None of Us Are Immune

Blog by Tracy Stock, CSP

We all endure tough stuff. And when life-changing or stressful situations arise, your degree of resilience can dramatically affect how you deal with and move through the hardship.

After all, it’s not the difficult situation that does you in.  It is how you choose to react to it.

Resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health concerns, or workplace and financial stressors. What’s interesting is that research has shown that resilience is quite ordinary, rather than extraordinary. People commonly demonstrate resilience—like how we respond to job loss, personal injuries, illness, relationship issues, death of a loved one, etc. Resilience helps us adapt and recover.

Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.

Some additional traits or factors that influence one’s level of resilience are:

  • Make plans and follow through.
  • View of self and confidence in skills.
  • Good at communication and problem solving.
  • Manage strong feelings and/or impulses.

According to research, the most important aspect is “Caring and supportive relationships”—within and the outside family structure. The need for connection with others is primal…as fundamental as the need for air, water and food.

Who signifies resilience to you and why?

There are four types of resilience.

  1. Physical. The body can withstand more stress and heal itself faster.
  2. Mental. You have more mental focus, discipline, determination and willpower.
  3. Emotional. The ability to provoke powerful positive emotions—like curiosity or love—when you need them most.
  4. Social. You get more strength from friends, neighbors, family and the community.

Research has also shown that while some seem to come by resilience naturally, these behaviors can also be learned. Following are 10 strategies to help foster and enhance your own level of resilience:

1.         Nurture a positive view of yourself.

2.         Develop a strong social network.

3.         Be flexible & more accepting of change.

4.         Take steps to solve problems.

5.         Establish reasonable goals & take decisive action.

6.         Take care of yourself.

7.         Keep things in perspective.

8.         Look for opportunities for self-discovery.

9.         Maintain a hopeful outlook.

10.       Ask for help.

We each strive to confront tremendous challenges in life, whether they are poor choices our loved ones make, job stressors that affect our family life in significant ways, or health issues many bravely face, among many others. None of us are immune. My hope is that you realize you can be more resilient—it is more than just a possibility. And as H. Jackson Brown said, “Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.”