The Power of Resilience

The pandemic has impacted every single one of us. It could be that you’ve lost your job. Or maybe you’ve been at home in some form of quarantine with your children every day since March 2020. Or maybe the nonstop negative news cycle is more than you can tolerate. And the list goes on and on…

In between the constant barrage of negative political campaign ads and navigating society with masks and Clorox wipes (assuming you can get them), the reality is, we only really have control over what we do and say. We can talk, advocate, think, hope, dream, work and show up, etc. We can do our best and the rest is…well, out of our hands. Although we can’t control the pandemic or the fact that we lost our job (insert your list of issues here), we can face the future by learning to be resilient.

So, what does it mean to be resilient? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, resilience is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Seems easy right?  It’s not easy, but it is simple. And it’s definitely doable.

There are many online sources to learn about how to become resilient. There is also a body of research which confirms that resilience is not actually that unusual.  It turns out that we all have the capacity to be resilient. It’s a part of what makes us human.

A Harvard team’s research revealed that although we are all born with the capacity to be resilient, there is a caveat or two. The Harvard team discovered that “resilience is born from the interplay between internal disposition and external experience. It derives from supportive relationships, adaptive capacities, and positive experiences.”

So what does all this mean for you? It means that you have the capacity to cultivate resiliency no matter where you are on your path. Although the road to resiliency is as varied as each person, it nevertheless exists for each one of us. It also means that you have the power to help the next generation find their ability to be resilient too. So what can you do today to foster your ability to be resilient? You can:

  1. Cultivate a belief in your ability to cope (Look for evidence in your life that demonstrates how you’ve adapted and overcome.)
  2. Seek out and stay connected to a support network.
  3. Be a source of support for others.
  4. Accentuate the positive.
  5. Focus on healthy eating and exercise.
  6. Seek meaning outside of yourself.
  7. Strive to be helpful.

You can also be the light in the lives of the young people around you. The Harvard team found that children showed more resiliency if they had “…at least one stable, caring, and supportive relationship…” You may not be able to control the latest drama du juor, but you can show up for yourself and you can be present and give hope and guidance to the next generation.

In the end, we can only control our reaction/action(s) to the world around us; and then we can move forward safe in the knowledge that we did our very best.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life.”
― J.K. Rowling