Building resiliency to bounce back from anything

Resiliency has been a buzz word over the last few years in relation to trauma. How to build resiliency in ourselves and in our children, however, is not discussed as much as the effects of what happens to people who are not as resilient as others. It is inevitable that a person will have to deal with some tough times in their lives. How they cope and manage through those times and how quickly they are able to continue on with their lives is dependent on how resilient they prove to be.

Bouncing back

Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable disappointments, failures, and pains. It is the opposite of fragility, and can be worked on and improved upon no matter where someone is in their life, as the brain is able to continue to adapt and improve throughout the lifespan. People who are resilient are able to step back and look at a situation objectively. By asking yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” and thinking about possible outcomes, often times we discover that the worst thing that could happen isn’t actually that bad, nor is it all that likely to happen. Perspective can really help in working out what is important and what isn’t, and also help you to prepare in the event that something bad does happen.

In addition to gaining perspective, comparing the bad with the good can show us that maybe our circumstances are not so bad after all. When reflecting back, looking at the positives versus that negatives that occur in our lives, we often find that the good outweigh the bad. This helps us to gain that additional perspective as well as cultivate a more positive mindset. While people are hardwired to focus on negative things for our survival, there are so many things in our everyday lives that can be viewed negatively it can have an overwhelming impact on our lives, and taking moments to reflect on the positive things can help rewire our brains to take in both and help to increase overall happiness as well as resiliency. A great way to start building this form of resiliency is to think of 3-5 positive things that happened each day and writing them down in a journal or on your phone.

What can be controlled?

Understanding that we cannot control our own circumstances can go really far in helping to create resiliency. Sometimes, things happen that we don’t have any control over. How we choose to react to those things, however, can make a huge difference. Working on personal determination and creating action steps during a difficult time can help you feel like you are managing well. Action steps can be something as simple as getting up and showering and getting dressed every day to steps you need to take to get out of debt and anything in between. It is setting goals and tasks for yourself. Maintaining a positive outlook of the future, despite problems in the present, sets the standard of a resilient person.

Establishing a good relationship with one other person can make a huge difference in the lives of children and adults alike in building resiliency as well. Learning from one another, building trust and compassion and being nonjudgmental provides a foundation to helping someone be able to cope with life stressors, and studies have shown it can be one of the largest influencers in a child’s life when it comes to building resiliency. Building self-confidence and self-esteem as well as making sure to take care of yourself physically by getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and practicing good hygiene and health also builds on the ability to be resilient. Resiliency builds upon the foundation of all of these things, and is vitally important when we deal with negative events in our lives. Take a moment today and in the days following to work on building your resiliency and the resiliency of others around you.

Want to help?

If you are interested in learning about how to help others and how to be more aware of mental health issues, Community and Family Resources current offers by request FREE Mental Health First Aid training for adults serving adults or for adults on whom youth are dependent. Trainings may be held in any of CFR’s service counties: Boone, Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Story, Webster, and Wright. Visit www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org for more information on Mental Health First Aid. Requests for either adult- or youth-based trainings may be sent to CFR Prevention Specialist Todd Anderson at todda@cfrhelps.org or at 515-832-5432, ext.1414; or to Prevention Specialist Lacy Jorgensen at lacyj@cfrhelps.org or at 515-832-5432, ext. 1408.

Community and Family Resources (CFR) offers substance use, mental health, and problem gambling treatment and prevention services. Counties served by CFR include Boone, Calhoun, Franklin, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Story, Webster, and Wright. In Fiscal Year 2019, CFR offered treatment services to 2,684 individuals and reached 8,075 individuals through prevention services in schools, businesses, and community groups. For additional information, please visit CFR’s website at www.cfrhelps.org or call 515-576-7261.


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