Clinical Psychologist from WomenSpeak Offers 13 Tips for Increasing Emotional Resilience in 2013

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Traumatic events like job loss, foreclosure, failure, illness, a falling out with a loved one or divorce are difficult and depressing for anyone. These tips from Dr. O'Reilly will help anyone increase mental toughness.

Clinical psychologist and speaker DR. Nancy D. O'Reilly

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Nancy O'Reilly

Resilient people bounce back from difficult situations and remain cool, calm and collected.

It was a tough year, but 2013 can be your best year ever. Traumatic events like job loss, foreclosure, failure, illness, a falling out with a loved one or divorce are difficult and depressing for anyone. Clinical psychologist Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, founder of, is available for media interviews and speaking engagements to help people toughen up mentally.

In 2013, it’s especially important to be resilient and prepared for anything. When life delivers a bunch of lemons, a person could fall apart and spend months trying to recover, or just pick the lemons, make lemonade, and enjoy a nice cool drink.

Resilient people are mentally tough. Think of them like the Energizer Bunny – they just keep going and going no matter what. But what are the secrets to developing this kind of strength and perseverance? In her work with clients and with victims and first responders after traumatic events like 911, Hurricane Katrina and the Joplin tornado, Dr. Nancy has identified 13 lucky keys to resilience.

Resilient people bounce back from difficult situations and remain cool, calm and collected. They are ready to seek solutions and get back on track. They do not let disappointments deter them from getting what they want – instead, they stay focused and plan to be successful. Anyone can learn these skills.

Dr. O’Reilly often speaks to groups about these 13 critical techniques for increasing mental toughness and resilience.

1) Take a deep breath. This activity actually prepares the body for better performance. Lack of oxygen can cause headaches, backaches or tight shoulders. Deep breathing is calming and energizing.
2) Get physical. Getting the heart pumping creates important changes in the body and provides a sense of control. Physical fitness is important to resilience.
3) Pump the right fuel. Food fuels the human engine, so fill up on energy-boosting whole grains, fruits and vegetables to see performance increase.
4) Laugh it up. Using a sense of humor increases feel-good hormones called endorphins, which improve emotional state as well as physical being. A belly laugh also forces deep breathing.
5) Visualize the future. Rehearsing in the mind about acquiring a new skill or attitude or even a dream house helps create a new reality. Paint a detailed mental picture of what is desired.
6). Exercise the brain. Resilient people are good thinkers and problem-solvers. Exercises that improve right-brain/left-brain connections such as puzzles, using your non-dominant hand, even skipping and jumping rope help build new brain pathways.
7). Stay cool. Avoid letting emotions take over. A person can’t think clearly or solve problems from an emotional roller coaster.
8) Stay present. This moment is the only reality. Allowing the mind to run to the future or languish in the past prevents effective problem solving.
9) Be grateful. Regardless of the trauma or affliction, resilient people can always see something to be grateful for. Things could always be worse.
10) Accentuate the positive. A mental attitude of “I can’t” ensures a person won’t. Replace the negative with “I can” and start creating a new reality.
11) Practice compassion. Human nature is flawed, so kindness is the best approach to oneself and others. Make allowances for human foibles rather than judging oneself and others.
12) Find beauty. This is a magically beautiful world, so take time to notice and appreciate its wonders. A sunrise, dewdrops on a leaf, patterns in skyscraper windows, soaring music. There’s no end to the beauty of the natural and built world, so enjoy it.
13) Choose to be happy! Happiness is a state of mind, not a thing. Think of the Laws of Attraction. Mentally tough people attract happiness because they know it is up to them to make it happen.

People who practice these lucky keys get really good at resilience. They bounce back whenever life gets them down. The best news is, none of this costs a thing. No manual needed and no expensive equipment.

Times are tough ... but people who are tough can handle anything that comes their way!

Contact Dr. O'Reilly for an interview about Secrets of Mental Toughness.

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Maggie Castrey

Dr. Nancy D. O'Reilly, Psy.D. empowers women from trauma to triumph
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