What is resilience and how do you build it?
Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s toughness combined with flexibility.
Hundreds of books and blogs have been written on resilience on both what it is and how to build it.
From concentration camp survivors and struggling POWs to those stuck in our recent pandemic, those who have resilience or are able to build it that will not only survive, but thrive.
Let’s look a bit closer at resilience and how it can apply to your health journey both mentally and physically.
My Own Experience with Resilience
Years ago when I was racing bicycles, I drove out to Ft. Davis, Texas, home of the McDonald observatory.
As I drove into Ft. Davis, I knew this was a different racing terrain compared to most of the races I had done in the DFW area. I knew right away that I was in for a challenge (mentally and physically).
We were racing in the mountains (yes, mountains in Texas!). The first day was called the hill climb with a 16-mile stretch that culminated at the top by the observatory. The last mile was straight uphill at an average grade of 14.2%. That’s very steep, in case you were wondering.
When I hit that final stretch, my resilience was challenged. I had to mentally dig deep, focus on my breathing, and take it one SLOW pedal stroke at a time.
I had to rely on my toughness that was built on my training to get me through it.
As I write this and reflect back on that moment, I see similarities to our current situation. I feel that taking a look at resilience could help us all get through each challenge one small step at a time.
The Seven C’s of Resilience
Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg is one of the leading experts on resilience and has years of experience working on helping others build their resilience. He describes the 7 C’s of resilience that are crucial for improving this skill:
Control: Provide opportunities that lend a sense of control. Let yourself make decisions and take an active role in your physical and emotional health.
Competence: Encourage active engagement by asking questions. Have others help you identify how you’re handling your challenges & obstacles. Encourage learning and growth about the challenges you’re facing.
Coping: We all cope with challenges in different ways, which is a healthy way of getting through a situation. Suggestions such as journaling, blogging, or vlogging (video blogging), art or music are often helpful.
Confidence: Confidence to learn from and grow from this current challenge is huge. Recognizing the big wins from overcoming a situation helps to build one’s confidence, giving you the ability to handle more in the future.
Connection: We all long for emotional connection. At times such as this, we can feel strangely disconnected. Expressing feelings without judgement is essential to establishing strong connections and mental resilience.
Character: Exploring who you are and what you value helps to strengthen your sense of character. What wisdom and gifts do you possess that you can share with others? What are your guiding principles?
Contribution: It is said that it is better to give than receive. Although you may feel that you are not able to give at this moment, I challenge you to look for ways to lend a hand or a listening ear to those who are also struggling. Contributing keeps you connected and moving forward.
Building Your Resilience Skills
Resilience isn’t always born with us. Just like other skills, it can be improved and built upon with intention and dedication. In terms of building your resilience skills, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Be intentional about building your resilience. Take time each day to observe yourself, your emotions, how you’re responding to challenges, whether you’re taking care of yourself, etc.
Be engaged with your surroundings. Observe the wonderful world around you. Don’t let it pass you by.
Be grateful. Begin each day with gratitude for the small things as well as the big things happening in your life.
Be resourceful to others. Giving to others will lift you up when times are tough. Consider random acts of kindness throughout the day.
An easy way to do this is pay it forward. The next time you are at the local drive thru offer to pay all or some for the car behind you. Believe me, it will put a smile on their face and possibly start a kindness chain reaction.
Reach Out for Support and Advice
Being resilient doesn’t mean you have to do things on your own. Don’t hesitate to reach out to use if you need support, advice, or even just someone outside of your household to talk to!
Contact us here and we look forward to connecting with you!