Transition Management Consulting, Inc.

Building Resilience

by Jackie Eder-Van Hook | Jun 01, 2009
What makes people resilient in the face of adversity? In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks on the United States, the American Psychological Association explored this issue. This article summarizes the APA findings.

 

Following the tragedies of September 11, 2001, the American Psychological Association explored the topic of resiliency and published their findings on how people adapt in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress.

MAKE CONNECTIONS
Good relationships are important. Accepting or giving assistance and support strengthens one capacity for resilience. For some, participating in groups provides social support and helps reclaim the experience of hope. 

AVOID SEEING CRISES AS INSURMOUNTABLE PROBLEMS
We can't change the fact that highly stressful events happen. However, we can change how we interpret and respond to these events. Practice looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be better.

ACCEPT CHANGE IS A PART OF LIVING
Certain goals may no longer be attainable due to adverse situations. Accepting that some circumstances cannot be changed allows us to focus on circumstances that can be altered.

MOVE TOWARD YOUR GOALS
Establish realistic reachable goals. Daily, schedule the accomplishment of at least one thing that moves your goals closer their fulfillment. This works to sustain momentum, thus, enabling you to eventually attaining your goals.

TAKE DECISIVE ACTIONS
Rather than detaching and wishing problems would go away, take action. Consider the problem as an invitation to more consciously investigate your path.

KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
When facing very traumatic events, try to consider these stressful situations in a broader context, envisioning a longer-term perspective. Resist blowing the circumstances and their outcomes out of proportion. Avoid being upset.

SEEK SELF-DISCOVERY OPPORTUNITIES 
Many people who have lived through tragedies and hardship have reported experiencing better relationships, a greater sense of strength and self-worth even while feeling vulnerable, a more developed spirituality, and heightened appreciation for life. Life teaches us, if we are willing to learn.

NURTURE A POSITIVE VIEW OF YOURSELF
Give yourself a vote of confidence for your problem-solving ability and learn to trust your instincts. We humans can be amazing when we allow ourselves to BE. 

MAINTAIN A HOPEFUL OUTLOOK
An optimistic outlook on life enables you to generate enjoyable and satisfactory situations occurring around you. Try visualizing what you want and how you will be rather than worrying about what you fear. Ultimately, you are responsible for what happens to you so be mindful of where you place that power.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in enjoyable relaxing activities that regenerate and rejuvenate you. By taking care of your mind and body, you become better prepared to deal with situations requiring resilience, flexibility and patience. Regular exercise and a healthy diet support this outcome. 

WRITE-MEDITATE-SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
For many, engaging in spiritual practices, meditating, or journaling our thoughts and feelings can strengthen our mind-body connections, thus restoring our sense of hope and possibility. We can de-stress from our stressful moments. 

Reference: American Psychological Association, The Road to Resilience.