How to Build Resilience – Dedicated to the Memory of Elizabeth Edwards


Martine Brennan

To mark World Mental Health Week, back in October,  I asked some of my favourite bloggers to write a guest post on the theme of Building Resilience.  I want to repost one of those today to honour the memory of Elizabeth Edwards, for whom the word and the act of resilience had a special meaning.


Kicking off this special series of posts is life-coach, Martine Brennan. Martine is the author of  Happiness It’s Just a Habit, a little book which slips the happiness habit into your life as easily as the books slips into your pocket or bag. I have a copy which I carry in my briefcase all the time!

Most of us have taken on board the importance of regular exercise to strengthen our muscles and bones. But few of us take the time to strengthen our “emotional muscles” and build resilience in ourselves. Then along comes a life-challenge and we discover we have developed little or no strength with which to face the challenge. Our lives could most probably be described as; 
  • Don’t eat healthy food
  • Don’t exercise
  • Don’t rest when we are tired
  • Don’t be honest with ourselves about how we REALLY feel
  • Don’t think about what REALLY matters to us
  • Don’t spend time with people we love who make us feel good
  • Don’t ask for help
You can probably add to this list, I certainly can!  

I learned about this the hard way in 2004 when my baby daughter Hannah died. Nothing could have prevented me from experiencing overwhelming grief but I had also fallen out of the habit of taking care of myself. I had to start all over again and build healthy habits back into my life.
Now I know that my inner strength and resilience is rooted in gentle DAILY habits. All of them are simple. None of them are hugely time-consuming. Mostly, I take time each day to do at least one thing that I really enjoy doing. I put myself and my needs on my “to do” list. I make time for ice cream cones or comedy shows, a favourite book, music or a good walk. This small difference in my day has made a huge difference in my life.   

What ONE thing could you add to your day which would make you feel stronger and better? The only secret is to do it EVERY day. 

If you would like some more suggestions on how to build your resilience and a happier life you can find them on my blog 
Martine Brennan 
author of Happiness it’s just a habit