Resilience + Protective Factors
Aug 29, 2018
“Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
– Vivian Greene
What is Resiliency?
Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” after adversity and difficult experiences. People who can show the ability to prevail over the negative effects of hardship are considered resilient. Protective factors associated with resilience are understood to assist with adaptive functioning when facing hardship (Ghimbulut, Ratiu, Opre, 2012). Protective factors are those features that help to moderate the effects of stress. Resilience and protective factors are not only viewed on an individual basis but are systemic. There are factors such as your family, community, school, healthcare/social service providers, and so on that impact your resilience. Resilience increases when there are strong protective factors, even when there are high so called “risk factors” involved. We can often build our protective factors, thereby increasing our resilience. I will work with you to develop your resilience. However, some things you can try to increase your resilience include:
1. Express your feelings
Allowing our feelings to “flow” can help us to both get in touch with our feelings in order to understand them and also develop the capacity to communicate them to others. Both of these insights and skills are essential for the emotional capacity that can strengthen us when life throws us curve balls and becomes stressful.
I always speak to my clients about self-care and believe in self-compassion and nurturance. It is important to avoid thinking of self-care as selfish. Self-care is an important way to take necessary time for ourselves and is a vital part of a healthy relationship with ourselves, specifically while managing very stressful periods in our lives. It is a great way to keep and develop resilience. Self-care activities are things that are enjoyable and good for the soul, heart, body, senses, and mind and promote your wellness.
3. Positive Thinking
One of the most effective ways to develop and maintain resilience during difficult times in life is with positive thinking. This can also be thought of as “realistic” thinking because often our negative thoughts that consume us during stress are not realistic. Much of the time we are sucked in by the vortex of the anxiety we feel by the stress and negative thinking follows. When we change those thoughts to positive ones, an amazing shift happens! For people who practice positive thinking on a regular basis, resilience is the outcome.
Ghimbulut, O., Ratiu, L., Opre, A. (2012). Achieving resilience despite emotional instability. Cognition, Brain, Behavior, 3, 465-480. ISSN: 1224-8398