Every month I have picked a theme to cover and this month the theme is close to my heart. It is Resilience. How resilient are you? Do you know how to describe resilience? Resilience (or resiliency) is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don't go as we planned. Resilient people don't wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward. We all have resilient people in our lives and we hear ourselves saying, “I don’t know how she/he keeps going with all the heartaches, disappointments, setbacks and losses?”
I decide to make resilience the theme for September due to the horrendous events of 9/11 and thereafter. We are facing another anniversary and the threat of future possible attacks. When we think of the worst possible thing that could happen and wonder how resilient we would be, for many of us 9/11 would be the very worst tragedy. We think of the families of the victims, those who survived but were forever changed, the city of New York, the rescue workers and every citizen of the United States who were deeply touched by that tragic day and wonder how we would cope.
Last week Joann Rivers died and I thought about her coping with her husband’s suicide. It appears that for her, humor and keeping extremely busy were her way of coping. I read a quote she made about how she survived and it read, “I would like to say that it gets better…it doesn’t. You get better!” I believe that really is what resilience is. Resilience means that you adapt to the changes, losses and failures in your life, so you can keep moving forward. That’s what Joann Rivers’ did.
How do you become more resilient? There are many theories and techniques that help people develop more resilience but for me, the underlying factor is mindfulness. I teach clients mindfulness so that they become aware of their own behavior, realize why they behave the way they do, and accept responsibility for their own behavior. You do not become resilient overnight or change behaviors that you have practice your whole life overnight. However, with a plan, commitment and practice you build resilient which will lower your anxiety and improve your overall health.