You know that resilience is important for overall wellness, but you may still have some questions about what it actually is. We rounded up the best definitions and examples of resilience from three experts to answer those questions and many more!
“Resilience is how well a person can adapt to the events in their life. A person with good resilience has the ability to bounce back more quickly and with less stress than someone whose resilience is less developed.”
- Harold Cohen\, PhD
Dr. Cohen also tells us that everyone has resilience and that we can also develop more. He says that one of the best ways to foster resilience is by strengthening relationships with the people around us. We benefit from the cultivation of both personal and professional relationships because we are able to reach out for support in times of need. Additionally, these relationships help us to improve communication skills, motivate us to engage socially, and build a positiveself-image; all important aspects of resilience.
“Emotionally agile people are dynamic. They demonstrate flexibility in dealing with our fast-changing, complex world. They are able to tolerate high levels of stress and to endure setbacks, while remaining engaged, open, and receptive… They still experience feelings of anger, sadness, and so on — who doesn’t? But, they face these with curiosity, self-compassion, and acceptance.”
- Susan David\, PhD
Dr. David uses the term “emotionally agile” to describe resilient people. She says that these people do not ignore the hard, uncomfortable parts of life and focus on what is easy or pleasant. Instead, they move forward irrespective of labels like “positive”, “negative”, “good”, or “bad”. They don’t let feelings derailthembut accept that all emotions are necessary to the human experience.
“On one end are the people who fall apart into PTSD, depression, and even suicide. In the middle are most people, who at first react with symptoms of depression and anxiety but within a month or so are, by physical and psychological measures, back where they were before the trauma. That is resilience.”
- Martin Seligman\, PhD
Dr. Seligman is often consulted by the military and has created countless programs and initiatives to help people to develop resilience. He believes that it can and should be taught. His work points to the development of interpersonal relationships and optimism training as part of the building blocks of resilience. According to Dr. Seligman, it’s not the adversity we face, it’s our thoughts about that adversity that dictate our successful navigation of a situation. We hope that these three expert opinions helped to solidify your understanding of resilience. Look for more ways to build resilience and train to thrive with Avail!
Cohen, H. (2018). What is Resilience? Psych Central. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-resilience
David, S. (2016). Emotional Agility (p. p. 6). New York: Avery-Penguin Random House.
Seligman, M. (2011). Building Resilience. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2011/04/building-resilience