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Resilience – Why is it important?

What is resilience?

The property of a material; the ability of a person to absorb the energy when the material or situation is deformed or challenged; as if elastic. This elasticity psychologically or materially allows the energy to be reabsorbed once the load is lifted. Common terms we use to describe resilience include:

  • Rebounds from difficulty
  • Buoyant in the face of stress
  • Copes with stress positively
  • Bounces back from adversity
  • Maintains a positive outlook and perspective through change

Why is resilience more important than ever?

Stress is part of the human condition. Given the multitude of stimulus and demands these days the stress levels are growing exponentially. WE know that people who are resilient can bounce back from changing life circumstances more easily and successfully. They are strengthened by, often experience personal growth and can be transformed through adverse life events

Coping with Constant Change

The escalating pace of life has created numerous challenges in today’s world.
Uncertainty seems to be the norm. Seldom do you hear of someone starting work at a job in the mail room and, working their way up the ladder to the boss. Seldom do you hear of long term marriages with 2.5 children who live in a self owned detached home with a white picket fence. The divorce rate is soaring over 50%. Dual income families account for nearly 70% of the work force. Labour statistics indicate the average worker will change their careers 3-5 times in their lifetime. Health Canada predicts that 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness or struggle with addictions in their lifetime.

According to the World Health Organization By the year 2020 depression will be the fourth most debilitating disease in the developed world behind heart disease, cancer, and traffic injuries.

Life is not always fair. Stress abounds in today’s world. When hit by adversity or constant change, some people feel victimized, they lash out in anger, and they feel hopeless and overwhelmed. Other people have the energy and capacity to reach deep within themselves. They summons the strength to cope with the same life event. . The classroom of life is our greatest teacher. We can learn , and practice, the skills it takes to navigate and manage life’s challenges. Life is what you make it. It is seldom what is happening that affects us; it is how we take it. Our perception of what is happening that influences our emotions and behaviours. WE can’t control what happens but we can control and learn techniques to manage how we feel and react to changing life circumstances.

Our attitudes determine our well-being more than our circumstances. Some people thrive in the very same situation that is distressing and overwhelming to others.

Can resiliency be developed?

I believe the skills to manage and navigate today’s life challenges can be learned. Some core factors which help us regain stability when our life is knocked off track include:

  • Practicing mental and emotional flexibility
  • Rediscovering play
  • Embracing childlike curiosity
  • Understanding the traps of personal belief systems
  • Believing you can thrive through adversity
  • Adopting an eager anticipation for the future

Our individual emotional and mental health is one of our greatest assets. Take time to learn and observe yourself in varying life situations. Be conscious of finding balance in your life so energy is available to you personally, professionally and socially.

Take care of yourself through spending time with friends and family, relaxing, exercising, meditating, healthy nutrition, massage therapy, energy work, yoga practice, counseling or any other area that helps you to be focused and present in your life. Knowledge is power, be informed. Take responsibility for the energy you create in yourself and bring to others. The potential for change is great. You can learn techniques for managing stress and build a resilient personality. Reach out for the support and life coaching you deserve. Be the best you can be.

Overall, be gentle with yourself and spend time with the people you love.

Lisa West, MSW
Clinical Counselor


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