Creating resilience for life
If you are like a lot of people, often not as well as we would like. So what separates some of us from those who seemingly remain calm and unaffected in an emergency?
So what is resilience and how do you get more?
It’s the ability to bend, not break.¹
Resilience is the mental grit that helps people meet crisis head on and move through it with grace. It doesn’t mean they are unaffected by it, rather it’s their ability to keep a cool head and focus to do what must be done at the moment. It’s this skill that allows people to move through trauma and get on with putting their lives back together. Those folks without it, are often overwhelmed and don’t do as well adapting to change out of their control. Often a less than resilient response can exacerbate the psychological trauma for the individual even more .
So are people born with it or…?
Not really. Some people are inherently emotionally and mentally stronger than others, but the ability to develop healthy coping skills² is possible for everyone. The more these skills are used the stronger and more resilient one can become. Go ahead and read some of the ideas in the healthy coping skills link above.
It also helps if we have role models in our lives that have shown us that life goes on. People with resilience tend to recover more quickly from upset, allowing them to move into a better psychological space and often are more able to leave the past behind.
A little bit of positive thinking, mixed with determination, resolve, grit, courage, ingenuity, problem solving, resourcefulness and yes, even faith. A belief that you can and will get through.
This in turn gives us confidence when we can see ourselves through tough times. There are inspiring stories of resilience throughout history and even more recently from this past year.
A great example of resilience is watching the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, a film based on the true story about a homeless single father Chris Gardner (starring Will Smith) and his son. Once evicted, Chris then lands a job as an unpaid intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, and endures hardship as the pair must live in shelters. The father refuses to give up as he struggles to create a better life for them both, which he does.³
True stories like this serve as a reminder that adversity is a part of life and perseverance is key to resilience. So as you reflect on your own personal experiences, ask yourself…
How resilient are you?
Come as you are, leave feeling better
- Forbes.com, 5 inspirational stories of resilience, John Baldoni, December 13, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2017/12/13/5-inspirational-stories-of-resilience/?sh=4d256ce3426b , last accessed May 20, 2021 “ability to bend but not break.”
- Verywellmind.com, Healthy coping skills for uncomfortable emotions, strategies, Amy Morin, LCSW, April 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/forty-healthy-coping-skills-4586742, last accessed May 20, 2021
- Wikipedia, The Pursuit of Happyness, movie Columbia Pictures, 2006 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pursuit_of_Happyness, last accessed May 20, 2021