Journaling for Resilience
When you think of basketball, whose name do you think of? For many, the first name that comes to mind is Michael Jordan. What most of us don’t know is that the renowned Hall of Famer was actually cut from his high school basketball team before becoming one of the best ballers in the world.
Being cut was just a microscopic challenge in Jordan’s career. He said, “I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Despite failing time and again, he has become one of the best basketball players in the world.
The secret ingredient for any recipe of success is resilience.
What is Resilience?
Inevitably, we will all experience personal traumas and stress, heartbreaks and losses, and challenges in the pursuit of our goals and dreams. Resilience is the ability to bounce back in the face of these adversities. It’s about having a positive outlook on life despite the circumstances and curveballs that life throws at us.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you have not gotten this far in your life without being resilient. Often, our resilience lies in our subconscious as an immediate response to the stressors of our day-to-day life. However, by becoming aware of our ability to be resilient, we can consciously strengthen it so we can reach new heights and succeed in any personal endeavour.
As Jordan enhanced his athletic abilities he was also strengthening what we can call his resiliency muscle. Resilience is not innate, it’s something that can be cultivated and strengthened over time. You too can strengthen your resilience.
Journal to Cultivate a Resilient Mindset
In the face of adversity, it’s easy to feel stuck. We often fixate on the problem or challenge and have self-sabotaging beliefs about ourselves. Many of these beliefs often catastrophize the situation (i.e. “I’m never going to get through this” or “It’s always going to be this way”) which can prevent us from moving forward.
Because we often can’t see these beliefs clearly, we waste so much time struggling with the challenge when we could otherwise bounce back faster and get closer to where we want to be.
However, by utilizing the power of journaling, we can begin to see these thoughts right in front of us. We can then see patterns in our thinking, challenge our beliefs, and bounce back faster than ever before. Journaling is an incredible tool to allow you to become the most resilient, strong, and courageous version of yourself.
But what should you write about?
Journal Prompts for Resilience
There are so many prompts that can help you identify and strengthen your resilience. I recommend starting with one of the many prompts I’ll be sharing below and writing from there. Take your time responding to them and write as much detail as possible. Who knows what you may discover throughout your writing process.
How did I move through tough experiences like this before?
By answering this question, you will begin to gather evidence to support the fact that you are and always have been resilient. Be specific by picking a very similar example as the adversity you’re experiencing now. First, set the scene. What happened? What was your initial response? What allowed you to overcome it? What was the result? What did you learn from it?
How have my challenges allowed me to grow?
Utilizing the same example, how has this challenge allowed you to become smarter or stronger? Or, more compassionate or self-loving? How did it support shaping you to be the person you are today?
What is my take on failure?
The ultimate way to become more resilient is to fail, and then fail again. However, with the help of societal ideals, we have been programmed to believe that we need to be perfect to succeed. The reality is, this is just a story, not a fact (remember Michael Jordan?). It’s up to you to challenge your views about failure so that it supports you in getting you closer to where you want to be. Is it really such a bad thing? Has it stopped you from pursuing things before? Or, has it motivated you to keep moving forward? How have others in your life become talented or skilled at what they do? Has failure actually gotten you closer to success?
What things allow me to bounce back in the face of adversity?
Whether you’re aware of it or not, we all have toolkits that help us in this journey called life. Who is your support system? How have you leaned on them? Do you exercise or meditate to alleviate stress? Are there other things that help calm your mind and body? Why do these things help you when you experience challenges? Do you need to expand your network? Do you need to ask for additional help?
What lessons have I learned from my past failures or mistakes?
Did they teach you to not party the night before an exam? Did they allow you to gain clarity about what you want in a relationship? Did they allow you to see what you truly want to do with your life?
Who do I want to be?
Do you want to be someone who achieves their goals and dreams? Are you willing to sacrifice and fail over and over again to get there? Do you want to be someone who shows up no matter what? Do you want to be brave and take risks? How can you take more action to get closer to where you want to be?
Resilience Makes Life Worth Living
In any pursuit, it has always been the journey along the way that has allowed me to experience fulfillment and purpose. Sometimes that journey was the process of one step forward, 2 steps back, and a zig-zag here and there. But what has always gotten me back on track is resilience. When we reach the top of the highest mountain, or cross the finish line, or even make the winning slam dunk, resilience allows us to be able to say, “I was able to get to this point in my life, despite all of that.”
Although journaling independently can definitely enhance our resilience, there are times in our lives where we feel we can't move forward alone. Sometimes we need an external observer to help us see the bigger picture and amplify the best parts of who we are. Try out The Journal That Talks Back and see if it's a good fit for you. Our service not only allows you to journal, but you will also have a Certified Coach responding to your journals to help you become the most resilient version of yourself.
Written by Guest Author, Hailey Rodgers