Raising Resilience

Resilience is often defined as being able to bounce back from adversity, similar to how a rubber band bounces back when we stretch it. Another way to think of resilience is bouncing forward-when we're able to learn from difficult situations, we grow and can actually come back stronger than before. While resilience is often viewed as a quality we either have or don't have, it actually involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed by anyone. Being resilient does not mean denying that difficult and distressing things happen. Rather, it's a process of learning from and effectively adapting to adversity and change. Practicing resilience techniques makes it easier to manage stress and avoid its potential consequences. You can build resilience by: * Making and strengthening connections - whether it's deepening relationships you already have or seeking new ones, a sense of connectedness and support is essential. * Using all of your resources - these may include people, organizations, tools and/or your own internal strengths. * Taking steps to change the things you can - remember, a large part of stress and burn-out is feeling like we don't have control. Make an effort to either take action around or let go of issues that plague you. * Looking for opportunities and insights - even in the worst situations, there's almost always a lesson we can take away and an opportunity to grow from what we've learned. * Nurturing a positive view of yourself and the situation - keeping things in perspective and focusing on what's good and what's possible helps to keep stress at bay. * Setting boundaries - part of managing stress is learning to say "no" and/or delegate tasks when appropriate. * Practicing good self-care - eating a variety of whole foods each day, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly will help us to feel our best and better cope with stressors. Try to avoid sugar, alcohol, and caffeine-especially in excess, they produce artificial highs and lows that can disrupt physical and emotional wellbeing. The key is to identify strategies that are likely to work well for you in fostering resilience and practice them proactively. The more you practice, the more automatic resilient behaviors will become.