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The Power of Resilience

When tragedy strikes with the death of a loved one, a serious illness or a job loss, some people fall apart, while others adapt to such life-changing events more easily.

Being resilient is what makes the difference.

Resilience is used to describe people who lead normal, fulfilling lives despite having experienced trauma or tragedy. They are resilient because they have the ability to recover from adversity and retain a positive self-image and view of the world. Facing challenges on the foundation that there is more right than wrong with the world give an individual the confidence to know that they can get through whatever problem exists.

Building resilience

Resilience isn't a trait people either have or don't have—it involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed.

Here are some strategies for building resilience:

  • Nurture a positive view of yourself. Develop confidence in your ability to solve problems and trust your instincts.

  • Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. While it is important to prioritize the immediate situation in a crisis, remember that in the bigger picture this is a time-limited event. 

  • Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that can't be changed can help you focus on circumstances you can affect.

  • Look for opportunities for self-discovery. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship report better relationships, a greater sense of strength, an increased sense of self-worth, and a greater appreciation for life.

  • Make connections. Good relationships with family, friends or others are important. Accept help and support from those who care about you.

  • Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect good things to happen in your life.

  • Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, get enough sleep, eat a healthful diet, and limit alcohol consumption.

Consider writing down your thoughts about stressful events in your life. Try meditation and other spiritual practices. Many people find these activities help them build connections with others and restore lost hope. Write out a list of the challenges and then list both your strengths to deal with them and the available resources to help you.

Getting help

Getting help when you need it is crucial in building resilience. Resources include:

  • Friends and family members

  • Spiritual advisors

  • Mental health care providers