Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Resiliency

I have been reflecting on resiliency a lot lately. I recently watched two people (one a friend and one a client) go through a series of negative life events in close succession. There were deaths of loved ones, serious illnesses, major family discord, etc. Just as the person was starting to pull herself up again, life would hit her with something new. I really do not understand why life can suddenly decide to rain down on someone like that.

I have often thought a lot about how I would cope with some of the events I have watched others go through, or heard about afterward. Working in mental health, trauma is a regular thing we hear about. Yet most people go on. Most rebuild their lives and learn to laugh again. I often feel sad about the wonderful people I never had the opportunity to meet because they ended their lives prematurely, yet I am so impressed by the resiliency of others.

I have thought a lot about how best to support someone and help them to bounce back from these negative life events. Having never gone through such trauma myself, what can I suggest? I came across an article on resiliency on the Mayo Clinic website that summarizes some simple tips for helping improve our resiliency, and I thought I would share them because it is a good place to start. For the full article, go to www.mayoclinic.com/health/resilience/MH00078. Here are the tips to improve your resilience:
  • Get connected.
  • Find meaning.
  • Start laughing.
  • Learn from experience.
  • Remain hopeful.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Accept and anticipate change.
  • Work toward a goal.
  • Take action.
  • Maintain perspective.
  • Practice stress management and relaxation techniques
The other thing the article suggests is to seek professional advice when you do not know where to start or are not making progress. Personally, I would recommend seeking professional advice before you get to that point - why wait until you are stuck. When life decides to rain on you, a good counsellor can help you to sort through it and make sense of it all.

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