, just maintaining in order to keep our heads above water.

Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

I have prayed on it. Meditated through it. Tried connecting with the trigger through journaling and mindfulness exercises. Some stuff flitters on by, but nothing has given me the AH-HA! goosebumps.

Yet.

Perhaps it’s a combination of stuff, slowly heaping up in the corner of the room while I try to pretend all is right with my world. I’m the glitter-shitter, after all. Must focus on the positive. Stay motivated. Be that beacon of light. However, the more I try to ignore this funk, the quicker it is turning into a punk-ass bitch, obnoxiously interrupting my normally chill demeanor on a more frequent basis.

 

I even pondered returning to therapy. A little talk session about my woes just might be the answer. Then I remembered . . . oh, yeah, I blog! Cheaper than therapy, right?

Therefore Dr. Blog Reader, I am dumping on you. Maybe you have some insights that will help me kick this punk, Funk, to the curb.


Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

I had an energy healer tell me once, “You are trying to keep too many plates spinning. You need to decide who you really want to be. It’s okay to say ‘no’ and let some of these things go.” Ugh. But, I am passionate about them all. Blogging, writing my books, The Healing Place Podcast, Sammie therapy dog work, running InvizaShield, and speaking. Not to mention the mom, wife, house-project-pro roles. However, I feel as if my friendship needs are waning. I used to connect with my peeps on a much more frequent basis. Now that has been back-burnered.

(A little AH-HA! goosie just appeared on my left arm.)


  • But, then again, I’m still harboring some ill feelings toward people in general. I experienced a burn a few months ago and I’m still
    Photo by Sebastien on Unsplash

    irritated by it. I want to expose the entire situation, but, just like in my youth, I am having to keep my mouth shut in order to protect others. I donned the peace-keeper role in my co-dependent family. And I’m doing it again. Only this time with a larger group. All in the name of peace. And that is seriously pissing me off.

(Must find a way to set this free without exposing those who could be hurt by the threatening authority figures. Golly I despise protecting the power-wielders.)


  • I was on a serious mission, headed in the right direction, the stars aligning, promises were being sent my way . . . (insert spike strip launched onto my path) . . . then crash. Right into that brick wall. It became painfully obvious that the entire motivation for those promising me the world was monetary. I was advised that I needed to focus on “monetizing” my mission in lieu of “helping others” as my driving force. Suddenly people who were “here to help” were asking for more money in order to do so. Money, money, money. I was being indoctrinated into the world of dollar signs and sales pitches. But, that’s not me. That’s not my goal. Do I want a beach house? Uh, yeah. Do I want to reach a million people with my story of hope and messages of positivity and healing? Absolutely. However, monetizing my mission for the sole purpose of just making money . . . nope.
  • Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

(My goal is to figure out the best way to share my story on a grand scale. Publish my book. Obviously. Online courses? Blogging? YouTube videos? Speeches? Sammie’s Bundles of Hope? Podcasting? Free e-books? My list is huge.)


So, there you have my top 3 funks right now.

The glitter-shitter is needing some sparkle. So, if you feel inclined, grab a handful and toss it my way!

Love and hugs,

T

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

www.teriwellbrock.com

You Are Magical

This writing space of mine feels like a hug every time I step into it. The walls smile at me from angel paintings, kid pics, inspirational quotes, and decorative reminders of treasured friendships. Today, as I sent up a prayer to the Holy Spirit asking for some inspiration for this blog, I found myself drawn to my “YOU ARE MAGICAL” cup.

Therefore, thanks to this Zen-looking unicorn, I am going to share with you ways in which you can whip up some magic in your life. I went with my spirit-inspired gut on these. There are thousands more I could choose from, but let’s start here:

  1.  Play.
  2. Dance.
  3. Sing.
  4. Paint.
  5. Swim.
  6. Hike.
  7. Call.
  8. Doodle.

Play: My daughter tapped gently on my office door about an hour ago, creaking it open enough to say, “Can you help me with this?” I paused from my ponderings and turned to nod her in. She held up the drone she had received as a Christmas gift. Flown once. Into a tree.

“Sure,” I semi-sighed . . . my to-do list already delayed by a few hours after an unplanned trip to the pediatrician for her sore throat.

We decided a second attempted launch from the cul-de-sac might work best. It still ended up in the tree. Oh boy. Swimming pool pole to the rescue! A few tries later, we had it hovering. After a crash landing into the neighbor’s garden and one bounce off of mom’s car, we had figured out the thumb-controlled-do-hickey-thingys (can you tell I’m a serious gamer?).

We laughed, ducked, screamed in fear as it careened toward us (okay, that was me), and had a fun mommy-daughter moment figuring out how to maneuver the drone over driveways and around mailboxes.

Get out there and play. A board game. A card game. A video game. Monopoly or Spades or Wii Just Dance 2018. Or toss a football, grab a hula hoop, jump on a trampoline. Having a twelve-year-old around helps!


Dance: I have a friend who teaches an amazing dance class. I’m hoping to get back to it as soon as this old-lady knee of mine strengthens. Be sure to check it out, if you are in the Cincinnati area. Amanda is ahhh-mazeballs!

But, this knee won’t stop me from popping in those Wii dance games and getting my groove on, battling it out with my kiddo for first place. Or dancing in my car. My middle child loves it so when I car-dance at red lights < – – – sarcasm font! And sometimes, I just blast a good song from my Pandora station while I write, push my office chair aside and get down with my bad self right here in my Zen space. Zen and disco can co-exist, right?


Sing: Sometime I can hit those Mariah notes. Sometimes not so much. But, I can ALWAYS belt out “Lady” by Little River Band. Every. Damn. Time.

My oldest son can rap like no one I’ve ever heard. Brilliant. My youngest son is moved (like his momma) by the lyrics, the singers’ stories, the tales behind the rhymes.

Music touches me on a soul level. And I let that move me.

Sing it out, people. Whether you are Harry Caray or Mariah Carey. Release your soul’s music.


Paint: My dad was an artist. My sister has had her artwork featured in galleries. Me? Not so much. I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler.

So when a friend invited me to one of those painting parties at Cheers to Art, I literally laughed out loud. But, I decided it would be fun to at least drink the wine that was part of the package deal. I was completely blown away by the fact that my “sunbeams coming through the trees” painting actually ended up looking like sunbeams coming through the trees.

Grab a brush (and possibly some wine) and set your inner-Rembrandt free.


Swim: I have combined “quality kid time” and “exercise” with this one. My daughter and I have a little contest going every night, barring thunderstorms obviously, seeing who can finish our laps in the pool in the quickest time. She keeps bumping the goal by five laps each day. We are up to fifty-five as of yesterday.

My dad was not a swimmer. He was terrified of it. And not much scared that six foot six inch papa of mine. So, my advice is this, if you fear the water, grab one of those donut rings, stay in the shallow end, make sure another person is always with you, and just float. Let your hands skim the surface, watch those little bugs swoop in for a drink, let your soul dance with the sunbeams glistening on the splashes, allow the weightlessness of your body to float peacefully through the water.


Hike: My favorite place is anywhere I can hear a bird singing or a wave crashing, smell the sweetness of the forest or the saltiness of the ocean air. So strap on those hiking shoes or beach trekkers and hit it.

There is something magical that happens when we put the to-do lists away and allow ourselves permission to immerse ourselves in nature. I find my greatest peace when I find a bench at our local nature preserve and just sit. With no agenda. I merely allow it fall upon me. The sounds, the smells, the sights, the creatures, the sensations, the energy, and the tranquility.


Call: Reaching out to a friend, a family member, even a business acquaintance, via a phone call to check in can brighten our days with some much needed connection. I am a texting fan. It’s quick. It’s easy.

However, I know, for me personally, I also need some depth. And I find that through my chats, whether face-t0-face or phone calls, with others. I love my hour long catch-up calls with my son who lives in Denver. I treasure that time together.

Check on a friend today. Even if it’s just five minutes while driving to the store (using your hands-free feature . . . safety first, pumpkin!).


Doodle: Again, not an artist. My doodles always look somewhat toddlerish. But, I love doodling in my journals. Hearts, flowers, more hearts, smiley faces, hearts again, sunshine and trees, and possibly another heart. And angels.

Drawing can be a way to express something we might be struggling to find words to release it. I have used this coping skill with kids struggling with anxious feelings.


I look at this list, now that I’ve finished typing, and I realize that magic is created by setting our inner child free. Play, dance, sing, paint, swim, hike, call, and doodle.

Well, I’m off to let the kid beat me at some pool laps. Then maybe I’ll challenge her to a game of Battleship. She’s going down!

Angel Whispers and Neon Signs

Photo by Dalal Nizam on Unsplash

I am one of those folks who pay attention to the subtle whispers of my angels. I used to tell God, “Listen, Big Guy, I need some neon signs sent my way. Big flashing arrows pointing me in the right direction, if you don’t mind. Thanks!”

It’s taken years of practice, silencing the hum of my own insecurities and quieting my own directives, but I now notice the gentle taps on the shoulder, “Hey, T, look,” turning my head to notice the heart-shaped leaf on the ground.

Ah, thanks, God.

I’ve come to realize those sweet little nudges ARE the neon God-signs I had been asking for all along.

Lady bugs crawling on my manuscript, sunbeams radiating onto a crappy day, little kid giggles interrupting my mental chanting of shopping list items, unicorn fart coffee mug gifts from a friend “just because”, cardinal songs outside my window as my dad’s memory flutters through the room. Angel whispers filling my days.

As I sent up a little prayer this morning, feeling a bit melancholy over an old loss, I received a beautiful text: “I truly think you are an amazingly beautiful person.” Tears welled in my eyes, the timing of that message impeccable, as the sunlight beaming into the room caught my attention.

I turned to see the beams radiating through the glass sign I have perched on the window sill, the words “be brave” illuminated in a joyous reminder.

photo credit Teri Wellbrock

I’ve been looking for inspiration for this latest blog. Waiting to be prodded by some spirit-movings. I’d say this qualifies.

5 Ways to Awaken Your Awareness of Angel Whispers and God Signs

  • Look for hearts.

 I find them everywhere. Every day. I just walked downstairs to let the dogs back inside and laughed as I found a chewed remnant of a dog toy . . . in the shape of a neon orange heart on the stairs. Love is all around us. All we need to do is open our hearts (and our eyes) to notice. I will be posting a free downloadable e-book on my website some time in the next few weeks. It will be filled with heart pics I’ve snapped along with quotes and stories about love. Be sure to download it on my Teri Wellbrock website once it’s available. Until then, there is other free downloadable content available as a resource.

  • Meditate. 

I started out using a simple 2-5 minute meditation I had found on a phone app. Learning to meditate in short intervals was a much needed boost of confidence that I could actually do it.  I had always struggled with any attempts to meditate. My mind would wander repeatedly and I’d throw in the towel about thirty seconds in. Several different apps I found actually encouraged letting my mind wander, so I could practice utilizing my breath to reign it back in. I have created a few simplistic meditation videos. You can practice by listening in on my website or directly on YouTube.

I eventually worked my way up to 30-minute meditations, using apps and various YouTube guided meditation videos. I now make meditating a part of my daily routine. It has opened up my senses to everything beautiful. Including those angel messages.

Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash
  • Practice mindfulness.

This is a favorite technique that I will talk about often. Mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

It is a gift to yourself. Being aware of the space you fill in this present moment and all that surrounds you in the now can be more difficult than it sounds . . . hence the need for practice. I like to hike at Cincinnati Nature Center, reminding myself to absorb the sensations of the moment (the sounds of scurrying chipmunks, the sweet scent of honeysuckle blossoms, the tickle of the sweat bee landing on my arm). Those moments, after all, are filled with angel whispers.

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash
  • Welcome balance.

Another concept I struggled with throughout most of my life was that of allowing myself the gift of relaxation, “me” time, without the weight of guilt sitting heavily upon my shoulders. I would try to kick back, but my to-do list would nag at me. All of the “shoulds” poking at me. You should be writing. You should be cleaning. You should be studying. 

Once I realized the benefits of giving myself permission to relax, unwind, let go, and enjoy the moment, I quickly learned to put those to-do list bullies in their place. Now I remind myself that my angel gifts come to me in those letting-go moments. They appear within the pauses.

photo credit Teri Wellbrock
  • Be gentle with yourself.

A huge lesson learned. This was one of those Ah-ha! moments in my life. A true awaking. On so many levels. I can honestly say that learning how to accomplish this seemingly simple mindset was life-altering.

When you find yourself being self-ridiculing or slamming yourself over a mistake, stop. When you find yourself doubting your abilities, stop. When you start to question your worth, stop. When you pick on your weight or your wrinkles or your knack of crying at all things sappy, stop.

Instead . . . be gentle with yourself. Remind yourself you are trying. And you are worthy. And loved. And beautiful. Give yourself a hug. Be your own best friend. Hold your own hand. That’s when you’ll hear the angel whisper, “I believe in you.”

Photo credit Teri Wellbrock