Resiliency helps with life’s bumps and potholes
WRITTEN BY GREG HARRISILLUSTRATED BY MICHAEL BYERS
Sooner or later, life pitches everyonean unexpected curve ball that teststheir mettle. It might not be a headline-grabbing event such as a natural disasteror wartime displacement, but layoffs,illnesses and family breakups can all turnthe world upside down.
It takes resilience to knock life’s curveballs out of the park.
“Resilience is like a muscle,” says
Patricia Morgan, a Calgary counsellor
who speaks and writes about
overcoming adversity. “Some people do
seem to be born with stronger muscles,
but everyone can develop and strengthen
How people bounce back in the face
of adversity depends, in part, on their
personalities and how they were raised.
A child’s positive, nurturingrelationships with early caregiverslead to healthy social, emotional andcognitive development.
That development is the foundationfor resilience and lifelong well-being.
Children also take their cues from
parents when it comes to resilience and
are likely to repeat the behaviours they
But even in adulthood, resilience canbe honed by paying attention to thefollowing areas, Morgan says. You canmanage your thoughts and learn howto cope with your emotions. “How youfeel triggers behaviour. Making a mentalspace between thoughts and feelings canhelp you choose how to respond, insteadof just reacting. We can’t always controlwhat happens, but we can control howwe react to what happens—even whenit’s other people’s poor behaviour.”
Take care of your body
Mental stress takes a physical toll. Makesure you’re active, eat healthy foods andget enough rest. A good night’s sleepputs problems in better perspective.
Exercise and active living can helpreduce stress levels.
Rely on your support networks
When friends or family offer a helpinghand, take it. Morgan says she recentlyheard about an Edmonton oilpatchworker who became suicidal after beinglaid off, but now, thanks to the support offriends and family, is back working.
Adversity doesn’t always arrive out of
the blue. “If you work in a sector being
affected by the economic downturn, it’s
a good idea to put away three months
of living expenses, dust off your resume
and get your professional contacts up to
Morgan says when dealing with
adversity it’s helpful to keep in mind the
serenity prayer, versions of which can
be found in different cultures around
the world: “God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change, the
courage to change the things I can and
the wisdom to know the difference.” |a
Resilience is like a
develop and strengthen it