Resiliency is a term that has been gaining much traction in the mental health industry over the last couple of years because of its connectedness to improved wellbeing. Like many terms in the mental health industry, we hear it all the time, but what exactly does it mean to you on an every day level?
Simply put, resiliency is an individual’s ability to bounce back from setbacks or challenges in life with confidence and self-esteem in tact by harnessing inner strength. Resiliency is our defense against difficult times in that, as a skill, it allows us to see past the immediate period of hardship and into the future of more hopeful times. Resilient people have the ability to make realistic plans and carry them out while maintaining their self-esteem and a positive view of self and their abilities, even when negative life events challenge their confidence and energy.
Difficult events that challenge an individual’s resiliency could include death of a loved one, loss of a job, a relationship break-up, financial issues, etc. although all life events, large and small, could have an effect on an individual’s ability to cope.
Having a better understanding of the term, do you recognize people who exhibit resiliency in their lives? While it may seem innate or that you’re born with certain defences against life’s challenges, resiliency is actually a skill that is developed and honed as a result of a strong personal support network and experience with manageable challenges that helped build problem-solving skills.
Without a certain level of resiliency, individuals can be more vulnerable to destructive coping habits, such as substance abuse, self-harm and poor self-esteem that can develop into mental illnesses requiring professional support, such as depression and anxiety. As mental health issues become more prevalent in Canadians, particularly Canadian children, the mental health industry recognizes the need for patients to develop coping skills as preventative measures to mental illness. With improved learning and academic achievement, reduced risky behaviour and improved physical health, developing resiliency is a skill that will continue to serve the individual throughout life.
How can YOU practice resiliency in your life, and encourage it in others?
- Get connected: Resiliency is less about “going it alone” and more about your ability to recognize when you need other people and relying on this support network.
- Experience emotions: Experience your emotions as you need to heal, but recognize when fully experiencing emotions at all times may inhibit regular functioning and focus on concentrating on your routine.
- Avoid seeing events as never-ending crises: Find perspective and recognize when things are getting a little better as this will help you retain hope.
- Learn from experience: Learn to be reflective about your experiences and take note of how you handled things in the past to channel these tactics in the present.
- Be proactive: Don’t allow things that ARE in your control get out of control, such as bills, chores, errands, etc. Keep a sense of purpose and accomplishment in your life by managing tasks you can handle.
Do you recognize people with resiliency in your life? What tactics do you use to get through difficult life situations? I look forward to your thoughts below.