These are the most frequently asked questions on resilience.
Question: What is resilience?
Answer: Resilience involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed to help a person adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress, such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors.
Question: Can resilience be learnt?
Answer: Resilience is not an aspect of a person’s make-up that is set in stone and we are not necessarily born with it. Resilience can be developed and improved, and developing resilience is a continuous process.
Question: Is resilience the same for everyone?
Answer: No. Developing resilience is a personal journey as we do not all react in the same way to traumatic and stressful events; an approach to building resilience that works for you might not work for another person. The secret is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal approach to developing resilience.
Question: What are the skills needed to be resilient?
Answer: Key skills needed to be resilient include self-esteem, social skills, optimism, problem-solving skills, self-control, self-belief, perseverance, independence and realistic expectations.
Question: Will resilience resolve all my problems?
Answer: No, resilience does not eliminate stress or take away life’s difficulties. Instead, it gives people the strength to tackle problems head on, overcome adversity and move on with their lives.
Question: Can a person reach a state of complete resilience?
Answer: Resilience is a process and it is a mistake to think of it as a trait of an individual. An individual may have to face new problems and challenges all the time, therefore having to interact with his or her environment and the processes that either promote well-being or lend protection against risk factors. The individual may have to learn new coping strategies for each situation, although some strategies learnt before may help to become resilient in all situations, but one can never characterise someone as totally resilient.
Question: Which factors may help towards resilience?
Answer: Researchers have identified some factors that may help some individuals. They include:
- Positive attitude
- Ability to regulate emotions and impulses
- Ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback
- Strong family and community relationships
- Positive self-image, self-concept and self-esteem
- Good communication skills
- Good sense of humour.
Question: How can I develop my resilience?
Answer: The American Psychological Association suggests “10 Ways to Build Resilience”, which are:
- “Maintaining good relationships with close family members, friends and others
- To avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems
- Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed
- Developing realistic goals and moving towards them
- Taking decisive actions in adverse situations
- Looking for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss
- Developing self-confidence
- Keeping a long-term perspective and considering the stressful event in a broader context
- Maintaining a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualising what is wished
- Taking care of your mind and body, exercising regularly and paying attention to your own needs and feelings.”