14 May The 8 Key Elements of Resilience
via Psychology Today by Shahram Heshmat
Resilience is defined as the psychological capacity to adapt to stressful circumstances and to bounce back from adverse events. Resilience is considered a process to build resources toward searching for a better future after potentially traumatic events. Some of these resources come from our inherent potential and some from what we learn about how to endure hardship. The ability to bounce back requires being empowered to make decisions that promote personal well-being. And like sobriety, they must be frequently reconfirmed (Southwick & Charney, 2012).
1. Pursuing a meaningful goal. Resilient individuals find a calling and dedicate themselves to what gives life purpose. Pursuing a meaningful purpose may involve stress and pain in the short run but over the long run brings meaning (e.g., raising children, seeking personal growth, training for a marathon). People with a sense of purpose feel less anxiety and stress (Hagerty, 2016). As Nietzsche remarked, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
2. Challenge assumption. Resilience requires creativity and flexibility. Traditional beliefs should be examined in the light of new experiences and ideas. Creativity requires one to consider many perspectives to avoid being imprisoned by one’s habitual thoughts. In the aftermath of major life struggles, where fundamental assumptions are seriously confronted, it can lead to positive psychological change (Terdeschi and Calhoun, 2004). In a sense, change represents the death of who we once were. For example, psychologist Lyubomirsky (2013) notes that a rewarding life after divorce requires not only leaving your spouse but also leaving your past self behind.
3. Cognitive flexibility. Resilient people tend to be flexible in their way of thinking and responding to stress. An important component of cognitive flexibility is accepting the reality of our situation, even if that situation is frightening or painful. Acceptance is a key ingredient in the ability to tolerate highly stressful situations. Avoidance and denial are the most common counterproductive coping strategies that can help people temporarily, but it ultimately stands in the way of growth…
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