What is Resilience?

Resiliency is defined as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to adversity or change” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2023). “In physics, resilience is the ability of an elastic material (such as rubber or animal tissue) to absorb energy (such as from a blow) and release that energy as it springs back to its original shape. The recovery that occurs in this phenomenon can be viewed as analogous to a person’s ability to bounce back after a jarring setback. The word resilience derives from the present participle of the Latin verb resilire, meaning ‘to jump back’ or ‘to recoil’.”

Now that we have a technical definition of resilience, what does it look like in everyday life? Truth is, most of us have been around, talked to or witnessed one of those indomitable people who won’t allow an unexpected situation to rattle them in a negative way. They’re the person hiking along a trail in the wilderness that suddenly looks around and notices they’re not 100% sure where they are. They stop and ponder a moment, take in the situation around them, and then with a smile say, “Yeah, but look at the view!” Are they not aware of the possible problem here? Yes, they’re aware, but they choose to see the challenges along the way as opportunities for learning experiences. That, and they use their own compass.
 

The Benefits of Building Resilience

What makes one person more resilient in a given situation when others might become discouraged, concerned or even a little fearful in that same situation? To explore that question, let’s try to expand our view past what we see in the moment and connect our whole person to the situation at hand. Because our mental and physical health are linked, any problems we experience in one area can impact the other, leading to doubt, frustration, physical discomfort and overall stress.

Building resilience and coping with stress in a positive way is associated with greater longevity, lower rates of depression, higher life satisfaction and helps expand the meaning and impact of one’s life goals. It’s important to note that having resilience won’t make your problems go away, but it can give you a greater ability to see and grow beyond them, instead of dwelling on and becoming stuck under them. It’s also important to note that resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves working on behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone. You just need to know how to read your compass.

Your Own Resiliency Compass

Discovering and applying your own resiliency strengths is a good way to find your bearings during your journey. It can bring more clarity to an overall guiding vision of life purpose and positively nurture the impact we can have on the world. This guiding impact is strengthened through personal accountability and allows us to expand greater overall personal growth in ways we may not have thought to explore before.

Adding in health awareness and staying in motion with physical activity can energize our days, making them more positively engaging. Fueling our body with solid nutritional choices that work for us as individuals coupled with proper hydration, can help make a difference in our sleep and the rejuvenation of that marvelous machine, we call the human body. Working on pillars of resiliency helps us plot our course on the paths of life and reach our wellbeing visions with more confidence.

Find the Support You Need

Not all of us can clearly see how to use our compass right from the get-go, so it’s a great idea to connect with someone who is open to talking about successfully developing your resiliency skills. Think about who could help explore your strengths to improve your overall life satisfaction; what would help develop and strengthen your resilience in a supportive way while you travel the path of personal growth? Someone who is familiar with navigating life’s challenges can be a first step to increase your own self-awareness. Asking a family member, co-worker, friend or mentor to help explore and build the strengths can assist you on your path to successfully flourish in a stressful world.

If you find you still have questions on how to start tapping into your own resiliency strengths and develop them for a more focused and positive life, please consider reaching out to see if professional coaching might be a good path-finding way to help map and explore your wellbeing resiliency vision.

LEARN MORE

Charles can be reached by emailing charles@coachingtowardserenity.org or calling (513) 212-7995.

Charles Jacobson

is a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Consultant for adults. He is an accountability partner in navigating behavioral change and exploring opportunities for growth and development.

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