The Essence of Resilience
September 28, 2023
Sheri Tiziani, MS, LCMHCS, Primary Therapist
What Does it Mean to be Resilient?
“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds”. - Aristotle Onassis
When I lead groups on resilience, I often use this quote as a way to capture the essence of resilience. Just as wind allows a sailboat to sail, encountering stress and adversity makes us stronger and more equipped to manage difficulties. It is impossible to avoid or completely control challenges in life; how we choose to respond is what resilience is all about.
Four Ways to Build Resilience
1. Mastering Attention
We work on recognizing when our attention is drawn into negative cycles and then work to interrupt those cycles. We experiment with a positive focus to invoke positive emotions and support well-being.
2. Power of Thoughts
We explore the link between our thoughts and our feelings and start to notice when unhelpful thoughts take over. This helps bring awareness to our thoughts and create more positive ways of thinking.
3. Motivation to Push Forward
This group is centered on values. We all have values that drive our decisions and actions. In order to build resilience, it is important to act in line with one’s values, especially in the most difficult of times.
4. Effective Coping
Finally, we discuss various ways to deal with life’s stressors. We analyze whether or not the coping skills we use are helpful and work to develop effective ways to cope.
Much of resilience relies on surrendering control, accepting change, and responding with flexibility. Rather than expecting constant sunny skies and calm waters, as captains of our boats, we can utilize the four areas above to learn how to float with the current (acceptance) and steer through high winds and waves (active coping and flexibility) to navigate the storms of life.
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