No 213 March 2021
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Resilience – bouncing back and managing life!
Nicoletta Crollini is Haemophilia Social Worker at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney
Considering the impact COVID-19 has had on all our lives over the past year, I thought it would be helpful to focus on the concept of resilience, helping us bounce back and continue on with our lives.
SO, WHAT IS RESILIENCE?
Resilience is recovering or bouncing back from the misfortunes or challenges life throws at us, which are inevitable. These life setbacks come in many forms. A few examples are relationship break-ups, being made redundant, a bleed or even a global pandemic and all the impacts that come along with it. Resilience is building up our mental and emotional strength after something challenging occurs in our life.
HOW WE DEMONSTRATE RESILIENCE
We demonstrate resilience in our everyday lives all the time. Some examples are:
- Developing achievable plans and taking appropriate steps to succeed in completing those plans.
- Having a positive view of ourselves as well as confidence in our strengths and abilities. This is our self-esteem.
- Our skills in communicating, problem-solving and being adaptable in various situations.
- The ability to self-regulate or manage strong feelings, emotions and impulses.
- Caring about or helping other people in need who are going through their own challenges.
- Maintaining a balanced life of study or employment, engaging in hobbies, social and cultural activities.
HOW TO DEVELOP RESILIENCE
Resilience is not something available only to a few. We are all capable of it and it is something we can build upon in preparation for the next challenge life throws at us. Here are some ways how:
- Build positive beliefs in yourself. This can be through achievable goals such as going for daily walks or finding something that motivates you such as cooking new recipes. Resilient people are careful where to focus their attention, so focus on the good in your life, while acknowledging the negative.
- Other people matter! Nobody navigates life challenges on their own. Identify your social support network - these are the people you feel comfortable confiding in and who can support you during challenging times.
- Get some perspective. Step back and assess your situation as objectively as possible. Is it really as bad as you think? Ask yourself, ‘is the way I am thinking or acting helping or harming me?’
- Take action in solving a problem instead of waiting for the problem to solve itself.
- Be gentle to yourself and practice self-compassion, which is being there for yourself like you would when a friend is going through a rough time. You won’t always get things right all the time. Failure is part of life but being hard on yourself does not need to be.
- Practice self-care. Examples of self-care are doing things like exercise, taking time out to relax, engaging in hobbies, ensuring you eat well and get a good night sleep.
HOW TO RAISE RESILIENT CHILDREN
Parents, teachers, caregivers and any important adults in children’s lives can help children grow up with resilience. Here are a few ideas on how to encourage resilience in children:
- Encourage your child to make connections and build their own support network. Remind them that you are there for them when they experience the challenging moments in life. As previously mentioned, healthy social support networks encourage resilience.
- Allow your child to embrace failure as well as witnessing your own failings. Learning about failure and experiencing it is not a weakness - it is a part of life.
- Model positive self-care behaviour for your child to learn. This can be through the self-care activities mentioned above, such as: healthy eating, exercise, relaxing, engaging in hobbies and maintaining a good sleep routine.
- Encourage your child’s self-efficacy skills in doing things for themselves, for example, teaching and supporting them to self-infuse.
- Support your child in setting achievable goals, which can be accomplished in steps. Achieving goals in steps will allow your child to reflect on what they have accomplished and what they are yet to achieve. Try not to reward your child for each step they complete but cheer them on.
- Encourage your child to develop ‘grit’ and persistence. Developing skills or achieving something in life can take time and practice is key.
- Remind your child how they have previously demonstrated resilience through overcoming past challenges and link their past successes to future positive opportunities.
- Encourage keeping things in perspective and maintaining a long-term view, especially when your child is focusing on something negative.
- Teach your child to embrace the inevitability of change in life. For example, goals that are no longer attainable can be replaced with new or updated goals that are more relevant.
THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Resilience is an important trait for us all to have.
Hopefully I have helped you understand that resilience is developed over time and a trait we can all acquire. With resilience, we work through our challenges and rise up to carry on managing our lives.
To finish off, a quote by Aija Mayrock which highlights the essence of resilience:
‘When you are knocked down, remember it’s not what made you fall, it’s what makes you get back up.’
Snyder CR, Lopez SJ, Edwards LM, Marques SC. Eds. The Oxford handbook of positive psychology. 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199396511.001.0001
Parents & children
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Date last reviewed: 23 March 2021