Crisis Center

How societies and individuals deal with disaster

Resilience in the Face of Rough Times

Resilience can be learned.

Resilience is something that most people need to make it through the rougher times of life. Everyone will experiences difficulties in life, and some people will even experience traumatic events that create an upheaval in their lives. Resilience is the process by which people adapt to changes or crises, like death, tragedy, the loss of a job, or financial problems. Resilience is not a character trait - it can be learned by anyone, but learning it does require time and effort.

Several factors involved in resilience include having a loving support system, the ability to make plans and follow through with them, communication and problem-solving skills, having a positive view of yourself and your abilities, and the capability to manage your feelings and impulses. Building resilience is a different process for everyone, and what works for one person may not work for another. Each person should determine what works for them and do that.

It may be helpful to imagine resilience as a hiking trip in the Rockies. It is best to take that trip with someone else, particularly someone you love and trust. Having a plan in mind for how to navigate the trail is a good idea. Trusting your own instincts and abilities will help guide you along the way. Lastly, stopping along the hiking trail to rest can be a great idea, but you will have to get back on and continue your journey in order to finish the trip.

Building resilience can be a tough process. Here are a few tips for strengthening your resilience to difficult times in life:

*Maintain good relationships with your family and friends, and accept their help in times of stress. Also, getting involved in community groups or faith-based organizations may help give you social support when you need it.

*Try to look at the big picture of life, and avoid viewing difficult times as insurmountable. Take small steps toward your goals and take one day at a time.

*Accept that change is a part of life and come to terms with circumstances that you cannot change.

*Keep working toward your goals every day, and ask yourself "What can I do today to move in the direction I need to go?"

*Keep a positive view of yourself and your ability to solve problems.

*Maintain a positive view of life and visualize what you want.

*Notice how you have changed after a tragedy or crisis. Many people report having more confidence in themselves after a crisis and some even have a deeper appreciation for life. Get what you can out of these tough times.

*Take care of yourself! Get enough food, sleep, and exercise to keep yourself healthy. This is especially important during times of stress.

*Lastly, seek professional help if you feel that the situation is too hard for you to handle on your own. A licensed mental health professional, such as a counselor or psychologist, can help you develop a strategy for moving forward in your life.

 

John A. Call, Ph.D., J.D., A.B.P.P., is a forensic psychologist, an attorney, and president of Crisis Management Consultants, Inc.

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