Resilience can be defined as the ability to bounce back after experiencing adversity. Imagine stretching a rubber band between your fingers. In most cases, the rubber band will return to its original size and shape once you release the tension. In some cases, especially with frequently used rubber bands, they will stretch out and not return to their regular size. In other cases, if you stretch a rubber band too far, it will snap.
As humans, we experience a number of stressors that cause tension in our lives. We should strive to be able to withstand the tension and stretching and return to our normal state of being. If we do not have the tools that allow us to manage tension, we could become stretched too thin, or even snap.
Fortunately, we can build the skills and practices that will increase our capacity for resilience. Here are a few ideas:
- Build relationships with others who will support you in positive and productive ways
- Educate yourself
- Engage in acts of self-compassion and forgiveness
- Seek connection with something bigger than yourself, whether that is faith or community engagement
- Create a positive mind-set that limits fear and negative thinking
- Become aware of your emotions, recognizing and truly feeling each one, rather than pushing them away or avoiding them
You can read more about these strategies and many others in this article published by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center here.