Stress is inevitable but suffering is our option. Learn to bounce back as quickly as possible during hard time.
Resilience is the capacity of people to effectively cope with, adjust, or recover from stress or adversity.
Resilience reflects the ability to
- bounce back
- beat the odds
- transform one’s emotional and physical pain into something “positive”
- evidence a relatively stable trajectory of healthy functioning across time
- move from being a victim to being a “survivor” and even to becoming a “thriver”
- be “stress hardy” adapting to whatever life sends, and for some, even evidencing
“post- traumatic growth”
Pathways to resilience (Meichenbaum).
a) The perceived availability of social relationships and the ability to access and use social supports;
b) The degree of perceived personal control and the extent to which individuals focus their time and energies on tasks and situations over which they have some impact and influence;
c) The degree to which they can experience positive emotions and self-regulate negative emotions;
d) The ability to be cognitively flexible, using both direct-action problem-solving and emotionally palliative acceptance skills, as the situations call for;
e) The ability to engage in activities that are consistent with one’s values and life priorities that reflect a stake in the future;
Psychological Characteristics of Resilient Individuals (Meichenbaum).
- Experience Positive Emotions and Regulate Strong Negative Emotions
Be realistically optimistic, hopeful, ability to laugh at oneself, humor, courage, face one’s fears and manage emotions. Positive expectations about the future. Positive self-image. Build on existing strengths, talents and social supports.
- Adapt a Task-Oriented Coping Style
Ability to match one’s coping skills, namely direct action present-focused and emotionally-palliative acceptance with the demands of the situation. Actively seek help and garner social supports. Have a resilient role model, even a heroic figure who can act as a mentor. Have self-efficacy and a belief that one can control one’s environment effectively. Self confidence. Seek out new and challenging experiences out of one’s “comfort zone” and evidence “GRIT” or the perseverance and passion to pursue long-term goals.
- Be Cognitively Flexible
Ability to reframe, redefine, restore, find benefits, engage in social problem-solving and alternative thinking to adaptively meet changing demands and handle transitional stressors.
- Undertake a Meaning-Making Mission
Create meaning and a purpose in life; survivor’s mission. Use one’s faith, spirituality and values as a “moral compass”. Be altruistic and make a “gift” of one’s experience. Share one’s story. General sense of trust in others.
- Keep Fit and Safe
Exercise, follow a routine, reduce risks, avoid unsafe high-risk behaviors (substance abuse, chasing “adrenaline rush” activities).
Resilience core (Gail M. Wagnild)
Resilience core, which is made up of the five essential characteristics of resilience:
1. Meaningful life (purpose)
Having a sense of one’s own meaning or purpose in life is probably the most important characteristic of resilience, because it provides the foundation for the other four characteristics. Life without purpose is futile and aimless.
The determination to keep going despite difficulties, discouragement, and disappointment…that’s perseverance.
3. Self reliance
Equanimity means balance and harmony. Resilient people learn to avoid extreme responses.
Self-reliance is a belief in yourself, with a clear understanding of your capabilities and limitations.
5. Coming home to yourself (existential aloneness)
While we all live in the world with other people, resilient individuals learn to live with themselves. They become their own best friends. This is what ‘coming home to yourself’ means. We must face alone much of what we face in life; if we are content with ourselves, this is easier.
Being more resilient improves the quality of life. Understand your resilience core, know where it is weak, and take steps to strengthen it, and then go forward boldly and live resiliently.
Promoting resilience in youth (Edith Henderson Grotberg)
1. Build trust.
2. Focus on the individual, not the problem.
3. Keep the accent on the positive.
4. Set high expectations and provide the support youth need to meet them.
Put resilience to the test by doing the following:
1. Provide opportunities for meaningful work and community involvement.
2. Pull in the parents.
3. Create a sense of community.
Resilience concept is powerful influence on how we think about physical health, psychological well-being, and social functioning. Learn to develop your resilience characteristics.