How Resilient Are You?

Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from learning experiences, adversity, misfortune and even trauma. Scientists agree that some people seem to be born with more resilience than others and also that it is possible to cultivate more resilience during life.

Research is now showing that embodying both Authenticity and Appreciation are reliable practices for bouncing back from adversity.

In The Resiliency Advantage, Al Siebert, PhD, describes how highly resilient people are flexible, adapt to new circumstances quickly, thrive in change and, most importantly, they expect and feel confident that they will bounce back. They are also able to see things from others’ points of view, enabling them to feel more connected.

Perspective is one key. For example, the lens we use when viewing challenging life events — such as fixed/unchangeable vs. temporary/able to be influenced — predicts physical health, according to studies.

In Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, demonstrates that resilient people experience an authentic, full range of emotions, including both “negative” and “positive.” Even when times are hard, they find silver linings. According to Fredrickson, resilient people feel all their feelings, and often experience several simultaneously, for example sad and grateful.

It turns out that having a minimum of 3:1 positive to negative experiences builds resilience and the experience of thriving. Studies show that we are able to shift our own ratio of positive to negative experiences by what we choose to do and by where we place our attention:

  • Observe your self-talk and choose to notice and appreciate positive experiences when they occur.
  • Use a learner mindset asking “What is useful here?” and “What are my choices?” vs. a judging mindset asking “What’s wrong?” and “Who’s to blame?”
  • Be of service to boost serotonin.
  • Receive and appreciate kindness.
  • Place attention on positive things in life you may have begun to take for granted.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Maintain physical health.
  • Build social connections.