Word-Of-the-Week #716: Resilience

April 26, 2018 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #716: Resilience 

Resilienceability to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.

How well do you adapt to adversity or a tragedy? How often do you experience significant stress? Do you think that resilience is about being tough enough?

This Washington Post article Resilience isn’t just being tough; it’s a skill you can develop. Here’s how I did it” by Steven Petrow felt like a perfect follow up to last week. 

“Maybe it’s just coincidence that resilience is trending during these troubled times, but it does seem to have become the buzzword du jour. Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant examine it in their best-selling book, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,” which is one of hundreds of similar titles online (many aimed at children). The highly motivated can enroll in courses such as the one taught at the University of Minnesota, “Change: Loss, Opportunity and Resilience” or “Mental Resilience Masterclass” available online. 

But today’s concept of resilience is not the old-fashioned idea of being tough enough to bounce back after the bad stuff in life. Today’s resilience is about how we respond to experiences such as trauma, divorce, bankruptcy, unemployment or a death in the family. Tara Brach, psychologist and Buddhist meditation guru, put it to me this way: “Our habit is to view challenging situations as if something is wrong; that we are a victim and we have a problem. What if instead of a problem, we perceive stress as a signal to call on our resourcefulness, our intelligence, care and courage? Resilience grows when we become intentional about bringing our best to difficult life seasons.” 

I have more than just an academic interest in the subject. In the space of four months this past year, my mother and father died; my husband and I separated; and I had a health scare. “Any one of those life changes would be enough to make someone trip if not fall,” was a constant refrain from friends. They were surprised by how resilient I was in navigating these choppy waters. 

I was, too. 

Wondering where that newfound resilience had come from, I asked Brach, who told me that resilience is not a fixed trait, that it can be learned. You can develop resilience, and you can lose it as well. 

Struggling through those awful months, I felt buffeted by loss, grief and anger. Initially, I saw myself like the towering pecan tree in my back yard — tall, stately, with a very shallow root base — and vulnerable to collapse in a storm. Through a daily meditation practice I had started six months earlier, I witnessed the shift Brach described. I became more like a weeping willow, with far-reaching roots and a yielding flexibility. Willows rarely topple in the wind as they are the ultimate go-with-the-flow type of tree. 

Resilience, it dawned on me, was more like balance than toughness. As I discovered with yoga, I can easily do what’s called tree pose (balancing on one leg) on some days; those are the days when my body can make the constant recalculations and readjustments necessary to remain steady. Other days I fall over like, well, a dead tree. That tends to happen when I’m ill, angry, distracted or tired. Over time, however, I’ve developed better ways to deal with what irks me, and my toppling days are fewer.” 

This week’s focus is on resilience. Have you experienced trauma, divorce, bankruptcy, unemployment or a death in the family? How well did you respond to it? Are you able to express the emotions you are feeling? Are you a pecan or a willow tree?

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Word Of the Week #608: Resilience

March 31, 2016 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #608: Resilience 

Resilience – the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune.

How quickly to do recover from unexpected setbacks? Do you bounce back or fall apart? Do you have an inner strength that keeps you going?

The Mayo Clinic says, “Resilience is the ability to adapt well to stress, adversity, trauma or tragedy. People who have a resilient disposition are better able to maintain poise and a healthy level of physical and psychological wellness in the face of life’s challenges.”

A resilient approach leads to addressing problems rather than avoiding them, a positive, optimistic outlook and a flexible, adaptive disposition. Research has shown that these techniques engage the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that regulates emotion, thinking and behavior.

a resilience

If you lack resilience, you tend to dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed and turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse. You may even be more inclined to develop anxiety and depression.

Resilience won’t make your problems go away. But resilience can give you the ability to see past them, find enjoyment in life and handle stress better. If you aren’t as resilient as you’d like to be, you can develop skills to become more resilient.

Resiliency can be developed by learning and practicing mindfulness and other mind-body techniques. Mindfulness helps you achieve an elevated sense of awareness by consciously recognizing and accepting the present. It brings purposeful, trained attention out of the negative thoughts of the mind and into the reality of the world in the present moment.”

“…more than education, more than experience, more than training, an individual’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails.”
                                                                        Harvard Business Review, 2002.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm.”

This week focus on being resilient. Do you have the ability to be calm, energized, engaged, focused and purposeful…even when things don’t go as planned?  Do you address problems or avoid them? Are you consciously recognizing and accepting of your present situation?

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WOW Word-Of-the-Week #288: Resilience

January 31, 2010 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #288: Resilience 

Resilience – The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune.

How quickly do you recover from unexpected setbacks? Do you bounce back or fall apart? Do you have an inner strength that keeps you going?

Bouncing Back

Bouncing Back

The Mayo Clinic says, “Resilience is the ability to adapt well to stress, adversity, trauma or tragedy. People who have a resilient disposition are better able to maintain poise and a healthy level of physical and psychological wellness in the face of life’s challenges.”

“A resilient approach leads to addressing problems rather than avoiding them, a positive, optimistic outlook and a flexible, adaptive disposition. Research has shown that these techniques engage the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that regulates emotion, thinking and behavior.”

“If you lack resilience, you tend to dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed and turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse. You may even be more inclined to develop anxiety and depression.”

“Resilience won’t make your problems go away. But resilience can give you the ability to see past them, find enjoyment in life and handle stress better. If you aren’t as resilient as you’d like to be, you can develop skills to become more resilient.”

“Resiliency can be developed by learning and practicing mindfulness and other mind-body techniques. Mindfulness helps you achieve an elevated sense of awareness by consciously recognizing and accepting the present. It brings purposeful, trained attention out of the negative thoughts of the mind and into the reality of the world in the present moment.”

“…more than education, more than experience, more than training, an individual’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails.”
Harvard Business Review, 2002.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm.”

This week focus on being resilient. Do you have the ability to be calm, energized, engaged, focused and purposeful…even when things don’t go as planned?  Do you address problems or avoid them? Are you consciously recognizing and accepting of your present situation?

Reader Responses

I’m amazed at the resilience of children, especially infants. When I watch our 21-month-old daughter getting through illness in a short period of time, I’m just delighted with how she does it. I guess our resilience gets tested in the work world where not everything turns out the way we want it to. And, there are times during our work lives where things can be pretty trying. All of these experiences – good and bad – help build our resilience. The trick is to stay positive in the tough times, and hopefully things will begin to turn around. However, there are people who have a tough time dealing with the rejection aspect of the work world. When that happens it is easy to feel down, or depressed. And many do. Often times that depression turns to despair for some who just can’t handle the problems facing them. It is easier said than done trying to deal with the ups and downs of life, but it we do learn to grin and bear it the best is usually yet to come. Good word, Susan. Have a great week. Take care. “Warrior” Joe