Sonya Thomas lcsw

Cultivating Resilience

One way to think about resilience is that it is the ability to cope with and recover from difficult experiences and setbacks, to adapt, move forward and sometimes even experience growth. How resilient we are is influenced by several factors, including a combination of genetics, personal history, and environmental/ situational contexts. While we do not have control over the genes we inherited or the upbringing we experienced, there are things we can do in the here and now to cultivate resilience.  Interviews with large numbers of highly resilient individuals — those who have experienced a great deal of adversity and have come through it successfully — show they share the following characteristics.

  • They have a positive, realistic outlook. They don’t dwell on negative information and instead look for opportunities in bleak situations, striving to find the positive within the negative.

  • They have a moral compass. Highly resilient people have a solid sense of what they consider right and wrong, and it tends to guide their decisions.

  • They have a belief in something greater than themselves. This is often found through religious or spiritual practices. The support that comes from being part of a spiritual community also enhances resilience.

  • They are altruistic; they have a concern for others and a degree of selflessness. They are often dedicated to causes they find meaningful and that give them a sense of purpose.

  • They accept what they cannot change and focus energy on what they can change. They reappraise a difficult situation and look for meaningful opportunities within it.

  • They have a mission, a meaning, a purpose. Feeling committed to a meaningful mission in life gives them courage and strength.

  • They have a social support system, and they support others. Very few resilient people go it alone.

Where can you focus in your own life that will re-enforce resilience?

Until next time, peace.