The Significance of Resilience in Overcoming Adversity

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The Significance of Resilience in Overcoming Adversity

resilience is the ability to deal with stress-related growth/ Photo By GaudiLab via Shutterstock


Humans have been plagued by problems all their lives. Yet, why is it that some of those who have experienced what is considered traumatic and stressful did not break but instead came out stronger and more successful?  Why is it that they have gone beyond a human’s mental and physical capacity and yet they have not died?

It is because they have resilience and grit. Among the traits that humans have, resilience cannot be inherited, according to Personal Growth. It is a characteristic needed in order to survive on this planet and for one to be able to adapt to their surroundings. Fortunately, it is a trait that can be learned and developed as one faces more of life’s difficulties.

An individual must be able to save themselves first before they are able to counter adversity. Resilience is indicated to be a matter of mindset rather than personality. It is said to be less about who the person is and has more to do with their manner of thinking.


What is Resilience?

According to Forbes, resilience is the ability to deal with stress-related growth.

Paula Laack, stress resilience expert and author of the article Resilience: How to Rescue Yourself From Adversity, says it is made up of two components: how a person bounces back and grows from life challenges and traumatic events and how they bounce back and grow from daily inconveniences and stress.

She notes that learning to cope with everyday demands of life is just as crucial as learning how to manage stress which resulted from a major traumatic event.


individuals to use their strengths and skills as a way to deal with hardships/ Photo By Max4e Photo via Shutterstock


What is Grit?

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines grit as the toughness of character and an unflinching spirit.

Angela Duckworth, an American psychologist defines grit as “having passion and perseverance, sticking to long-term goals and having the emotional stamina to keep going when others have given up.”

It is also said to be the secret to being successful in life. It was revealed in Duckworth’s research that children in Chicago public schools who had higher results in tests that measured their grit and resilience had more chances of graduating than other students. This even took to account the other factors which had to be considered.


Why Is Resilience Needed?

People should learn to be more resilient for a number of reasons. As mentioned earlier, it helps in survival. It can help people live healthier and longer.

Based on the findings of Verywell Mind, it also helps individuals to use their strengths and skills as a way to deal with hardships. It will make them less likely to fall into despair despite the difficulty of what they are experiencing. This does not imply that they do not feel pain or sadness from the setbacks.

Resilient people are also able to feel negative emotions such as stress, grief and anxiety like everyone else. However, they are able to manage the negative situations that happen to them in such a way that it lets them grow and strengthens them.

Those who have lower resilience tend to be easily overcome by stressful circumstances. Their minds would tend to focus more on the problems that they are dealing with and may resort to using destructive coping mechanisms. When encountering failure, they are prone to responding negatively. Disappointments and hindrances in their life can cause them to exhibit unhealthy and dangerous behaviors.

Both resilient and non-resilient individuals feel stress and have their own struggles. The difference lies in the resilient person’s mental outlook. Their kind of mindset allows to be able to regulate their emotions and recover.

Resilience provides people with the fortitude to deal with their problems, get past adversity and carry on living.  


Having positive social connections could  foster a person’s resiliency/ Photo By via Shutterstock


Factors That Promote Psychological Resilience

There are three known factors that facilitate psychological resilience, states. These three factors include:

Internal support

Part of this is having skills and abilities, being able to control one’s emotions and behaviors and having a positive self-image. Examples of skills and abilities a person may have are fluent communication and amazing problem-solving skills. Being hopeful may also make an individual resilient.

External support

Having positive social connections such as having supportive and caring family members, friends and neighbors could also foster a person’s resiliency.

Existential Support

The values of a person’s culture as well as their faith or belief systems can help them develop resilience.


Study on Resilient Children

Emmy Werner, a psychologist who has done 40 years of intensive research on kids who are from families who were poor, chaotic and unstable found that 30% of those children developed into successful adults. Some of them were even able to rise higher than those who had been born privileged.

It was discovered in her studies that those children were able to create firm bonds with a caregiver or other mentor figures. Those children who turned out to become successful adults have learned to behave independently.  They were also shown to have self-control. They had the belief that they were the ones shaping their fate and not the environment which they come from.

How To Develop a Resilient Mindset

How a person deals with their reality, themselves and the people they interact with will indicate what their destiny will be. An individual can rescue themselves from adversity thinking as a first responder. This means that the person believes that they are in charge of the adversity they face and not the other way around.

Developing a first responder mindset also means forming a resilient mindset. Here are ways in which a person think as a first responder:

1. Reconstruct their perception of reality

It is a known fact that reality is beyond a person’s control. What they can take charge of, however, is their method of adapting to that reality. The should be able to examine the circumstance objectively instead of letting emotions get in the way.

Individuals may utilize Cognitive Restructuring in which they reframe the events that happen to them. This is done by composing themselves first so that they may see what is really going on the situation and so they can examine what they are thinking and feeling. Then, they should pay attention to the proof that supports their emotions at the moment. Afterwards, they should also see the evidence that can counter their feelings.


2. Brace themselves for the worst that may happen

The mind should be trained to adjust to negative situations. An individual who is mentally prepared will be able to get through hardships.

People are advised to expose themselves more to rejection. A person’s current reaction to rejection will show how they will respond to stressors which they will encounter in life.

Making discomforts a part an individual’s routine can also help prepare them for bad situations. For instance, they may choose to walk to work instead of driving or decide to skip eating for one day. Beginning slowly and gradually adding more difficulties can make it more challenging. Mentally preparing the mind can reduce the person’s fear of adversity.


3. Have options

People are also advised to be creative when managing the negative events that come their way. Rather than perceiving problems as things that obstruct their progress, people should be able to view them as challenges.

Humor can also be a tool for dealing with stressful situations. Not only does laughing lessen the strain, but employing humor makes a person feel more like they are in charge. The person who plays around with the situation gets the sensation that they are bigger than the problem which they are handling and that they are not allowing it to make them afraid.


4. Use the power of relationships to their advantage

Although dealing with adversity starts from the individual themselves, that does not mean it should be a lonely mission. A person’s ability to save themselves relies on how strong their bonds are with other people. They need relationships that are positive and long-lasting which can motivate them to find fulfillment.

If kids need a strong supportive figure to make it through the tough times, then adults need a partner who can mentor them and provide them support through those times too.

In a study conducted by Steve Wolin, resilient individuals are shown to frequently participate in giving and receiving tasks which are vital in getting emotional satisfaction from other people.

5. Take care of their spirituality

It is said that religious and spiritual activities give comfort and strength when a person is confronted by adversity. Practicing meditation can help calm the mind.

There is also a study that shows that a person with a moral compass has greater resilience. Since adversity tend to emphasize a person’s lack of self-esteem, guilt feelings and sense of shame, people are advised to clear their mind in advance so that it will not fool them during hardships.

The key to developing a resilient mindset is to keep practicing it, like a person would exercise to keep themselves fit.



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