What exactly is resilience and why are some people more resilient than others? Have you ever wondered what separates those rare individuals who are able to move forward after trauma and adversity from those who are derailed by traumatic or adverse life circumstances?

Resilience is the thing that helps you make it through life’s tough times. Life has its ups and downs and humans experience these challenges in varying degrees. Your resilience determines whether these experiences will be traumatic and cause serious disruption in your life.

What Resilience is Not

Resilience is not a character trait but can be learned over time and it determines how you react to a crisis. Building resilience is a process that is different for everyone; what works for one person may not work for another. See the factors below, needed to build resilience.

  • A support system-maintain positive relationships and be able to ask for and accept help when needed
  • the ability to make and follow through with plans- have big picture goals while taking small steps toward accomplishing these goals
  • communication and problem-solving skills- life is all about change and challenges. Effectively managing solutions to overcome challenges builds resilience
  • remain positive- know that you can overcome any challenge through perseverance and visualizing the end goal
  • Be proactive instead of reactive- actively manage your feelings and impulses

Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg is a pediatrician specializing in Adolescent Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and has written several books on teaching youth to thrive shares a few tips in his book, Building Resilience in Children and TeensGiving Kids Roots and Wings, for strengthening resilience to overcome life’s difficult times.

  1. Competence— acknowledge when people are doing things right.  When things go wrong, trust in the competence of the individual to recover themselves after they fall
  2. Confidence—have confidence that the individual will know how to problem solve and overcome the challenges that life hands them
  3. Connection— encourage an individual’s connection with people, schools, and communities.  With the help of these connections, one can learn to develop creative solutions for life’s challenges
  4. Contribution—growth happens when one practices service to others- not only does it make you feel good, but it may make it easier to accept help from others when you need it
  5. Character—Having a clearly defined moral compass, what right and wrong for you helps them to navigate toward integrity when times are tough
  6. Coping— learning and practicing healthy, successful coping strategies decreases dangerous alternative outcomes
  7. Control—Understanding that privilege and respect are earned through acting responsibility will make wise choices easier

The good news is that resilience can be learned at any age.  It is the decision to see life’s challenges in a positive way.  Difficult life events are meant to pave the way for an amazing transformation.  Rachel Graham, a health entrepreneur, leadership coach and empowering optimist is dedicated to educating people, business leaders, students and professionals in finding their own meaning and purpose.  Contact Rachel to find out how she might help you through your life challenges and individual experiences.  She can assist you in understanding the underlying, and often limiting, behaviors and beliefs that impede your optimal performance personally and professionally.

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