Resilience: Recovery & Sustainability

Resilience is defined as the successful adaptation to adversity.  It is also considered the outcome of a successful adaptation to adversity.  Bouncing back that leads to healthier end states and the ability to continue forward through adversity marks a healthy individual.  Our biological, genetic, psychological, and social environment puts us at risk for various illnesses or injury.  Moving from risk to resilience means we recover from what is thrown at us.  Researcher Masten calls it “ordinary magic.”  It doesn’t mean we don’t suffer from the consequences of the event; it does mean we gain from the experience of it.  Following recovery, we increase future recoveries by sustaining our quality of life, nurturing our capacity to meet adversity, and balance positive and negative emotional states.

We differ in our ability to dig deep under duress.  It helps to build up our capacity to recover and sustain that recovery.  Here are some resilience resources we should consider cultivating:

Regular physical exercise
Positive emotional resources
Optimism/hope/sense of competence
Improved cognitive functioning/ learning & memory skills
Community relationships: family, friends, colleagues
Close social ties
Green space and involvement in activities outdoors
Volunteerism
Satisfying work life

List adapted from Alex Zautra et al., Resilience: A New Definition of Health for People and Communities in the Handbook of Adult Resilience, eds. Reich, Zautra, & Hall, 2010: Guilford Press

With the increasing sunshine and warmth, let’s get out there and practice!

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