Challenging times demand resilience. This simple but powerful habit will help you cultivate it.

Staff Writer

Think you’re having a rough couple of days? (Or even a rough couple of years?) Then take a minute to consider what TEDxLehighRiver speaker Sarah Trimmer went through between 2011 and 2015: besides losing both her parents to cancer, divorcing, being laid off from a much loved job, and even being hit by a car, she was herself twice diagnosed with breast cancer, undergoing invasive and aggressive treatment to beat it.

No one, we can all agree, should ever have to go through anything like that. And yet, in her inspiring and practical talk, Trimmer attests that these awful years actually taught her great mental strength. She developed a simple but profound practice that allowed her to keep her sanity and even her happiness throughout her incredible trials, she reports.

It can work for you too. The ritual has the social media friendly name #startandendhappy, and as Trimmer explains it “is exactly what it says it is. It’s starting and ending your days focused on elevating your happiness. I think when a person elevates their mental strength and mental strength is what it takes to get through the rough times.”

Research very much backs her up on this. Working out your capacity to see the good in the world changes your brain, strengthens your capacity for optimism, and improves your resilience. So how exactly do you #startandendhappy? Check out the complete video below for a full explanation, but the essence of the practice is simply taking a few minutes each morning and evening to complete these five sentences:

  • Today I am grateful for…
  • Today I helped someone by…
  • Something that made me happy today…
  • Today I learned…
  • Tomorrow I will…