5 Factors of Resilience to Engage Today!
Kenneth Chancey is a 17 year old adolescent, he is the student body president of his high school and is the star athlete on the football team. His has his eyes set on going to Harvard for college. You may not have guessed that he used to live in a van with his mother who did drugs and step-father who abused him. He and his family are currently living on Skid Row finding respite in shelters. How is it that Kenneth has been able to have so much resilience in the face of all this adversity?
Resilience is now being found to be more common. When 9/11 occurred or Katrina, people had to pick up and rebuild lives and went forward in doing so. Make no mistake, there is a lot of pain and distress that can occur on the road to resilience. While some people may seem more stress hardy and therefore more resilient, resilience has a lot to do with finding a caring and supportive, the way people think, and the actions they take and these can be fostered and learned.
Environment - A factor in resilience is finding or creating a supportive environment which may include role models to glean values and encouragement from.
Planning - Those who are resilient seem to have the ability to create plans that are realistic and steps to follow to carry out these plans.
Strengths - Knowing your strengths allows a person to cultivate a sense of self confidence because they are achieving at things they are good at. This reinforces the idea that "I can do it!" There is a strengths-based approach called assets that supports adolescents in uncovering and utilizing their strengths.
Communication - The ability to engage with others, be assertive and problem solve. This also can be learned and comes with practice.
Emotional balance - In coming from a background of adversity one is bound to have his or her share of distress and emotional tumult. The ability to tolerate distress and acknowledge emotions can be supportive in the areas of communication, strengths, planning, and engaging with the supportive environment.
All of these can be cultivated and so it makes sense that while some may have a stronger leaning toward resilience, it can indeed be cultivated and needs the support of a community to do so.
Bottom Line: Reaching out and strategically creating a encouraging environment, creating a plan and action steps, getting familiar with your strengths, learning how to be assertive, and distress tolerance skills are a great way to stack the odds in your favor to be resilient.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.