Resiliency has been defined as the ability to:
- manage life’s challenges, stresses, changes, and pressures effectively.
- cope and adapt successfully to adversity.
- bounce back to a balanced state after facing a major disruption in life or career.
People have an innate ability to demonstrate resiliency when they have resiliency skills built into their lives. Resilient people are able to adapt successfully under adverse circumstances such as: poverty, mental illness, disasters, terrorism, physical or psychological trauma, divorce, job loss, prison, loss of a loved one, parent’s divorce, prolonged stress, physical or sexual abuse, or a lack of safety. Resiliency, or a positive behavioral adaptation, is critical when people encounter any type of trauma.
Right now, in this current Covid19 crisis, we all need resiliency. Look at the bullet list above. Managing the new challenges, etc. posed by the crisis is crucial to surviving it. Do we need coping skills that are healthy and effective? For certain. Do we need the ability to bounce back from the bizarre lives we are currently facing? Absolutely. It has been vital that people rise to the challenges the pandemic presents. For the most part we came up to the plate and hit a homer. We sorted out the mixed signals that bombarded us from our elected officials. Recovery as a nation will depend, to a great extent, on individuals, families, work groups, and total strangers. The ability to bounce back to our new reality and forge a new normal for our families is key.
Research shows that resiliency offers protection from distress and illness in the face of change or adversity. The presence of high levels of resiliency is associated with these factors:
- high level of happiness,
- high level of self-esteem,
- high sense of energy and vitality,
- high level of optimism,
- high level of self-reported health,
- high sense of meaning and direction,
- low level of depression.
People who are resilient . . .
- work because they enjoy it,
- react in an optimistic way,
- see problems as challenges,
- take positive action,
- think of change as natural and go with the flow,
- thrive under challenging situations,
- find it easy to be content in various situations,
- believe that they can influence events and their reactions to events,
- recognize that with stress comes growth.
That same research cited above tells us that resiliency can be built.
So, let’s first look at our ability to bounce back from adversity with the following resiliency scale: Ability to Bounce Back Scale.
Next, try this Invest in Yourself exercise.
Good luck to us all as we begin to see an end to this historic effort to save lives.
This material was excerpted from Building Resiliency by Ester Leutenberg and John Liptak, EdD.