Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ten Tips For Building Resiliency

Resiliency is the ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity. Resilient people are often flexible in their thinking, endure difficulty with a realistic outlook and use the experience in self- empowering ways.

Experts are not all in ageement about how much of resilience is genetic. So the thought is that resilience can be learned.

Below is the American Psychological Association list of how to build resiliency. The APA Help Center is a great link to surf for psychological issues.

1. Make Connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.

2. Avoid Seeing Crises as Insurmountable Problems. You can't change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.

3. Accept That Change Is a Part of Living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

4. Move Toward Your Goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, "What's one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?"

5. Take Decisive Actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

6. Look for Opportunities for Self-Discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, a greater sense of personal strength even while feeling vulnerable, an increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and a heightened appreciation for life.

7. Nurture a Positive View of Yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.

8. Keep Things in Perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.

9. Maintain a Hopeful Outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

10. Take Care of Yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.


Fallen Angels said...

Hmmmm...this sounds just like what our T has been teaching/reinforcing/saying over and over since we started seeing her! Especially that last one...something we have a very hard time with. :P

CrackerLilo said...

Wonderful. Thank you. This is something I need to be reminded of.

Scott said...

Dr. Deb,

I have been wondering what you think about "addiction" and 12 step programs. My latest post is on addiction--specifically to alcohol and narcotics. Do you have some addicts as patients?

Resilience. I need to work on some of those 10 steps, but some of them, like the optimism, I am doing fine with!

the lone beader said...

Excellent advice. Thank you for this post:)

Heidi said...

Wow...I cannot tell you how perfect timing this is for me..Another keeper.


Thankyou for this.

Jade said...

Sounds like a social workers perspective on life ;-)
Good info to share :-)

Debaser said...

That's a terrific list of suggestions. I like to think of myself as a resilient person, but occasionally I'm not. Looking at your top ten, it's easy to look back and see why I've failed to bounce back on a few occasions.

Ian Lidster said...

Those tips are very good, Dear Deb. I copied them and will remind myself of them periodically when adversity strikes. Yet another fine service from the desk of Dr. Deb. You're a gem.

John S said...

This is excellent advice and guidance for everybody. Without resilience we would snap like a twig instead of bending just as a willow tree does in a gale.

Another good analogy is the natural fiber, wool, which springs back to its original shape after being sat on, scrunched, twisted etc. This compares favorably with other fibers that stay scrunched, creased, or otherwise lose their original form.

Being resilient is an excellent foil against becoming depressed or suffering from anxiety attacks.

When we think about it, we are all survivors of what life has thrown at us so far. However, better than being just survivors, we can become victors if we employ the strategies that Dr Deb has provided.

Please keep up the good work.

Symbiosis said...

Very well put together. Thanks.

dawn said...

I like these tips! Very informative. Thanks :)

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Wow, a very powerful post. I like it. So many things were brought to my perspective because of your post. Thanks a lot. Smile. God bless and have a nice and trouble free day.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Fallen,
They are good tips.

Dear Cracker,
I read them over at the APA site and thought link it here.

Dear Scott,
Addiction is not a specialty of mine, but there are tons of places to find resources on the net and off.

Dear Lone,
I liked the simplicity of the tips.

Dear Heidi,
Oh, that's so great to hear.

Dear JAde,
It is from the mental health field, so yeah, it has that twinge in the language of it all.

Dear Debaser,
It takes me a while, but I usually bounce back too.

Dear Ian,
I love sharing tips when I stumble upon them in my surfs!

Dear John,
So well said.

Dear Symbiosis,
It isn't mine, it's from the APA. But it is put together very well I think.

Dear Dawn,
Thanks back atcha.

Dear Mel,
Same to you, my friend.


Godwhacker said...

My motto: That which does not kill me makes me stronger. I'm not dead yet ;) It's also good to have a "power song". I like Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down", Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm", or even Ringo Starr's "No-No Song".

HP said...

What an excellent post, Deb. We all have our own degree of vulnerability and so can all gain from your tips.

Polar Bear said...

Dr Deb
Thank you for this. I have printed it off and put it on my bulletin board. Some of these are things my own T has been trying to teach me.

Nancy said...

This is perfect timeing for me. I need to remind my self of these helpful ways to get through a semi crisis at work.
It happened friday and I waited until Monday to discuss it with the person because I did not want to say anything I might regret.
It worked to my advantage and I will print your post and re-read when I fell the need.
thanks for a great post

Todd and in Charge said...

simple but so true, thank you.

Dreaming again said...

Very good list. Like Fallen, the last one is my downfall. Then again, my psychologists idea of self care and mine are vastly different.

Learning what good self care is ... is far more difficult than I'd ever imagined.

Fallen Angels said...

Hey Deb...posted today about the SVU season're opinion? Oh...and Donna posted on the same topic.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear GW,
Great songs and motto.

Dear HP,
Not my tips, they are from the APA website.

Dear POlar BEar,
How great that you pinned them up.

Dear Nancy,
I think they are really great tips too.

Dear TAIC,
I like reading things in "tip" form. Simple as you say and easy to integrate.

Dear Dreaming,
Taking care of oneself is VERY important. And you are right, for some it is not easily done. But can be learned.

Dear Fallen,
I'm gonna do a post on this later. I felt like you did.


patientanonymous said...

I've heard all of these it almost feels over and over again--countless times. Not to limit their importance but when I'm cycling or have had a really bad relapse this kind of stuff is just so hard to do!

I really think when you are mentally ill, in the throes of that illness and/or crawling your way through your recovery, no chance. I think that you have to be in the right frame of mind to practise these types of things. You need to acquire a certain degree of stability first.

But other than that it's all good *grin* Or hopefully it can be?

As some of your commenters have (basically) indicated, we're all still here, living and breathing and getting through life so we are all resilient to some extent?

But to "bounce back" from certain things and at certain can be quite daunting.

Not to put a negative "spin" on your post Deb. Like I said, it's all good but sometimes so very challenging. At least for me it has been.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear PA,
The tips are guidelines, a simple way to describe as you say, daunting task. I agree that it can make it sound easier than it is. I share your inability to bounce back readily from things. So your comment is well written and highly regarded, my friend.


Casdok said...

All very wise.

Dr Martin Russell said...

Nice work on putting this out there Deb.

Resilience is almost as slippery a term as self-esteem, but just as important.

Wonder if anyone would ever set up a course that deliberately sets people up for disappointments to create resilience - or is that called life?

Anonymous said...

No.2 and 5 seem to be important for me.
thanks very much for inspiring!!