Fostering Resiliency in Yourself and Your Family

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Have you ever known someone who seemed to go through very difficult times and left you wondering "how can they handle so much?" Resiliency is the ability to recover from life's challenges and hardships without being overwhelmed and to bounce forward rather than back. Families and individuals face many expected and unexpected challenges throughout life. Learning to cope with those challenges can be difficult, but there are certain characteristics that resilient people possess.

  • Spirituality – feeling that there is a bigger purpose in life and they are connected to something beyond themselves or to a higher power. This is not limited to religion, but could also be moral values or where they find their spiritual nourishment. They are able to look at the bigger picture.
  • Communication – practicing positive communication habits assist us to meet life's challenges, help resolve conflict and promote loyalty and trust. Communication within families that is direct, clear and honest will help members understand issues facing them and will help them share the decision making process in resolving them. Those who make their feelings and wishes known try to avoid misunderstandings and they speak with empathy to communicate respect for others.
  • Creativity and Humor – creating a safe place where they can take refuge and cope during difficult times. Humor can help provide new perspective to situations and can revitalize and provide a break to those under stress.
  • Outlook – maintaining a positive outlook with hope, optimism and confidence helps them make the best of their options and assists them in accepting things that are beyond their control.
  • Support System – cultivating friendships and relationships helps them to maintain independence, promote self-esteem and encourage social activities. Research shows that the presence of social support is linked with successful overall psychological well-being.

Balancing the realities of our lives with our current and future plans is an ongoing process. As we pass through the stages of adulthood, we continue to develop our goals for the future while appreciating our past experiences. And remember, it is not about what happens to you but how you respond to what happens that contributes to resiliency – and that will help us remain strong in trying times and bounce "forward" when we are challenged.