“Resilience is the capacity of a person, enterprise, or system to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances.”  Andrew Zolli

My friend and colleague, Michelle Gale, wrote about resilience recently in a guest post for my blog and, in light of what has been an unsettling time for most of us in recent weeks, I wanted to add a few thoughts of my own.  

Having resilience simply means having the capacity to navigate changing or challenging circumstances and emerge strong, even stronger, than before.  It’s having the ability to “bounce back.” Given recent challenges affecting all of us, I’m finding it a particularly good time to strengthen my resilience “muscle.”

If you haven’t looked at yourself as particularly resilient in the past, the good news is that it’s something that can be strengthened and further developed   We can start to work on developing our resilience muscle at any point in our lives.  Here’s a few, according to science.

  • Our bodies and minds are connected, and when we strengthen and nourish our bodies, we also strengthen our minds and emotions.  Taking good care of ourselves is especially important at times of high stress and it doesn’t have to be complicated.  Paying attention to the foods we eat, exercising, and getting enough sleep are simple habits to include that will have a big payoff in how we feel mentally and emotionally.
  • The “Three P’s” can limit your ability to move forward.  What are they?
  1. Personalization is the belief that we are somehow at fault; 
  2. Pervasiveness is the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; 
  3. Permanence is believing that the effects of the circumstance or events will last forever.

Feeling that we are somehow responsible for negative happenings can keep us stuck there.  Likewise, looking at situations as pervasive or lasting indefinitely can leave us feeling depressed and helpless.

  • Having a community of social support – friends, family, neighbors, colleagues – is vital when it comes to navigating challenging times.  A network of support helps people not only feel less stressed but can also help improve physical and mental health.
  • Having a sense of purpose and meaning is another factor in building resilience.  Knowing that we are here for a purpose, that we make a difference, whether in our families, community or work, can help us maintain perspective when life becomes challenging.  Taking time to reflect on what makes like meaningful can help us determine the right path forward.
  • Finally, realizing that though there may be circumstances beyond our control, the one thing we can always control is ourselves and how we respond to events.  Maintaining an “Attitude of gratitude,” and knowing that “This, too, shall pass,” can help keep us from feeling trapped and help us to take the long view, and stay centered until we can find our internal compass, and the world around us steadies.

Reflection on resilience can provide comfort and hope to both ourselves and others when we need it most and will help us get to the other side during these tumultuous times.  

Sending you love and hopes for bright moments to come

Categories: Wellness