Resilience – A Healthy Response to Change
Change is all around us. We see it in the seasons and in our personal and professional lives. Change isn’t something new. In 500 BCE, Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant in life.”
Yet, for something so familiar and predictable, our response to change varies; some embrace change as exciting and fun while others resist change as depressing and scary. What if anything can we do to cope with change?
Studies including children and adults point to resilience as a healthy way to adapt to change. Resilience is the ability to constructively cope with daily hassles and stress as well as the capacity to positively adapt in the face of challenge and setbacks while maintaining purpose and integrity.
So how can one build resilience?
Define Your Purpose
In the definition of resilience the goal is to cope while maintaining your purpose and integrity. What is your “purpose” or your “why." Knowing your purpose can help you maintain your focus while creating a solution that fits within your purpose and values.
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ― Maya Angelou
Practice Being Positive
Being positive isn’t about ignoring the reality of the situation, instead it’s about being hopeful and finding the positive in the situation. Is all lost because of the change? Or is there something to be gained from the change?
“My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon!” ― Mizuta Masahide, a 17th century Japanese poet and samurai
Practice Problem Solving
In fact, embrace problems as opportunities to practice problem solving. Don’t settle on your first solution; look at the situation from different angles and ask others their ideas about solving the problem. Share your solution with others to receive feedback. Doing so will help you keep an open mind to others’ ideas and how you might improve yours. And then ACT.
“I tried and failed. I tried again and again and succeeded.” ― Gail Borden
Restore and Refresh Your Body and Spirit
Get the rest you need (7-8 hours per night). Be physically active. (30 minutes five times/week) Nourish your body with whole foods and plenty of water. Take time to reflect. Food nourishes your body. What nourishes your soul?
“Every act of self-care is a powerful declaration: I am on my side, I am on my side, each day I am more and more on my own side.” ― Susan Weiss Berry
Resist Being Rigid
If life went as we planned, resilience wouldn’t be necessary. Being flexible, as long as it doesn’t compromise your purpose or values, will decrease your stress.
The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.” ― Robert Jordan, author, The Fires of Heaven
Recognize Your Strengths
When have you faced a similar situation? What strengths/skills did you use to respond and recover from the change? What can you apply from that experience to what you are facing now?
“Resilience isn’t a single skill. It’s a variety of skills and coping mechanisms. To bounce back from bumps in the road as well as failures, you should focus on emphasizing the positive.” ― Jean Chatzky
Prayer, Pens, Pets and Pals
Prayer can be an effective means of dealing with challenges of change.
Pens/paper: Journaling about your feelings, your strengths/past experiences, possible solutions and desired outcomes is a healthy way to process challenges.
Pets: For some their four-legged friends are good listeners who don’t interrupt.
Pals: Who are the people you can turn to who will give honest feedback? Consider asking them, “What strengths do I have to help me through this change? In summary:
“No one escapes pain, fear, and suffering. Yet from pain can come wisdom, from fear can come courage, from suffering can come strength – if we have the virtue of resilience.” ― Eric Greitens
By Diane Thovson, LiveNOW Health Coach