“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”                  C.S. Lewis

Do you ever wonder how some people are able to overcome what appears to be insurmountable obstacles? Are you intrigued by people who look like they are about to succumb to their opponent but manage to triumph at the very last moment? Are you curious about those unflappable people who manage to just keep going in the face of adversity? What do they have? The answer is resilience, and guess what? You have it too!

After helping, observing and listening to people for over thirty years, I come from the school of thought as do many other mental health professionals that every human being is capable of developing resilience. Is it easier for some? Of course! This is the case for so many things in life, but everyone has the capacity to foment, nourish and enhance their own sense of resilience.

How might you do that? Well, think about it. If we can modify the body and turn it into a magnificent machine of physical strength and prowess, why not the mind? In fact, as we know, without the mental will, the body would not manifest itself in such a way. Even the most talented athletes recognize they must keep their mental endurance in order to make the best of their gifts. If not, one might lose what they do not use. Like strength training for the body, you can do it for your mind. Repetition is the key as it is for any exercise. Doing it once, twice or here and there will not do the job. It must be done over and over. Cognitive-behavioral techniques are often useful in helping with this as well as mindfulness meditation. What I believe can be most effective is hypnosis!

As a hypnotherapist, I incorporate a number of suggestions to enhance resilience and remind people of the incredible power of the unconscious mind. During an early phase of hypnosis, I frequently use a progressive muscle relaxation technique and emphasize the following:

Positivity – I encourage people to extinguish toxic thoughts or messages and invite and embrace Positivity. By remaining positive, the individual is reminded it will provide an openness to possibilities. Negativity can keep one in the dark and contribute to missing a short-lived opportunity.

Relaxation – Ongoing suggestions are made about the importance of staying relaxed. If you are tightly wound, closed off or rigid in your mind and body, it prevents you from allowing the permeation of positive energy.

Confidence – I suggest people think about their unique gifts and successes which are often building blocks for more. My words always include “success gives momentum to more success.” I also encourage them to think about their posture. I say “shoulders back, head high, this is confidence not arrogance.” The person internalizes the visualization of a position of strength both physically and mentally.

Freedom – Finally, I remind people of being free from the shackles of the past. It is now time to change their self image. Any feelings of weakness and disempowerment can be eliminated and replaced with feelings of empowerment and well being.

At this point, the individual is usually in a very deep state of trance and is ready to hear even stronger suggestions about strength and resilience. Here are two I use frequently:

Inner Strength – In their book, Inner Strengths,  Claire Frederick and Shirley McNeal share a script they developed about inner strength. This lovely text reminds people of an internal strength which can be experienced in a variety of ways, not just visually. I have adapted it according to my style. Clients have found it to be inspirational and quite useful in recognizing their own resilience.

Warrior – I love doing Yoga! It is such a wonderful mind-body exercise. Since practicing for the last seven years, I have taken the poses of Warrior I and II and developed a powerful script for strength and resiliency. The text involves having an individual imagine they are a magnificent Warrior or Warrior Queen who stands tall with majesty and grace.  I go on to state they’ve had their battles, incurred wounds and the remaining scars are reminders of strength and fortitude. Occasionally, I add a visual of a glorious shield with jewels of strength which can help safeguard going forward. I say all of this with zest trying to infuse energy into the very words this text represents. After coming out of trance and hearing this powerful suggestion, clients have expressed a greater sense of satisfaction and a feeling of considerable empowerment.

Life is about making the most of our gifts, but it is never a straight path. One must use their resilience to deal with the topsy-turvy journey along the way. Maximize your sense of resilience by way of hypnosis, and who knows, perhaps you will become a force to be reckoned with…

References and Suggested Readings:

Frederick, C., McNeal, S.(1999). Inner Strengths: Contemporary Psychotherapy and Hypnosis for Ego-Strengthening. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers.