Resilience, in simple terms, is the process or method of adapting positively when faced with adversity, tragedy/trauma, perceived danger or serious causes of stress, particularly when it comes to family and other relationship issues, serious health problems or career and financial complications. Even more simply put, it is the ability to “bounce back” from negative situations and experiences.
Contemporary research on the subject of ‘resiliency’ has shown that this is in fact an ordinary response and not extraordinary. People are able to rebuild after surviving tragedy and obstacles that would under normal circumstances seem impossible to recover from.
Resilience requires support structures and opportunities to develop the skills needed to turn a negative experience or situation into one where the adaptation results in a positive building and growing experience.
Being resilient does not however mean that people won’t experience difficulties or adversity. Or that stressors don’t affect physical and mental health in any way.
Research by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of the United Kingdom has shown that stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 57% of all “sick days” in 2017/2018.
Research into stress and the stress-related decrease in productivity in contemporary society, is an ongoing and deepening field of study. Stress that is too frequent, too intense or constantly present, puts us under prolonged strain. This in turn creates “non-linear dose-dependent actions” resulting in effects that change course with prolonged activity. Chronic stress can induce a gradual, persistent shift in psychological and physiological parameters that tips the scales towards disorder along different pathways and can lead to impairment of cognitive performance.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. Research shows that adults with mild cognitive impairment who practice mindfulness meditation could experience a boost in cognitive reserve and reinforces studies on neural plasticity – meaning we are able to positively affect and repair the damage caused by stress through changing and creating new neural pathways that serve to ‘rewire’ us for growth and resilience.
🎦 Ted Usatynski, author of Instinctual Intelligence and a thought leader in the field of neuroscience, psychology and the treatment of trauma, has an excellent introductory video on the topic: https://vimeo.com/301888898/94bafc3d7e
Although chronic stress remains one of contemporary society’s most troublesome health detractors, we must also take into account that realistically we will not feel calm and relaxed all of the time – it is an unrealistic expectation that will ultimately lead to being miserable. Stress and anxiety do have their benefits – working at the edge of our abilities often builds those capacities – and anxiety in turn can be likened to an internal alarm system – evolved to ensure survival.
A resolution for personal growth and satisfaction then comes from learning and building skillsets to assist and help us change and evolve in the way we think, react and process situations within our control and outside of what we ultimately need to evolve into our better selves.